Pakistan has ‘greatest stake’ in Afghan peace : PM tells Thomas Drew

Agencies/Islamabad
August 30, 2017 INTERNATIONAL 202 Views

Pakistani prime minister Monday said the country has biggest stake in Afghan peace as its army chief discussed with Tajik president the situation emerging after the US president’s announcement of a new policy for the region.
Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Islamabad has categorically told Washington that it will not accept any dictation on its policies and take decisions that suit its own interests and the interests of the people of the region.
US President Donald Trump last week discredited Pakistan accusing it of taking no action against the terrorists’ safe havens, as he announced his administration’s new policy for Afghanistan and South Asia.
He issued threats to Islamabad in a bid to coerce it to serve US interests in Afghanistan and urged India – the erstwhile enemy of Pakistan – for a greater role in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan wanted peace and stability in Afghanistan as it had suffered immensely on account of the prevailing situation in that country,” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, who called on him to congratulate him on his assumption of office.
Pakistan, Abbasi said, had the greatest stake in that country’s return to normalcy. Its commitment to peace and stability in the region was underscored by the fact that it had continued a successful campaign against terrorism inside the country and made enormous sacrifices.
The high commissioner said that the UK was committed to supporting Pakistan in its efforts for a peaceful and stable region. He acknowledged the sacrifices made by Pakistani law enforcement agencies and the military. The operations carried out by Pakistan had helped in cleaning up large parts of tribal areas of terrorists and terrorist networks, he noted.
Prime Minister Abbasi has also convened his cabinet today (Tuesday) to deliberate over US policy for Afghanistan and South Asia.
Sources said that the federal cabinet will particularly discuss Trump’s threats to Pakistan. It will also mull over country’s strategy viz a viz the new US policy for the region.
On Monday, President Mamnoon Hussain also summoned a session of the National Assembly for today (August 29). The NA is likely to take up the issue of Pak-US tension.
Officials at the foreign ministry said Prime Minister Abbasi would fly to the US next month to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 21st or 23rd. Foreign Minister Asif will accompany him.
The speech of the premier has been prepared by the foreign ministry, and officials said Pakistan might not engage in open talks with Washington before PM’s visit to the US.
A Senate Special Committee, constituted to discuss Trump statement and its repercussions, met on Monday and prepared a draft of for policy guidelines.
Speaking at the meeting, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said a meeting of the National Security Council would be held tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the issue in detail.
Saying that the whole nation was on one page against the US bullying, he said the draft could be discussed in the joint session of the parliament and the National Assembly would bring its own resolution on the issue.

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