- Pakistan says a broad-based, structured framework for dialogue to serve mutual interests
- Asif points out ungoverned spaces within Afghanistan, rights violations by India in IHK
ALI IMRAN/STAFF REPORT
WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday expressed concerns about the future of Pakistan’s government, emphasising that Washington wanted a stable government in Islamabad, while talking to media following the meeting with Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif.
While addressing the political situation in Pakistan, Tillerson said, “We have concerns about the future of Pakistan’s government too, in terms of them — we want their government to be stable. We want it to be peaceful. And many of the same issues they’re struggling with inside of Pakistan are our issues”.
The top US diplomat voiced confidence in Pakistan being a reliable American partner as he billed the US-Pakistan relationship as “extraordinarily” important.
“Yes, I believe we do. I think Pakistan – it’s very – the Pakistan relationship and the US relationship is extraordinarily important regionally,” he said when asked pointedly if the US has a reliable partner in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, during the meeting, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said that Pakistan and the US shared a common desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large, while pointing out Pakistan’s achievements in war against terrorism. “In contrast to other countries, the incidences of terrorism in Pakistan has seen a marked decline — with a salutary impact on economic and commercial activity,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office quoted the minister as saying.
Asif informed the US secretary about the strong public reaction in Pakistan regarding the pronouncement of the US South Asia Policy, which he said was based on inadequate recognition of Pakistan’s sterling contribution in the fight against terrorism.
“Our cultural ethos as a moderate state had suffered due to protracted instability in Afghanistan,” he said, in addition to huge human and material cost incurred by Pakistan. On the occasion, Tillerson acknowledged and appreciated the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the struggle against terrorism, said the press release.
He agreed that cooperation between Pakistan and the US in Afghanistan was crucial to achieving durable peace and stability in the region. “Pakistan’s interests and concerns will be accommodated since its role was critical to President Trump’s South Asia strategy,” he was quoted as saying.
“The future stability of Pakistan was an important element of the strategy.” Khawaja Asif reiterated Pakistan’s position on the need for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political approach to achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan.
He conveyed Pakistan’s concerns with regard to ungoverned spaces within Afghanistan, from which attacks against Pakistan continued to be planned and carried out. He urged the US to take note of the gross human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian forces in held Kashmir.
“Peace in South Asia would remain out of reach until the resolution of all longstanding disputes, including the core dispute of Jammu Kashmir,” he said. Inviting Secretary Tillerson to visit Islamabad to continue their discussions, the minister stressed that a broad-based and structured framework for dialogue would best serve the two countries’ mutual interests.