A top official in Pakistan has launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump after the GOP frontrunner made some outlandish claims.
Trump was talking about a potential bid to release a doctor who helped the CIA track down Osama bin Laden in 2011. The U.S. presidential hopeful said that he would demand that Shakeel Afridi be released from prison in Pakistan, writes Tim Craig for The Washington Post.
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Trump promises to release Pakistani prisoner “in two minutes”
In a statement, Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan said “the government of Pakistan and not Mr. Donald Trump” will decide whether Afridi will be released. The doctor has been detained for 5 years after working with the CIA.
Khan was responding to comments made by Trump on Fox News last Friday. Trump said that he would pressure Pakistan into releasing Afridi.
“I think I would get him out in two minutes,” Trump said. “I would tell them, ‘let him out,’ and I’m sure they would let him out.”
Khan said that Afridi is a “Pakistani citizen, and nobody” including a President Trump “has the right to dictate to us about his future.”
“Pakistan is not a colony of the United States of America,” Khan said. “He should learn to treat sovereign nations with respect.”
Tensions continue between Pakistan and United States
The armed raid to kill Bin Laden took place in Pakistan and caused huge amounts of tension between the two nations. However things have generally been improving.
While Pakistan rarely pokes its nose into U.S. politics, it seems that Trump touched a nerve. Khan’s statement also suggested that the U.S. has not given Pakistan enough aid for its role in fighting terrorism.
The Pentagon has paid $13 billion to the Pakistani military for its efforts, and several billion dollars of humanitarian aid were also handed over. However Khan said the “peanuts” that the United States has given Pakistan “should not be used to threaten or browbeat” the country “into following Mr. Trump’s misguided vision of foreign policy.”
“Pakistan is a country which has suffered much, and the cost it had to pay in supporting the U.S. over the years has been mind-boggling,” Khan said. “Mr. Trump’s statement only serves to show not only his insensitivity, but also his ignorance about Pakistan.”
Scathing comments reveal Khan’s view on U.S. election
The statement from Khan could be interpreted as a line in the sand following some of Trump’s pronouncements on the campaign trial. The presidential hopeful has said that he will use the threat of reduced foreign aid to encourage policy changes.
This strategy would be particularly hurtful to Islamabad. The two nations have had run-ins over Afridi’s case and anti-terrorism operations. Trump also promised to keep U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan in order to watch over Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
Frustrations are building in Pakistan over a hold-up in the proposed purchase of 8 new F-16 fighter jets from the United States. Members of U.S. Congress have raised objections about the sale amid questions over whether Pakistan is a friend or foe in the war against terror.
Another interpretation of Khan’s statement is his apparent confidence that Trump will not become the next president of the United States. If he thought that there was a serious possibility of that happening, it’s unlikely that he would have spoken so scathingly.