ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday reiterated the US government’s message that Pakistan should do more to “squeeze” the Haqqani network from their border areas.
In a joint press conference held with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in Islamabad, Clinton urged the Pakistani government to show greater cooperation with the US to corner militants.
“You can’t keep snakes in your back yard and expect them to only bite your neighbours,” Clinton said, making a clear reference to the Haqqani network that the US has accused Pakistan of maintaining links with.
She added that US and Afghan forces have “successfully” responded to Pakistan’s legitimate concern regarding terrorists working from the Afghan side of the border, and that Pakistan is expected to do the same.
“If we want to give peace a chance, we have some work to do,” said Secretary Clinton, urging Pakistan to do more to crackdown on extremists operating from Pakistani territory.
Response to Kayani
Clinton agreed with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaque Pervez Kayani’s statement last week when he said “Pakistan is not like Afghanistan”. She said that the US acknowledges that Pakistan is a sovereign nation and has a “full and comprehensive agenfa of issues to address”.
She added that Thursday’s talks included an in-depth conversation “with specifics”, and that the US looks forward to taking this ahead.
She also added that a plan is needed to move forward after the talks, and the process needs to be transparent, reiterating the need for a stable and secure Afghanistan.
Praise for APC
Clinton said that the All Parties Conference held in Pakistan last month was seen as a “very significant statement” by the US. She said that the US appreciated that all parties in Pakistan support the peace process and welcome the step as an important development.
US support for Pakistan
Clinton said that the US continues to support the democratic process and economic prosperity in Pakistan
“The US has invested billions of dollars in Pakistan,” she said. “Why? Because a thriving Pakistan is good (for Pakistan) and the rest of the world.”
She added that the US government wants to foster sustainable development in Pakistan, and wants to maintain a relationship of mutual respect and responsibility.
Pakistan has made the most sacrifices: Khar
Foreign Minister Khar concluded the press conference by stating that the world must not forget Pakistan’s sacrifices and losses in the war on terror.
Khar added that Pakistan has suffered economically as well as lost thousands of lives in the fight against terror, and has showed great commitment as a partner in the war.
She also said that Pakistan and US together support an Afghan-led peace process.
Earlier in the press conference, Clinton expressed sympathy for the grievous toll terrorism has taken on Pakistan.
“For too long, extremists have been able to operate in Pakistan and from Pakistani soil,” said Clinton, adding that action should be taken against them to limit the loss of Pakistani, American and Afghan lives.