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Pak doesn’t have alliance with US: Asif
By Tariq Butt January 08, 2018
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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that Pakistan does not have an alliance with the United States.

“We do not have any alliance. This is not how allies behave,” he told an American newspaper, referring to US President Donald Trump’s administration’s decision to suspend its entire security assistance to Pakistan.

The suspension of security assistance for Pakistan — announced last week — comes as the Trump administration seeks more cooperation from Islamabad as part of its strategy in Afghanistan.

Asif said that Pakistan had made a huge mistake when it had agreed to join America’s campaign in Afghanistan in 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 terror attack. It had engendered a terrorist backlash against Pakistan, he added.

The foreign minister said that Washington has turned Islamabad into a whipping boy for its failures in Afghanistan.

While speaking about the successes of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations, Asif said that Islamabad would not allow the Afghan war to be fought on Pakistan’s soil. “We have relative calm in Pakistan at the moment. But if we go against the Afghan insurgents, then the war will again be fought on our soil, which will suit the Americans.”

ENGAGEMENT

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua said that Pakistan will continue to have engagement, as far as possible, with the US because America is not only a global power but also has its presence in the region, and “for us it’s almost our neighbour.”

Delivering a lecture on ‘Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Issues’ at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi, she said: “We need to continue to have a measured response to all the rhetoric coming out of the US.”

To a question, the foreign secretary said President Trump’s tweet on Jan.1 could be well thought out or he was just being his impulsive self, or it could be a result of any other reason such as the fact that the US is not doing well in Afghanistan.

Janjua said the foreign ministry needed to come out of its building and talk to the people. “I put my foot in the mouth when I decided to come here today, especially when Trump put his foot in the mouth when he sent out that tweet.”

Talking about the global and regional environment, she pointed out that “America first” was the slogan that came up with Trump coming to power. “The tweet that came on Jan 1 was a tweet that came for many reasons. We are trying to analyse why that tweet came. It could have been some briefing material given to him in the morning. What triggered it? Because we mustn’t forget that the meetings we had with the Americans before that were positive. Yet on Jan.1 the New Year’s gift to the world were two tweets: there was one about Pakistan and the other about Iran. Why was the president of the United States at four o’clock in the morning thinking about Pakistan and Iran? In Iran, there was something happening there, but Pakistan, a question mark.”

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