Pakistan frees Islamist cleric who helped Taliban against US

No hasty reaction

Days after the United States suspended its Dollars 255 million military aid to Pakistan, the latter's defence minister said that Islamabad has suspended all intelligence and defence cooperation with the US.

According to Pakistan's The News International, Khan said that it was high time for Pakistan to have a "ruthlessly candid dialogue with the US" which blames Pakistan for nurturing Afghanistan-oriented terror groups and providing them safe haven.

President Trump is notoriously sensitive to being ripped off by allies, and he made known his pique in a sulfurous New Year's Day tweet in which he accused Pakistan of "lies and deceit".

Foreign minister Khawaja Asif had said that Pakistan would soon differentiate facts and fiction for the world to know.

"As you know building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)", Mr Lu said.

The move came after tensions between the USA and Pakistan had risen after President Donald Trump accused the South Asian country of harboring militants and moved to withhold American aid from Islamabad.

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"Pakistan, like most countries, reacts very badly to public attempts to force its hand", New York Times quoted Olson.

USA officials had previously said they had seen no evidence Islamabad was planning such a move, but Pakistan has closed its borders in the past, stemming the flow of vital goods and equipment. So, this action should not come as a surprise to them, Nauert said.

In an interaction with reporters, two senior state department officials insisted that such a move is not a punishment, but to provide an "incentive" to Pakistan to take more action against terrorist groups. "But if they don't, we're going to protect America".

"So we were hoping that this is an incentive that they don't want to see this relationship deteriorate any further...", he added. "Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil".

Separately, Washington also placed Pakistan, a country that constitutionally discriminates against minorities, including Muslim minorities, on a special watch list "for severe violations of religious freedom".