Pakistan on Thursday played down the US demand for a military offensive against militants in the tribal North Waziristan Agency, saying any decision on the vital issue would be taken keeping in view the country’s own interests.
Addressing a weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said, “We have our own strategy to deal with militancy and terrorism and will do whatever will in our own national interest.”
Asked about the US demands for a military operation in North Waziristan, he said, “There are already 34,000 troops in North Waziristan and to say that Pakistan is totally oblivious of the situation is not correct.” Basit said Pakistan was doing whatever was required to be done.
“If a full scale operation in North Waziristan is required, the country will not hesitate to initiate that but its timing and scope will be determined in accordance with the long-term interests of Pakistan,” he said. To another query, Basit said Pakistan was satisfied with the ongoing strategic dialogue with the US. “Pakistan believes that the US will review its drone policy,” he said.
To a query on Indo-Pak ties, the FO spokesman said Pakistan would accept nothing less than a sustained and result-oriented dialogue with India to resolve the longstanding disputes including Kashmir, as it was vital to ensure peace in the region. “The aspirations of the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir cannot be suppressed for ever and they will ultimately win their right of self-determination,” he said.
Basit said the international community should use its good offices with India to help settle the longstanding dispute of Kashmir. He said claims by the Indian side that July’s dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi failed because of Pakistan’s non-cooperative attitude was baseless.
“It was India’s attempt rather to underplay Kashmir and other important and unavoidable issues that caused the impasse in the meeting,” Basit said.