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Pakistan

Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan slams Donald Trump as ‘ignorant, ungrateful’

Khan was a legendary cricketer but now has ambitions to be Pakistan’s next prime minister

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2018, 6:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2018, 6:31pm

Pakistan’s famous cricket star turned opposition leader Imran Khan on Wednesday criticised US President Donald Trump as “ignorant and ungrateful” after the US leader accused Islamabad of harbouring terrorists.

Khan also taunted the Trump administration by challenging the American president to explain how “a couple of thousand or so [Taliban-allied] Haqqanis allegedly in Pakistan are supposed to be the cause of why the most well-equipped military force in history … cannot succeed” in Afghanistan.

Khan’s rambling tweets also criticised Pakistan’s participation in the US-led war on terror, in which Islamabad is a US ally. He said he opposed the war on terror from its outset.

“The lesson to be learned by us is never to be used by others for short term paltry financial benefits ever again,” tweeted Khan, a legendary cricketer, with a reputation internationally as a playboy and in Pakistan as an Islamic conservative, who has ambitions to be Pakistan’s next prime minister.

Pakistan summons US ambassador to express anger at Trump tweet

Khan’s denunciation came on the heels of top Islamabad officials firing back on Tuesday in response to Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet against Pakistan.

The lesson to be learned by us is never to be used by others for short term paltry financial benefits ever again
Imran Khan

Washington has confirmed it will withhold US$255 million in US military aid to Pakistan this year, a threat it issued last August when Trump announced his Afghan policy, which took aim at neighbouring Pakistan and demanded an end to Islamabad’s alleged support for the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan denies supporting militants, pointing to its own war against extremist groups battling to overthrow the government.

The war in Afghanistan has now entered year 17 with an ever-growing mix of insurgents and militant factions operating in the country, including an Islamic State affiliate in the region.

“Pakistan has now suffered the ultimate insult [by] being made the scapegoat for US failures in Afghanistan,” Khan tweeted.

Trump complains that US has got ‘nothing’ from Pakistan aid

Trump on Monday tweeted the US had “foolishly” given Pakistan more than US$33 billion in aid in the last 15 years and had gotten nothing in return but “lies & deceit”.

At a top security meeting on Tuesday, Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership said Trump’s tweet ran counter to meetings held with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis following the August announcement of Trump’s Afghan policy. A statement after the meeting described talks with Tillerson and Mattis as “robust and forward-looking.” It also said Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet was “completely incomprehensible”.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Tuesday to expect more details on specific actions against Pakistan over the next day or two.