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Pakistan engaged with US to resolve Afghan issue: Khawaja Asif

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is working to develop relations with the United States, and is looking to work together to find common ground to resolve the Afghan issue, said Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif.

The foreign minister on Wednesday concluded his briefing and responded to questions by Senators on the statements of US President Donald Trump and the recent visit of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“We are continuing dialogue with the US, and things are moving forward,” he said. “We hope to work with the US to resolve the Afghan issue.”

He appreciated the stance adopted by the Senate in the evolving relations with the US, which are formulated with guidance from the parliament and other stakeholders and will never be shaped under any foreign influence.

However, he denied that impression to be under illusion of relations with the US, saying that Pakistan will not continue it timid response like the past, and will never compromise its national security, integrity and dignity.

“No one should be under the illusion of any favourable relations with the US,” he stated. “We are only looking to solve the Afghan issue.”

He said that Pakistan was searching for a regional solution to the Afghan issue and recent visits to Iran, Turkey, Russia and China were aimed toward developing consensus on the issue, and Pakistan will use the platform of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

“We cannot change the geography. America is here today but will not be there tomorrow,” he said. “The Americans had their interests in 80s and they left. But we will have to stay with our neighbours.”

He said the Afghan policy being formulated by the US is flawed as it is being prepared by those US general who have failed since the last fifteen years, and it is unlikely that an effective policy can be made with the mindset.

He said that it has been made clear to the US that there is no military solution to Afghan situation, and India’s role in the region as policeman is unacceptable.

Khawaja Asif said that this was also been pointed to several policy makers and it would be advisable if the US State Department or the National Security Committee formulate a more effective policy.

“When they blame Pakistan, then they are pointing towards their own shortcomings,” he said adding that attempts are being made to make Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures.

“Pakistan has defended its interests,” he stated. “We are in the Afghan process but it should prioritise our interests.”

He said the evolving foreign policy towards the US is not dependent any institution, but rather by mutual consensus including the national security committee and the parliament.



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