ISLAMABAD - The federal cabinet on Wednesday said that US President Donald Trump’s recent statement could ruin the bilateral relations developed over generations.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a meeting of the cabinet here, which had gained special importance amid the Pakistan-US tension.

At the outset, the foreign minister briefed the cabinet regarding the background of the recent statements of the US leadership and the discussion held during the 17th meeting of the National Security Committee this week.

“The federal cabinet unanimously endorsed the stance of [the] National Security Committee of the cabinet, which in its 17th meeting on 2nd January, 2018 expressed deep disappointment over recent statements of the American leadership,” said an official statement.

It added: “The cabinet viewed that the American statements are detrimental to the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and [the] US, a relationship that has developed over generations. Pakistan has rendered huge sacrifices, both in terms of loss of precious human lives and substantial damage to the economy as a result of partnering in the global war against terrorism. Achievements made by Pakistan in curbing the menace of terrorism have been acknowledged throughout the world.”

As the year 2018 started, Trump tweeted: “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

Pakistan responded by saying Trump’s “no more” mantra was worthless as Islamabad was not prepared to “do more”.

Pakistan was shocked over the statement as the civil and military leadership criticised Trump’s attitude.

The NSC, a day earlier, expressed “deep disappointment” at Trump’s allegations.

It said the US president’s attack on Pakistan negated the country’s sacrifices in the war on terror.

After attending the cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif launched a counter-attack on Trump over Twitter.

In his Urdu tweets, Asif said the US was not happy with Pakistan despite the fact that Islamabad made so many compromises to keep the relationship intact.

He warned: “We [Pakistan] will no longer compromise on our integrity. You [the US] question as to what we have done so far. A dictator surrendered to you on just your one phone call, and, ultimately, our dear homeland was bathed in blood and explosives.”

Asif added: “The US launched 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan from airbases on our soil. You [the US] used our ports and roads to transport your weapons and ammunition.”

The foreign minister said: “Our thousands of civilians and soldiers including brigadiers, generals and young lieutenants lost their lives to a war that you started.” The minister said Pakistan considered US’ enemy as Pakistan’s enemy and filled Guantanamo Bay to its capacity.

“We were so busy serving you that we let our own country suffer from loadshedding and gas shortage. We saw our economy go to the wall. But, we had just one desire that you [the US] are pleased with us,” he maintained.

Asif said: “Pakistan offered the US millions of visas to the effect that contract killers of Blackwater including the likes of Raymond Davis spread to every nook and corner of Pakistan.” He said Pakistan was clearing debris of decades for four years.  “Our security forces are fighting an exemplary battle with innumerable sacrifices,” the foreign minister added.

A federal minister, who attended the meeting, told The Nation that Prime Minister Abbasi and the cabinet members vowed to counter the US allegations but also agreed that confrontation with Washington would not be in the national interest. “We have decided to clarify our position without comprising on our integrity. The talks option will remain open,” he said. The minister said the cabinet decided to launch a diplomatic campaign to highlight Pakistan’s achievements in the war on terror.

Meanwhile, the official statement said the cabinet considered a proposal for granting extension in the Proof of Registration Cards and Tripartite Agreement (Pakistan–Afghanistan–UNHCR) for Afghan refugees beyond December 31, 2017.

“After detailed discussion, the cabinet agreed to grant only 30 days extension for POR and also decided that the issue of early repatriation of Afghan refugees shall be raised with [the] UNHCR and with the international community. Pakistan’s economy has carried the burden of hosting Afghan refugees since long and in the present circumstances cannot sustain it further,” emphasised the cabinet.

The cabinet accorded approval for publication of Block-Level Provisional results of census 2017.

The agenda item of approval of maximum retail prices of additional pack sizes of already registered drugs, approval of increase in maximum retail prices of drugs under Para 8 of the Drug Pricing Policy-2015 and Threshold Limits of Lower Priced Drugs under para 11 of the Drug Pricing Policy-2015 were discussed at length and the cabinet accorded approval as per Drug Pricing Policy 2015.

The cabinet approved placement of “Institute for Arts and Culture Bill, 2017” before the parliament.

It granted permission to allow transit of 01x40 Feet Container STC (Said to Contain) containing 51 package of spare parts for vehicles of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan from Karachi to Kabul.

Signing of memorandum of understanding on bilateral consultations between the ministries of foreign affairs of Pakistan and Portuguese Republic was approved.

Signing of memorandum of intent between Pakistan Stone Development Company, Pakistan and Confindustria Marmomacchine of Italy for cooperation in stone sector was also approved.

The cabinet passed signing of MoU between Ministry of Defence of Egypt and Ministry of Defence of Pakistan in the field of defence.

Ratification of agreement on military, technical, science and education cooperation between the government of Pakistan and that of Bosnia and Herzegovina was also cleared.

The execution of gas development schemes during the present government and ratification of recommendations of Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases in respect of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2017 were also granted approval.