US rejects majority of Pakistan’s support fund demands
WASHINGTON: The United States has rejected majority of the demands pressed by Pakistan with respect to the coalition support fund claiming them to be unrealistic, DawnNews reported.
The US is not only adamant in its refusal to apologise for the Salala border checkpost incident that had resulted in the killings of 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year but also cornering Pakistan as punishment for the apology demand.
Sources claimed that Pakistan’s federal government has decided to pass the burden of the US punishment onto the public and the price of compressed natural gas (CNG) has been increased by 15 to 20 per cent to deal with the impasse. The price hike would be affective from 1st July.
US military authorities rejected Pakistan’s request seeking USD 2.8 billion in respect of the coalition support fund stating the request as ‘unrealistic’.
Both the countries have held more than half a dozen meetings related to the disbursement of the support fund’s amount but the issue remains unresolved in face of the rejection by the US.
Pakistani-US relations went into freefall last year.
There were hit when a CIA contractor shot dead two Pakistanis and dented further by an American raid that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and by US air strikes in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
After the air strikes, Pakistan shut its Afghan border to Nato supplies and ordered US staff out of an air base reportedly used as a hub for drones.
Seven US drone strikes have been reported since May’s Chicago summit, which failed to secure a deal on resuming the supply lines.
In March, Pakistan’s parliament agreed to reset US relations on condition that Washington apologise for the troops’ deaths and end drone attacks on its soil.
Pakistan has been incensed by Washington’s refusal to apologise for the November air strikes and US officials have so far rejected Pakistani proposals to charge several thousand dollars for each alliance truck crossing the border.
Islamabad, which is understood to have given its tacit approval for attacks on al Qaeda and Taliban targets in the past, has become increasingly vocal in its opposition to the perceived violation of national sovereignty.
Despite Pakistani criticism US officials are believed to consider the drone attacks too useful to stop them altogether. They have argued that drone strikes are a valuable weapon in the war against Islamist militants.
According to an AFP tally, 45 US missile strikes were reported in Pakistan’s tribal belt in 2009, the year US President Barack Obama took office, 101 in 2010 and 64 in 2011.
The New America Foundation think-tank in Washington says drone strikes have killed between 1,715 and 2,680 people in Pakistan in the past eight years.