Pakistan-US ties still on hold over NATO attack: Khar

Published: January 19, 2012

Washington should not push Islamabad to go after militant groups, says foreign minister Khar. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Ties between the United States and Pakistan are still on hold over the Nato cross-border air attack and Washington should not push Islamabad to go after militant groups including the Haqqani network or bring them to any Afghan peace process, Pakistan’s foreign minister told Reuters on Thursday.  

“Now that the re-evaluation process is underway as we speak, so till the time that that re-evaluation process in not complete, we cannot start the re-engagement,” Hina Rabbani Khar said in an interview.

The November 26 Nato attack, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, plunged relations between Washington and Islamabad to their lowest levels in years.

The United States sees Pakistan as critical to its efforts to wind down the war in neighbouring Afghanistan, where US-led Nato forces are battling a stubborn insurgency.

But the Nato incident exacerbated a crisis in relations which erupted after US special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a unilateral raid on Pakistani soil in May last year.

“I would say they (ties) are conveniently on hold until we start re-engaging,” said Khar.

The United States has long sought Pakistani cooperation in tackling the Haqqani network, the Afghan insurgent group now seen as the gravest threat to Nato and Afghan troops.

Pakistan argues that the United States needs to be patient and gain a greater understanding of the region’s complexities before acting, and that pressure would only hurt efforts to pacify Afghanistan.

“‘Push’ is never wise. I think that every country must be allowed to develop their own strategy and their own timing,” said a confident Khar, wearing a traditional head scarf and a colourful shawl.

Relations with US based on mutual respect, interest: FO

Foreign Office (FO) Spokesman Abdul Basit also said on Thursday that Pakistan wants a relationship with the US that is based on mutual respect and mutual interest.

During the weekly media briefing, Basit said that the parliament is working on finalising the terms of engagement between the two countries and it will lead to a positive outcome.

“No inter-state relationship can be built without first mutually agreeing on its fundamentals,” Basit added.

Commenting on US special envoy Marc Grossman’s cancelled visit, the FO spokesman said that Pakistan wants his mission to be productive and result-oriented and hence “we want Grossman to come to Pakistan after we have completed our homework.”

Grossman, on a mission to discuss post-war Afghanistan, will head on an unscheduled trip to New Delhi after Pakistan refused his visit.

Pakistan informed the US officials that it did not want to receive Grossman until Islamabad completes an ongoing review of relations with Washington, which have sunk to rock-bottom in recent months.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Cautious
    Jan 19, 2012 - 7:37PM

    You have to earn respect – and Pakistan’s poor international reputation is not the fault of the American’s.

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  • Tahir
    Jan 19, 2012 - 9:27PM

    @Cautious:
    You are right. The US is “above and beyond” all faults and mistakes!

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  • rk from NY
    Jan 19, 2012 - 9:34PM

    not really…US already started droning on paki soil and cut down your alms….!!!!!!!!

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 19, 2012 - 10:15PM

    Pakistan has been listening to US for the last 64-65 years.

    Now it is the time for US to listen what Pakistan is saying.

    No more dictation please.

    Pakistanis know better than Americans how to protect Pakistan.

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  • Tahir
    Jan 19, 2012 - 11:17PM

    The US’s example is like Sheikh’s Camel ! You allow his neck inside your tent and after a while you will be out and the Camel is in! But this time, it appears the Sheikh knows how to force Camel back to his original place!

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  • John B
    Jan 19, 2012 - 11:22PM

    Actually Madam US ties with PAK and all that follows is on hold after Abattobad. People in the US are still looking for answers on how Abattobad housed the world’s most wanted man.

    While the PAK ‘s new ambassador in washington, it was a strategic mistake on PAK not to receive Grossman. The signals are very clear for everyone that PAK is not going to cooperate with NATO forces.

    I see PAK becoming increasingly isolated.

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  • akram
    Jan 20, 2012 - 12:24AM

    @John B:
    I tell you the answer you are playing war on terror on paki blood and soil. you brought bin laden in safe house in abbotabad and shot him there with consent of paki intelligence with the help of your selected president zardari and your chosen political and military elite .

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  • A Pakistani
    Jan 20, 2012 - 1:53AM

    @John B: Buddy let Pakistan worry about the isolation problem..America’s got bigger problem’s at hand..Like how to get toilet paper to your soldiers in Afghanistan :)..
    America needs Pakistan A LOTTT more then Pakistan needs America at the moment..
    DONT PUSH YOUR LUCK
    Just an after thought: “Afghanistan” GRAVEYARD of Super Powers :)

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  • Amir
    Jan 20, 2012 - 6:40AM

    @John B:
    sir American people are still wondering whether OBL was killed or not period, the same way they still think whether 9/11 was an inside job as well, watch a documentary called “loose change” you will understand what i am talking about, dont just repeat what US media is feeding you day in day out, and please dont even pretend that you understand what is happening in our region.

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  • Harry Stone
    Jan 20, 2012 - 6:45AM

    @akram:

    You want to pretent that there were not terrorists or terroist attacks in PAK before NATO/US were in Afghanistan. To that I would say you do not know the history of PAK or you are on drugs.

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  • akram
    Jan 20, 2012 - 8:35PM

    @Harry Stone:
    *Be rational, see the statistics,we are still haunted by 2 pistol bullet fired in a dance club in Islamabad without casualties in 1998 and now we don,t even remember 2 massive bomb blasts the next day, due to your so called war on terror (spread of terror) and mind it no pakistani in 9/11 attack .your tout kings in UAE and Saudi arabia funding militant madrassahs on your orders in friendly country ,don,t become innocent super power because innocents can,t be super power and understand anti americanism because ultimate sufferer are bleeding , disgraced and labelledas terrorist pakistani masses not our rulers or their rulers(US) *

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