Pakistan says US funds reimbursement of expenses not assistance, after funds withheld

1107
APP07-22 WASHINGTON: July 22 - Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry in a group photo after a meeting to the US multinational firms to explore the countless investment opportunities in Pakistan by taking advantage of favourable investment climate during a luncheon reception hosted in his honor by the Potomac Exchange. APP

WASHINGTON, July 22 (APP): Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Chaudhry Friday said that Pakistan had paid a staggering human and financial cost in the fight against terrorism, following a media report that the US Defense Department had withheld $50 million in reimbursement it paid to Islamabad for expenses incurred on counterterrorism efforts.
Ambassador Chaudhry made these remarks to APP when asked to comment on a report by a foreign news agency that Pentagon has withheld $50 million to be paid under the Coalition Support Fund.
According to the report, the funds were stopped after Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis during a Congress defense committees’ hearings said he could not verify that Pakistan had made enough efforts against Taliban-affiliated Haqqani group.
“It is a well-known fact that Pakistan’s counter terrorism efforts have resulted in a significant decline in terrorists attacks,” Ambassador Chaudhry said and reminded that the country had been a victim of terrorism and paid a staggering human and financial cost over the past decade.
Pakistan, he added, has also spearheaded the fight against terrorism and had achieved significant successes.
“Pakistan is maintaining the momentum in fighting terrorism as is evident through Operation Rad-ul-Fassad and the recently launched Operation Khyber-IV,” said the Ambassador.
On withholding of funds, the Ambassador drew the attention to the fact that the funds in questions were a reimbursement of the expenses incurred by Pakistan towards achieving “our common objectives in the fight against terrorism’ and were not assistance.
According to the reports, the US had allotted $900 million to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund, out of which $550 million had already been reimbursed. Out of it, $300 million was withdrawn by Congress as part of a broader appropriations act.
The report, quoting a Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump, said however that withholding of funds did not reduce the significance of the sacrifices that the Pakistani military had undertaken over previous years.