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Pakistan summons US envoy to protest Trump's criticism

The friction threatens to further worsen already fragile relations between Islamabad and Washington.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on 7 November 2018. Picture: AFP

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Tuesday summoned the United States (US) Chargé d’Affaires in Islamabad to protest against remarks made by President Donald Trump who has criticised Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism fight and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Trump’s comments over the last few days have angered Pakistan, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, who on Monday hit back at Trump by saying on Twitter that few allies have sacrificed or helped the United States as much as Pakistan in its war on terror.

The friction threatens to further worsen already fragile relations between Islamabad and Washington, on-off allies who have repeatedly clashed about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s alleged support for Islamist militants.

“The Foreign Secretary called in the US CdA Ambassador Paul Jones to register a strong protest on the unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations made against Pakistan,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Over the weekend, Trump said in an interview Pakistan doesn’t “do a damn thing” for the United States despite billions of dollars in US aid, and alleged Pakistani officials knew former al-Qaeda leader bin Laden’s location before his killing by US troops in a raid inside Pakistan in 2011.

On Monday, Trump tweeted again and doubled down on those claims.

“Rejecting the insinuations about OBL, Foreign Secretary reminded the US CdA that it was Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation that provided the initial evidence to trace the whereabouts of OBL,” the ministry said, adding that “baseless rhetoric about Pakistan was totally unacceptable”.

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