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Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan sets the ‘war on terror’ record straight on Twitter

U.S. President Donald Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Image via Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain/CC-BY.

A heated Twitter exchange between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and U.S. President Donald Trump over the past few days has stirred controversy on social media — the two going tit-for-tat on matters better suited for diplomatic channels.

“Pakistan doesn't do a damn thing for us”, said U.S. President Donald Trump in a recent interview with Fox News.

Trump added that credit goes to the SEAL Team Six for capturing and killing Osama bin Laden — a wanted terrorist and head of Al-Qaeda —when they raided his compound in Abbottabad in 2011 and found him hiding in a mansion very close to Pakistan Military Academy — suggesting that Pakistan was merely harboring Osama bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda members with impunity.

Trump’s tirade is the latest in a long history of lack of trust between the two countries post-September 11, 2001, when two hijacked commercial airplanes rammed into the World Trade Center in New York City. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon and another was shot down near Washington D.C. These four airplanes were flown by 19 members of Al-Qaeda.

After the attacks, then-president George W. Bush declared war against terrorism and put nations around the globe on notice by adding: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

Pakistan agreed to cooperate with the United States on the protracted war on terror, becoming a strategic ally while suffering major casualties and economic losses.

Public and private accusations and counter-accusations have been a routine part of Pakistan-U.S. relations since 2001, yet Pakistan has given the U.S. significant support in the war against terror and the U.S. has also given significantly to Pakistan through the Coalition Support Fund.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan responded to Trump's accusations by tweeting:

Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister Ms. Shireen Mazari also tweeted:

In response to PM Imran Khan's tweet, Donald Trump responded:

In a reply tweet, Imran Khan said that Pakistan will do what is best for its people:

As soon as the world leaders began sparring on Twitter, Pakistani citizens weighed in on the controversial exchange: some praised Khan for standing up to the ‘do more’ demands of the U.S., while others condemned him for responding at all.

Sadaf Khan Nawaid said:

General Ghulam Mustafa, a retired Pakistan army officer had this to say:

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program and South Asia senior associate at The Wilson Center chimed in:

A number of memes circulated to lighten up the mood:

Former president of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf wrote in his memoir, “In the Line of Fire”, that the Americans told him: “If we chose the terrorists, then we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age.”

Since then, Pakistan has become a strategic ally in the “global war on terror,” which has cost Pakistan over 70 thousand deaths, economic loss, and social destruction.

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