Friday Jan 12, 2018
RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa received two phone calls from US Centcom Commander General Joseph Votel and one from a US senator over the week to discuss Pak-US security cooperation following President Donald Trump’s tweet, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Friday.
The army chief told the US officials that Pakistan will continue its "sincere counter-terrorism efforts" even without US financial support in accordance with its own national interest and will remain committed to bringing the effort to its logical conclusion along with other stakeholders.
Trump, in a New Year tweet, accused Pakistan of lies and deceit. "They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" he said on January 1.
The incident led to heightened tensions between Pakistan and the US. Later, on January 5, the US announced that it is suspending the transfer of military equipment and security-related funds to Pakistan.
According to the ISPR, General Votel apprised the army chief about the US decision regarding the US security assistance and coalition support fund.
"The general said that the US values Pakistan’s role towards the war on terror and expected that the ongoing turbulence remains a temporary phase," the ISPR said.
He also conveyed to the army chief that the US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in his view, use Pakistan’s soil against Afghanistan, the ISPR informed.
"This view, he felt, was undermining in Washington Pakistan’s contributions in the war against terrorism," the ISPR statement added further.
According to the ISPR, the COAS said that the entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over recent US statements despite decades of cooperation. Accordingly, Pakistan's unanimous national response reflected the same sentiments.
Moreover, the army chief was quoted saying that "Pakistan shall continue its sincere counter terrorism efforts even without US financial support in accordance with our national interest and shall remain committed to bringing it to its logical conclusion along with other stakeholders".
He added that Pakistan is fully aware of US concerns on activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and "we are already undertaking multiple actions through Operation Raddul Fasaad to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan Refugees is an essential prerequisite".
"Pakistan has suffered hugely due to great power contestation in the region," the army chief stated.
The US officials were also apprised of Pakistan's moves to strengthen border controls unilaterally "but if Afghanistan genuinely feels affected from Pakistan, bilateral border management must be Kabul’s top priority as well".
The COAS reiterated that Pakistan will not seek resumption of aid but expects honourable recognition of its contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in the fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region, according to the ISPR.
"Pakistan will keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan despite the tendency to scapegoat Pakistan, as peace in Afghanistan is the only way to move towards enduring peace and stability in the region," the army chief was quoted saying by ISPR.
General Votel acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan to ensure that Pakistan’s hospitality to Afghan refugees is not misused in any way, the ISPR said, adding that the US general agreed that both countries stand to gain from cooperative engagement.