Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is holding an emergency cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 2 January, to discuss US President Donald Trump's latest tirade against Islamabad. Additionally, the country's top political and military leadership, which is also a powerful entity in Pakistan, is set to hold talks the following day in order to draft an appropriate response.
In the latest sign of deteriorating ties between the US and Pakistan, the American leader launched an attack on Twitter, saying Pakistan gave Washington "nothing but lies and deceit" in return for "billions of dollars in aid". The president wrote in his New Year tweet, "They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"
Trump's verbal onslaught triggered a series of sharp responses from top Pakistani leadership, including the defence and information ministers. Within hours of Trump's comments, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif issued a rejoinder, saying, "We will respond to President Trump's tweet shortly Inshallah... Will let the world know the truth... difference between facts & fiction."
Later in an interview to a news channel, the foreign minister said Trump's threat over financial aid is of "no importance now". He further went on to say, "We are ready to publicly provide details of the US aid that has been received by the country."
David Hale, the US ambassador to Islamabad, was also summoned by the foreign ministry late on Monday, 1 January, to protest against Trump's withering attack.
The White House has already signalled that the Trump administration would cut its aid to Pakistan over Islamabad's failure to rein in extremist groups such as the Haqqani network, which actively carries out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.
To add to Trump's comment, a senior Trump administration official, who did not wish to be identified, told the Indian news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), "The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 in Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan at this time."
"The president has made clear the US expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan's actions in support of the South Asia Strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance."