Monday, 10 December, 2018

N has no dependence on United States to govern Pakistan: Khawaja Asif

Rex Tillerson with Pakistani PM Abbasi and army chief Bajwa in Islamabad US Secretary of State arriving in Islamabad today
Ellis Copeland | 26 October, 2017, 07:05

The foreign minister reiterated his earlier statement in which he had said the United States can not succeed in Afghanistan without Pakistan's help.

Asif also revealed that the objective of a joint meeting of the civil and military leadership with the U.S. secretary of state and his delegation was to convey a united narrative of the country.

Asif further told the Senate that the Pakistani side had told the visiting delegation that the influence Pakistan once had over the Taliban has now diminished and there are others who are sponsoring the militant network. "Neither are we supporting them (Afghan Taliban), nor do they need our help", Asif said. He said Pakistan was also not looking for military hardware from the US. We hope the entire leadership would forge unity to safeguard national interests in the face of fast changing regional and global scenario. "Let me assure the House that we will not compromise on our sovereignty, dignity". Asif said Pakistan wants to expand relations with the United States on the basis of equality and self-respect.

The list was passed on during the maiden visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Pakistan on Tuesday. Separately, talking to Geo TV, he said that Pakistani leaders told Tillerson that there were no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan.

The minister said unlike the past, the present government had neither surrendered, nor succumbed to any pressure after the controversial August 21 speech of US President Donald Trump.

The minister said that the meeting with Tillerson took place in a very cordial atmosphere and that attitude of Pakistani leadership was not apologetic at all.

The US, he added, had made a habit of handing over lists of wanted people to Pakistan, which traded them for favours - a matter that needed to be debated. They must do some self-accountability also.

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He said that Washington had been tracing Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour for some time but only when he travelled to Pakistani soil he was killed.

"We have told them that there are a number of influential players in the region ─ including China, Turkey and Russian Federation ─ who might not have good relations with America but hold a stake in the Afghan dispute".

Asif said it was clarified during the meeting that Pakistan would not get involved in a proxy war but would continue to play its role for peace and security in the region.

Following the meeting between Pakistani officials and Rex Tillerson in Islamabad, Asif ─ who was a member of the Pakistani delegation ─ said that the American delegation was informed that Washington's allegations against Pakistan of offering safe havens to terrorists and protecting the Haqqani network are incorrect.

He said that several United States leaders can make statements negating the role of Pakistan, but it will act in self-restraint and hope to maintain cordial relations with them. The US Authorities was also asked to invest for fencing on the Afghan side to permanently stop the movement of Taliban and terrorists across the border.

Responding to a question about United States allegations of housing terrorists on Pakistan, Asif said that the country's leadership thinks that sending Afghan refugees back is a plausible solution to the security situation in the region.

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