Tough measures against Pak likely after Bolton's appointment as NSA
27 March 2018
The appointment of John Bolton, “a fervent hawk,” as US national security advisor (See: America's new NSA is 'rigid, bombastic ideologue') could tilt the discussion in favour of tougher measures against Islamabad, says an article in American publication Foreign Policy.
According to Dan De Luce, the chief national security correspondent of Foreign Policy, American President Donald Trump’s deputies are weighing unprecedented political penalties on Islamabad for harbouring Afghan militants waging war on the US-backed government there.
“The options under consideration include revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally, permanently cutting off the US military aid that was suspended two months ago, and even imposing visa bans or other sanctions on individuals in the Pakistani government deemed responsible for providing support to the militants,” says Dan.
While previous US administrations had taken action, cutting military aid to Pakistan, Trump’s deputies are “looking at permanently cutting off the annual flow of military aid this year, which could put a strain on Pakistan’s defense budget and deprive it of coveted US military hardware,” says the article.
The White House is also weighing drastic measures including visa bans or other punitive measures against individual members of the Pakistani government, military, or ISI intelligence service suspected of allowing the Taliban and Haqqani militants to operate from sanctuaries inside Pakistan, current and former officials told the magazine.
“We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect US personnel and interests in the region,” a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters last week in the US.
According to the report, some officials and military officers in America favour a hard line with Pakistan, maintaining that years of aid and accommodation have produced little in return. “But other voices in the administration worry about alienating a nuclear-armed country of 200 million people bordering China,” it added.