It is a matter of satisfaction that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has done some plain but tough talking and told Washington that aid cuts in any form will hurt US more than Islamabad, which in return will be forced to buy weapons alternatively from China and Russia if sale of F-16 fighter jets is blocked to maintain its national defensive forces.

The prime minister, according to the reports, said this and much more in an interview with a foreign news agency in the backdrop of latest US President Donald Trump outburst against Pakistan and threats of cutting down military and other aid to its old ally and not duly recognizing sacrifices being offered and efforts made to eliminate terrorism in all manifestations without any selective targets.

He said pointedly that we are fighting the war against terror, anything that degrades our efforts in this regard will only hurt the US effort and any targeted sanctions by Washington against Pakistani military and intelligence officials will also not be helpful for US counter-terrorism efforts. The prime minister also quite rightly warned Washington that it is not going to achieve its much cherished counter-terrorism aims by starving Pakistan of funds in this manner.

The Trump administration by maintaining threatening posture towards Islamabad is only helping Pakistan to balance its ties with Washington and tilt a bit more towards Beijing and Moscow which are obviously more friendly and trustworthy and in the process achieve somewhat of an elusive self-reliance which is the dire need of the hour, to say the least.

US President’s claim of doling out billions of dollars in military aid has already been put in historical perspective by our former Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, who stated that the Washington aid was not more than peanuts. As a matter of record, Washington ‘s civilian and military assistance was already declining considerably gradually and was even less than one billion dollars in 2016, down from a recent peak of 3.5 billion dollars in 2011.

One can only appreciate the bold and courageous stands are taken by the prime minister, fully backed by the government and military leadership, thus truly representing the sentiments of entire Pakistani nation. This upright stance must be maintained and upheld from now onwards, please. Thanks.

MUHAMMAD MURTAZA ZEESHAN,

Lahore, September 13.