Friday Jul 02, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said Pakistan will not give airbases to the US if the government has decided against it.
The army chief was responding to questions posed by journalists after he had attended a military and intelligence briefing to parliamentarians on national security and the Afghanistan situation.
"You should have put this question to the government. Why have you asked this from me?" Gen Bajwa said when first questioned on the military's position on the matter.
However, when pushed, the COAS echoed the government in saying no base would be given to the US.
Pakistan has publicly refused to give military bases to the US for operations inside Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign forces from the war-torn country.
Washington had requested Islamabad's help to keep a check on the situation in Afghanistan and stop it from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his address on the floor of the National Assembly a day earlier, had said Pakistan could be a partner in peace with the US but not in conflict.
He had underlined that Pakistan became a target for militants when it joined the so-called US-led war against terror and sent its army into the tribal regions.
On Thursday, the political leadership was given a detailed briefing by the military on the worsening situation in the neighbouring country and its possible impact on Pakistan.
The meeting was chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and involved a briefing by the Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar were also in attendance.
During the session, the DG ISI briefed the lawmakers on the current situation in Kashmir and Afghanistan, besides the internal and external security situation, and the challenges arising due to the evolving nature of developments in the region.
According to an official statement issued after the briefing, the session was informed that Pakistan played a highly positive and responsible role in the Afghan peace process.
"Pakistan's efforts paved the way for dialogue between Afghan factions and warring groups," the meeting was told, while it was also noted that due to Islamabad's efforts, meaningful talks have begun between the US and the Taliban.
"Sustained peace and stability in Afghanistan will lead to stability in South Asia," the meeting was informed.
The participants were further told that Pakistan would welcome a government that was truly representative of the Afghan people and that it would continue its responsible role for peace in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan's territory is not being used in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan [...] and we hope that Afghanistan's land is not used against Pakistan," the DG ISI had said during the session.