Thursday Sep 16, 2021
The United States announcing it will reassess its relationship with Pakistan is "surprising" as we have played a positive role in the Afghan peace process, Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said Saturday.
The spokesperson, responding to a question at the weekly press briefing, said there is no pressure on Pakistan to recognise or not to recognise the Taliban government, and Islamabad does "not take any pressure".
"We will take independent decisions in line with our interests," the spokesperson clarified.
In response to the comments made by US lawmakers and Secretary of State Antony Blinken during recent Congressional hearings on Afghanistan, he said Pakistan has noted that they were "not in line with the close cooperation between Pakistan and the United States".
The spokesperson said the comments were "surprising" as Pakistan had played an imperative role in the recent evolving situation in Afghanistan.
"This was surprising as Pakistan’s positive role in the Afghan peace process, recent facilitation of the multinational evacuation effort from Afghanistan, and continued support for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan have been duly acknowledged, including most recently by the US State Department spokesperson," he said.
The spokesperson recalled that Pakistan had played a critical role in helping the US degrade Al Qaeda’s core leadership in Afghanistan, which was the international coalition’s core objective.
"At the same time, Pakistan had always maintained that there was no military solution to the larger Afghan conflict and that a political settlement offered the only plausible pathway to sustainable peace in Afghanistan — a position now shared by the United States," he said.
The spokesperson said that achieving an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan that represents Afghanistan’s diversity and reflects the gains made by the country remains a shared objective for Pakistan and the United States.
"We look forward to building on this convergence while also strengthening other aspects of a broad-based and constructive relationship," the spokesperson added.
On September 14, US Secretary of State Blinken had said that Washington will reassess its relationship with Pakistan in the coming days.
According to Reuters, the US had made it clear to Pakistan that it did not want Islamabad to recognise the Taliban government until it doesn't give women their due rights and allows Afghans who want to leave the country, to do so.
In the first public hearing in Congress about Afghanistan since last month's collapse of the US-backed Afghan government, US Secretary of State Blinken had told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that Pakistan has a "multiplicity of interests, some that are in conflict with ours."
"It is one that involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it's one that's involved harboring members of the Taliban ... It is one that's also involved in different points cooperation with us on counterterrorism," Blinken had said.
Asked by lawmakers if it is time for Washington to reassess its relationship with Pakistan, Blinken had said the administration would soon be doing that.