KARACHI: During their likely visit to Pakistan this month, top US officials will hold talks with Islamabad in a bid to remove Pakistan’s reservations on Trump’s new policy for the war-torn Afghanistan.
However, a well-placed source told Daily Express that the dialogue will be held on the ‘basis of equality’ and that Pakistan might discontinue the talks if the US officials continued their old mantra to ‘do more’.
A source said the visits aim to remove the present tension between the two countries and the ensuing talks will discuss role of Pakistan in establishing peace in Afghanistan, Islamabad’s reservations on Trump’s Afghan policy, mutual cooperation for eradication of terrorism and the regional situation.
He said during Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s recent visit to New York, he held meetings with both the US President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the sidelines of UNGA session.
In these meetings, Washington assured Islamabad that it will remove its reservations on the new Afghan policy through ‘dialogue’. The US officials also green-lighted talks with Pakistan on all issues.
It was after these meetings that Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif visited the US. During his visit, the Pakistani foreign minister met his counterpart Rex Tillerson.
According to sources, Khawja Asif clarified to his counterpart that Trump’s policy for Afghanistan was not acceptable to Pakistan and that Pakistan had rejected it outright.
The US authorities were told that Pakistan’s coordinated relations with Trump administration were possible only when the US revised its new policy for Afghanistan.
Sources said the US foreign secretary indicated that the Trump administration would continue talks with Pakistan on all issues including reservations on the new Afghan policy.
Informed sources said the forthcoming visit of Tillerson to Pakistan is of high importance and that Pakistan has decided its strategy for this expected visit.
“If the US foreign secretary demands for more action from Islamabad then there will be only one answer from the government: ‘No more do more’,” a source said, Pakistan is not going to concede to ‘do-more’ demand of any country including the US.
Pakistan’s stance will be clear that Pakistan has already offered countless sacrifices for elimination of terrorism. It is time for the US and the rest of the world to do more now.
A source said the US foreign secretary will meet important Pakistani authorities during his visit.
“During the visit, Pakistan will judge as to whether the US is serious to expand its relations with Pakistan. If the US foreign secretary gave any assurance of adopting a strategy to remove Pakistan’s reservations on new Afghan policy, the federation will start next phase of talks with Trump authorities,” he added.
Sources said Pakistan will continue its role in Afghan reconciliation process in light of its national security policy. Diplomatic sources said the US authorities visiting Pakistan are aware that their demand to do more’ will not be accepted.
They said if the US establishes parity based relations with Pakistan, the latter will adopt a strategy of cooperation with Trump government on all issues including eradication of terrorism. The schedule of US officials’ visit is being worked out.
Stance on CPEC
Be it the US foreign secretary or defence secretary, the federation’s stance will be clear that the US reservations on the China-Pak Economic Corridor are not acceptable, sources added.
“Work on the CPEC project will continue come what may. Pakistan’s priority is not the US but China because Pakistan’s economic future is associated with the CPEC,” a source added.
He said after India, the US had expressed reservations on the CPEC in an apparent bid to make this project disputed. But Pakistan will complete this project with coordination of China at all costs.