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We will continue our fight against terrorism but cannot serve as anyone’s proxy: Khawaja Asif

26 October, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday, while briefing the Upper House of Parliament regarding talks held with the visiting high-level US delegation a day earlier, said that the US dignitaries were informed that Pakistan did not need any financial assistance or material gains from Washington but a relationship based on equality.

The minister said that the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was told that Islamabad will cooperate with Washington in the war on terror but without compromising its own sovereignty and the territorial integrity. “We informed them that we will continue our fight against terrorism but cannot serve as anyone’s proxy,” he said. “We told them that if they provide actionable intelligence, Pakistan will act on it. However, if they want that we act as their proxies to fight their war… this is unacceptable. We will not compromise on our sovereignty, our dignity,” he said, adding, “Our relations [with US] should be based on self-respect, equality and dignity.”

The minister informed the Senate that Pakistan told the US delegation that they should allow their policymakers, not military leaders, to chalk out a policy for peace in Afghanistan as the military solution had failed and now a political solution was needed. “There will only be room for improvement if Washington accepts their defeat … their failures in Afghanistan for over the past 16 years [since the war started],” Asif said, adding, “They are not ready to accept this.”

The minister claimed that nearly 45 per cent of Afghanistan’s territory was under Daesh’s control, adding that terrorists would not need Pakistan for their hideouts as they have ample space available in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan had managed to restore peace in its territory to a great extent and the number of drone strikes had decreased as compared to that in previous years. “We have fought away the elements that were the cause of drone strikes in Pakistan,” he said.

Asif said Pakistan was not a superpower but a nation that has sacrificed its people during the fight against terrorism. “Terrorist attacks are not planned on or executed from Pakistani soil, there are no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, and we made this clear to the US delegation,” Asif said, insisting that the Pakistani leadership firmly holds on to the stance that it is not protecting or supporting the Haqqani network.

While talking about US role in fight against terrorism, Asif said even the commanders of CENTCOM failed in Afghanistan. He reiterated his earlier statement that US could not succeed in Afghanistan without Pakistan’s help.

Asif also said the country had to make a compromise following the 9/11 attacks, and today the country is paying a price for it.

The minister stated that Pakistan would not budge on the demands of the US like it had been the practice in the past. He said the incumbent government was not dependent on support from the US to run the country like governments of the past.

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