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N has no dependence on USA to govern Pakistan: Khawaja Asif

27 October 2017

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday said that the United States has failed in Afghanistan after deploying its forces for over 16 years and a political solution is needed. According to Radio Pakistan, talking to a news channel, he said the two countries have agreed to enhance confidence so that matters between the two countries could be addressed in a befitting manner.

The minister informed the Senate that Pakistan told the USA delegation that they should allow their policymakers, not military leaders, to chalk out a policy for peace in Afghanistan as the military solution had failed and now a political solution was needed.

During a session of the parliament's upper house, Asif told senators that the the Afghan-based Haqqani network is on the top of the (US) list, which has carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against United States interests in Afghanistan but none of the terrorists belong to Pakistan. Without elaborating any further, he said there are other countries in the region who are also stakeholder in Afghanistan, and the U.S. should ask them to play a role in resolving the Afghan issue.

The minister said the USA has also been told that this negative role of Afghanistan, of being a facilitator for India, was in no way acceptable for Pakistan.

"The institutions of Pakistan will protect the country's interest", Asif said. "They are not ready to accept this". "[All these friendly] countries advised us to hold talks with U.S.". Regarding condition placed by the US Secretary, he said basically they (US) stressed on Haqqani network and eliminating its network and safe sanctuaries.

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"First, we have a free trade and transit agreement and India is our largest export market, second it's about the sovereignty", Ghani said, adding, "the win-win approach is to open up to trade and transit, the lose-lose approach is blockade".

Asif further informed the Senate that the Pakistani side has told the American delegation that if the latter provides actionable intelligence, Pakistan will act on it.

The minister claimed that almost 45 per cent of Afghanistan's territory was under Daesh's control, adding that terrorists would not need Pakistan for their hideouts as they have ample space available in Afghanistan.

He said earlier, Pakistan had influenced over Taliban but now they (Taliban) were being sponsored by some others.

China once again came out on Thursday in defence of Pakistan against criticism by India and the U.S. for not doing enough to wipe out terrorist outfits from the country and praised Islamabad's efforts in combatting terrorism. The US should ask them to play a role in resolving Afghan issue instead of demanding Pakistan of "doing more".

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Afghanistan's role as a facilitator for India is not acceptable to Pakistan, said Asif.

"Where we haven't had progress, despite trying, unfortunately is with Pakistan".

Asif though hit back by saying that despite not being a fully developed country, Pakistan has achieved a high degree of success in fighting terrorism. He reiterated his earlier statement that United States could not succeed in Afghanistan without Pakistan's help. "We are not like in the past when we were their proxy", Asif said.

"Having said that there is a willingness on both sides to bridge this [trust] deficit".

Asif also mentioned that Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed's name was not on the list of 75 militants the U.S. had handed over to Pakistan.

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N has no dependence on USA to govern Pakistan: Khawaja Asif