The Trump administration has clearly hit an area where Pakistan is bound to hurt the most – financial aid. Yet, Pakistan has sent mixed signals on how it is going to respond to the recent decision announced by the US that Washington is cutting military aid to Islamabad.
One of the emotions constantly running through the comments made by top Pakistani leadership, both civilian and military, was a sense of disappointment. But Islamabad has been painstakingly careful in articulating that disappointment so as to not infuriate the White House further.
"We need to continue to have a measured response to all the rhetoric coming out of the US," said Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua. She said the ties with Washington are crucial, not just because the US is a global power, but also because it has a significant foothold in the South Asian region, making it "almost our neighbour".
She added, "I put my foot in the mouth when I decided to come [here] today, especially when Mr Trump put his foot in the mouth when he sent out that tweet.
"Why was the President of the United States at four o'clock in the morning thinking about Pakistan and Iran? In Iran, there was something happening there, but Pakistan, [a] question mark."
Following Trump's New Year tweet about Pakistan failing to uproot terrorism from its soil, the US State Department followed up after a few days, announcing that the entire military aid to the country is being suspended.
The US said the suspension will remain in force until the country "takes decisive action" against extremist groups such as the Taliban, which also target American interests. This freeze means that the $1bn fund for military equipment and the $900m for counter-terrorism efforts will be affected in the coming years.
In relatively more blunt remarks, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told the Wall Street Journal in an interview, "We do not have an alliance. This is not how allies behave." He added that Washington turned Pakistan into a "whipping boy" for whatever is happening in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Several Pakistani cities witnessed anti-US rallies and, in some parts, Trump's portraits were also set on fire. However, there have not been any reports of violence so far.
Despite the ongoing showdown, US and Pakistani officials are said to be in touch. Even Pentagon is maintaining contact with the Pakistani military establishment.
"Obviously, we'll continue talking with one another, as we are at all times," said US Defense Secretary James Mattis. When asked about whether he is worried that Pakistan might retaliate in some manner, the Pentagon chief replied, "I'm not concerned, no."
In acknowledging Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts, Mattis added, "Pakistan has lost more troops in total than all of the NATO coalition combined in the fight against them. But we've had disagreements, strong disagreements on some issues, and we're working on those."