Pakistan summons US ambassador over Trump tweet

This file photo shows US President Donald Trump speaking about his administration’s National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC on Dec. 18, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 02 January 2018

Pakistan summons US ambassador over Trump tweet

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to protest against a tweet by President Donald Trump that accused Islamabad of providing “safe haven to terrorists” and deceiving Washington in the war on terror.
Ambassador David Hale visited the Foreign Office late Monday to discuss the tweet, US Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said Tuesday.
This latest diplomatic row broke out when Trump, in his first tweet of the year, said the US had “foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years,” and had not received anything in return “but lies & deceits.”
This elicited a swift response from Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who said: “Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance.”
Asif said US financial assistance was reimbursement of expenses that Pakistan incurred in operations against militants, and compensation for logistical facilities made available to coalition forces fighting in Afghanistan.
“We are ready to account for all the financial assistance that Pakistan has received from the US,” he said. “All the monetary assistance was properly audited.”
Asif said Pakistan’s foreign policy is designed to protect the country’s national interests, adding: “We will protect our territorial integrity at all cost.”
Pakistan’s Defense Ministry tweeted: “Pak as anti-terror ally has given free to US: land & air communication, military bases & intelligence cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs.”
The ministry added: “They (the Americans) have given us nothing but invective & mistrust. They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis.”
Former diplomat Asif Ezidi told Arab News: “Pakistan is a sovereign country, and will formulate its foreign policy to protect its national interest rather than do America’s bidding in the region.”
Ezidi advised Pakistan not to take Trump’s tweet seriously, saying: “We should be humble and calculated in our response to the US, and try to thaw our relations with that country.”
While the media and policymakers in both countries have frequently accused each other of betrayal and duplicity, US officials have publicly lauded Pakistan’s contributions against religious militancy on many occasions.
Trump’s strongly worded tweet constitutes a departure from that policy, and came just a few days after Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Dr. Mohammad Faisal told Arab News that Islamabad did not want any US financial assistance.
Defense analyst Talat Masood told Arab News that Trump’s tweet is “aggressive and against diplomatic norms.”
But Masood said Pakistan should be careful in its response because “we already have deteriorated relations with our neighbors, including India, and Washington may exploit this to further corner us in the region.”

Thousands of British families homeless despite being in work

Updated 38 min 5 sec ago

Thousands of British families homeless despite being in work

  • More than 33,000 working families do not have a stable place to live, a 73 percent rise from 2013
  • Overall, homelessness has risen in England for more than six years, with 80,000 families in temporary accommodation including more than 120,000 children

LONDON: More than half of homeless families in Britain now have at least one adult in work after a sharp rise in the number of employed people unable to afford a secure home, a leading homelessness charity said on Monday.

More than 33,000 working families do not have a stable place to live, a 73 percent rise from 2013, according to a study by Shelter’s social housing commission that blamed rising private rents, a freeze on benefits and a shortage of social housing.

“It’s disgraceful that even when families are working every hour they can, they’re still forced to live through the grim reality of homelessness,” said Shelter CEO Polly Neate in a statement.

“In many cases, these are parents who work all day or night before returning to a cramped hostel or B&B (bed and breakfast) where their whole family is forced to share a room.

“A room with no space for normal family life like cooking, playing or doing homework.”

Mary Smith, 47, works full time in retail and lives in a hostel near London with her three sons after she was evicted by her landlord and became unable to afford private rent.

“I was brought up by a very proud Irish woman, and taught that you don’t discuss things like your finances - so letting my colleagues at work know what’s happening is very hard,” said Smith in a statement.

“I’m not hopeful for our future. I think it’s going to be this constant, vicious circle of moving from temporary place to temporary place, when all my family want is to settle down.”

Overall, homelessness has risen in England for more than six years, with 80,000 families in temporary accommodation including more than 120,000 children, government data shows.

Losing a tenancy is now the single biggest cause of homelessness in Britain, accounting for 27 percent of all households accepted as homeless in the last year, said Shelter.

The proportion of working homeless families, from security guards to hotel workers, has increased at different rates across Britain, with the East Midlands and North West England faring the worst, the report found.

It defines working families as those where at least one adult is in work.

Despite this, homeless charity Crisis said last month that Britain could end homelessness within a decade if it invested more in social housing and welfare benefits.

Britain’s parliament last year passed the Homelessness Reduction Act, which was designed to ensure that local councils increased obligations towards homeless people.

The government has also set an ambitious target of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.