U.S. to deny $800 million in aid to Pakistan; Prime Minister Gilani says there is “trust deficit” between Pakistan and U.S.; ISAF in talks with Pakistan about reopening NATO supply routes; India adopts tougher stance on Siachen; Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri gives speech on Qur’an burning in Afghanistan; Gilani denies Pakistani authorities knew of bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan; Commission investigating Bannu jailbreak implicates government officials,police and jail staff; Pakistan successfully tests short range ballistic missile; Red Cross suspends most of its work in Pakistan.
- On Wednesday, a U.S. House of Representatives panel moved to cut the foreign aid budget by about 9 percent, denying the $800 million that the Obama administration “requested for training and equipping Pakistan’s military in counterinsurgency tactics.”
- Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told CNN that there is a “trust deficit” between Pakistan and the U.S., which is why Pakistan is attempting to negotiate “new terms of engagement and cooperation” with the U.S. In response to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks that Pakistan needs to do more to combat terrorism, Gilani said that Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate were “already working” with the CIA and the U.S., and he questioned what more the U.S. wants.
- International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Deputy Commander and British Army Lt. Gen. Adrian Bradshaw stated that the ISAF is in talks with Pakistan about reopening the NATO supply routes. The deputy commander said that even though ISAF was managing without the routes, it would be “extremely helpful” for ISAF and also financially beneficial for Pakistan if they were reopened.
- British Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister Gilani said on Thursday that Pakistan and the UK had a strong relationship and were working together to counter extremism and terrorism. Gilani said that the two countries were also cooperating on how to eliminate the threat of improvised explosive devices.
- During his third visit to the Siachen Glacier on May 3 to review the search and rescue operation at the avalanche site, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani told reporters that India had adopted a tougher stance on Siachen than in 1989. According to Kayani, India was now talking about redefining border lines and re-determining positions on the glacier.
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Click to play videoTHE Pakistani government has responded to NATO air strikes that killed at least 25 soldiers by ordering the CIA to vacate the drone operations it runs from Shamsi Air Base in northern Pakistan and closing the two main NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.
Pakistani officials said that NATO aircraft hit two military posts at the northwestern border with Afghanistan. The country’s supreme army commander called the attacks unprovoked acts of aggression.
The CIA was given just 15 days to stop its drone operations. Among the two NATO supply routes into Afghanistan shut by the government was the one at Torkham. NATO forces receive about 40 per cent of their supplies through that crossing, which runs through the Khyber Pass. Pakistani officials gave no estimate as to how long the routes would be shut down.Advertisement: Story continues belowCargo trucks, including those carrying supplies to NATO forces, are halted at the Pakistan-Torkham border as Pakistanis protest against the air strikes that killed 25 soldiers. Photo: Reuters
In Washington, US officials were scrambling to assess what had happened amid preliminary reports that allied forces in Afghanistan engaged in a firefight along the border with insurgents and called in airstrikes. Senior Obama administration officials were also weighing the implications on a relationship that took a sharp turn for the worse after a Navy SEAL commando raid killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad in May, and that has deteriorated since then.