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

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Development, Digital Activism, Governance, History, International Relations, Law, Media & Journalism, Politics, Technology
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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 [2] U.S. President Donald Trump in a recent interview [3] 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 [6], 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: [7] “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 [8] 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. [9]

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 [18] 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, [36] “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.