Monday, January 01, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in response to a tweet by US President Donald Trump, said that Pakistan has already refused to ‘do more’ for the United States.
“We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif said in an exclusive interview with Geo News.
“Pakistan is ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received,” Asif said in a strongly worded statement in response to Trump’s tweet that accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists that the US is hunting in Afghanistan.
Regarding the US president's claims of giving billions in aid to Pakistan, he said: "The claim by Trump regarding the funds, if we account for it, they include reimbursements too for the services rendered by Pakistan."
“Trump is disappointed at the US defeat in Afghanistan and that is the only reason he is flinging accusations at Pakistan,” the foreign minister said.
“Our land, roads, rail and, other different kinds of services were used for which we were reimbursed. A proper audit took place for the reimbursements,” he said.
Asif also spoke against the US' military presence in Afghanistan, stating that peaceful negotiations are the only possible solution in the neighbouring country.
“They [US] are reinforcing their failure in Afghanistan by extending their military presence but only a peaceful solution is possible,” he said. “It [US] should, instead, try to negotiate with Taliban in Afghanistan.”
He further added that only Afghanistan’s neighbours can find a peaceful solution for regional peace and security.
When asked about the government's stance if the US conducts drone attacks in settled areas of the country, the foreign minister said that the country will defend its sovereignty.
The federal minister also emphasised that Pakistan's foreign policy is only focused on national interest.
Speaking on 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath', Asif said that Pakistan does not want aid, whether the United States blocks it or not. "Trump can ask his administration as to why were funds given to Pakistan."
The minister reassured that his government would safeguard the interests of Pakistan and whatever decisions it made, would be in line with the country's interests.
"We are not meant for safeguarding interests of any other state; our priority is Pakistan's betterment," he said. "If our interests differ with them, we will not become their allies," he said.
"This sort of dictation is not acceptable at all," Asif said, in response to Monday's tweet by President Trump.
'Will let the world know truth'
Soon after the US president took to twitter to make serious accusations against Pakistan, Asif had said that he would let the world know the truth.
He had further said that there is a difference between facts and fiction.
The foreign minister, following the tweet by Trump, called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, sources informed Geo News.
The meeting held a detailed review of Trump's statement, sources added, besides discussing the country's foreign policy.
In a news conference held on 28 December, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR), Major General Asif Ghafoor had stated no organised infrastructure of a terrorist organisation exists in Pakistan. His statement was in reference to the unfounded talk by the US and Afghanistan on the presence of terrorist bases in Pakistan.
“We have been saying that Pakistan has fought twice an imposed and imported war inside Pakistan. We have sacrificed a lot. We have paid a huge price both in blood and treasure. We have done enough and we cannot do any more for anyone. Whatever we are doing and shall, will only be done for Pakistan.”
The spokesperson had clarified that the Coalition Support Fund, received from the US, is reimbursement of money spent for operations in support of the coalition for regional peace.
"Had we not supported, al-Qaeda would not have been defeated," the ISPR chief had stated.
Commenting on blaming Pakistan for inaction against the Haqqani Network, Ghafoor had said: “Blame for inaction against [the] Haqqani Network might have been relevant owing to our capacity issues till Zarb-e-Azb".
US Vice President Mike Pence, during an unannounced trip to Afghanistan in December, had said; "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our efforts in Afghanistan. The days to shelter terrorists have gone. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists."
US President Trump has put Pakistan on notice, Pence had said on the Afghanistan visit.
He had said President Trump had "put Pakistan on notice for providing safe haven" to the terrorists on its soil.
"For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over.. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice," Pence had told American troops at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.