Pakistani lawmakers have denounced U.S. President Donald Trump's accusations that the country has provided safety to militants battling NATO-led forces in neighboring Afghanistan.
Pakistan's lower house of parliament on August 30 unanimously passed a resolution rejecting Trump’s remarks of August 22, in which the U.S. leader said Washington would no longer tolerate Pakistan offering "safe havens" to extremist groups such as the Afghan Taliban.
Trump's comments angered Pakistani officials and ignited street protests in many Pakistani cities, with police forced to break up the gatherings with tear gas in several instances.
In its resolution, the National Assembly decried the "hostile" remarks and urged the government to consider postponing delegation exchanges between Pakistan and the United States.
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry has already canceled a visit planned for August 28 by Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary Alice Wells, without giving a reason for the decision.
Trump, in outlining a new U.S. strategy for the war in Afghanistan on August 22, accused Islamabad of offering havens to "agents of chaos" and suggested relations between the two countries would be adjusted.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan strongly criticized the comments, denying claims of being soft on the militants and, in turn, accused the United States of ignoring the thousands of Pakistani citizens and security forces who have been killed by extremists and the billions of dollars spent fighting the insurgents.
"The National Assembly [of Pakistan] regards President Trump's…statements on Pakistan as hostile and threatening, and calls on the government of Pakistan to express the determination of the people of Pakistan to protect Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Pakistani Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif told parliament on August 30.
He said the country should consider the suspension of cooperation with the United States, particularly in regard to the routes used by the United States or NATO to take their supplies through Pakistan to Afghanistan.
The U.S. military has led a 16-year-effort to defeat the Taliban and other militants who are fighting the U.S.-backed Afghan government.