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June 10, 2016

US is a ‘selfish friend’: Pakistan

Top Story

June 10, 2016

Sartaj Aziz says Washington always curried favour with Pakistan when self-interest pressed it; growing US-India proximity cause of concern for Pakistan; why does US expect us to bring peace in Afghanistan if it could not do it in 15 years?

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday said the US was a “selfish friend” that always curried favour with Pakistan when self-interest pressed it and left it in the lurch after having its interests served.

Addressing a press conference at the Foreign Office here, he said the growing US-India proximity was a cause of worry for Pakistan.He said if the US could not bring peace in war-torn Afghanistan, why was it expecting Pakistan to do this difficult job within the shortest-possible time.

He termed the May 21 drone strike unfortunate, saying that the incident had damaged Pakistan’s relationship with the US.“The drone strike killing the Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Mansour has not only violated our sovereignty but also damaged the level of trust with the United States,” the adviser said.

He said the drone attack had undermined the Afghan peace process adding that the incident would have far-reaching implications.He said Pakistan was unsure of the US objective behind the strike; however, he said apparently it had more negatives [aspects] than positives.

About the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US and his efforts for India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Sartaj said the US tilt towards India would disturb the strategic balance in the region.

“We have been constantly reminding the United States to be mindful of maintaining a security balance for peace in the region,” he added.He dismissed the impression that Pakistan had initiated belated foreign policy efforts to mobilise support for its membership of NSG.

Instead, he said, Pakistan had been pursuing active diplomacy on the point that no non-NPT (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) country should be given an exception to apply for the NSG membership.

Talking about the arrest of Indian RAW agent Kulbhushana mutual concern of terrorism with India. He said following the arrest of Kulbhushan Pakistan had informed the international community about the Indian-sponsored terrorism on its soil.

In the coming weeks, he said, Pakistan would share more information with the United Nations and the P5 countries. “They talk about our non-state actors, but we talk about their state actors active in subversive activities in Balochistan, tribal areas and Karachi,” he said.

He welcomed India’s statement about non-involvement of Pakistan in the Pathankot airbase attack. To a question about non-appointment of a permanent foreign minister, the adviser said it was not unprecedented in the history of Pakistan and gave examples of the governments of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Jawahar Lal Nehru and the first term of Nawaz Sharif when no foreign minister had been appointed.

He said being adviser on foreign affairs did not matter much with the title and he was playing a much more responsible role at present without feeling handicapped. In response to a question about normalisation of Pakistan’s relations with India, he said the former had a six-decade history of making Pakistan isolated in the international community. However, he said Pakistan had been successful in protecting its interests. “Pakistan believes that dialogue is the only option for resolution of issues with India,” he said.


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