CHENNAI: Top US lawmakers slammed Pakistan on Thursday saying “safe havens for terrorist” continued to exist in the country in connivance with the establishment. During the Congressional hearing on Pakistan on Thursday, a former CIA station chief in Islamabad criticised Washington for overlooking Pakistan’s support to militants in Kashmir. “The US has overlooked Pakistan’s support to terrorist networks including its support to militancy in Kashmir and its clandestine nuclear policy,” Robert L Grenier, a former CIA official said. Grenier had served as the station chief of CIA in Islamabad in the late 90s.
“Pakistan, for its part, has clung stubbornly to its own perceptions of national interest, and has generally refused to compromise those perceived interests, even when their pursuit has seemed irrational or self-defeating to US eyes - whether in the context of nuclear weapons doctrine, its assessment of threat from India,” he said.
The remarks have come as a major embarrassment to Islamabad. Interestingly, it also comes just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the G20 leaders that Pakistan was the only State promoting terrorism in South Asia.
The lawmakers also openly accused Pakistan of killing US soldiers through proxies and lashed out at Islamabad for providing shelter to the Haqqani network, which has conducted several attacks on US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan. “The government of Pakistan knows where the leaders of the Haqqani network live,” chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker said during the hearing. Corker alleged that the Pakistani Army was not willing to take out terrorist networks, who have now moved from tribal to suburban areas. “The US cannot use drones to kill them anymore as they live in the suburbs,” he said. “They have safe havens there (Pakistan). They are the number one killers of US and Afghan forces,” he said, adding that US has paid close to $43 billion in aid to Islamabad since 2001. “We are more and more frustrated with the relationship.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese State-run media lashed out at the United States for what it called an ‘increasing foreign policy focus’ on the Asia Pacific. This comes a day after Obama became the first US President to attend the ASEAN meet.