Pakistan to hold talks on equal footing with US defence secretary

Sources say Pakistan will put it across that there are no safe havens for terrorists in the country


Amir Khan November 18, 2017
PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Preparing for the forthcoming US Defense Secretary James Mattis' visit to Pakistan, sources privy to the matter said Islamabad will talk on an equal basis with the US dignitary this time and will demand US to acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices in counter-terrorism efforts.

Since the recent turmoil in relations between the US and Pakistan after Donald Trump’s announcement of the new Afghan policy, tensions between the two countries have started receding with officials from both countries engaging in talks now.

Well-informed sources in the federal capital have said that Trump’s statements against Pakistan are also being reviewed. Pakistan has clarified that its army and security agencies are taking action against terrorists without any discrimination, they say.

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Sources say that Pakistan will put it across to the defense secretary that there are no safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan and the country does not  - directly or indirectly - support any militant group and that operation will continue till the last terrorist is eliminated.

Pakistan will reconsider its relations with the US if the latter fails to understand the former’s point of view on the war against terrorism.

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Islamabad will also talk about how it is expanding its relations with China, Russia and other countries rather than relying on the US, making it clear that if Washington imposes any sanctions, Pakistan will not be affected.

Sources said that the US understands Pakistan’s importance with reference to Afghanistan and the Islamic world but it keeps saying ‘do more’.

They stated that the  US will have to face difficulties in Afghanistan if it chooses to strain relations with Pakistan.

No peace formula or Afghanistan can be successful sans Pakistan, therefore, US has to continue its policy of talks, they added.

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