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December 25, 2017

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Kh Asif doubts US serious about Afghan peace

Kh Asif doubts US serious about Afghan peace

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has said that Pakistan’s relationship with the United States has witnessed ups and downs.

Talking in Geo News programme “Naya Pakistan” on Sunday, he said the US has “externaliset” the matter of war on terrorism. Talat Hussain hosted the programme. He said 90 percent of the problem is in Afghanistan. Now the US is externalising thisproblem, putting burden on Pakistan, he said.

Looking at track record of the US over the last 9-10 years, one sometimes doubts if peace in Afghanistan is their aim or not, he said. “If you cannot keep peace with 100,000-strong army, how can you do it with 12,000?” he said.

“In this situation, they say that partnering is not beneficial for peace. We, definitely cannot be partners in this situation. We got no benefits from the US partnership in the past. Rather, we suffered countless losses,” he said.

He said he has doubts that the US desires peace in the region. “The US wants a sophisticated listening post here to monitor nuclear armed China, Pakistan and Russia. Iran is also here. Despite being part of Nato, Turkey has an independent policy. The US wants to monitor all these countries through its listening post,” he said.

He said the establishment is strong in the US also, a facade of which is democracy. “What I feel as a student of politics in history, I see the face of establishment there despite the fact that they have Senate, Congress and administration,” he said.

He said the US has said they are improving their infrastructure for which it needs more than $1 trillion. To do so, they will trigger conflicts and sell their weapons to the tune of $200-300 billion. They are also revamping their tax system to get more money, he said, adding that the US is also asking its Nato allies to return the money they have paid them over the last 15-20 years. “All this adds up to $1 trillion. Look at their infrastructure. Trains are falling, roads are broken, bridges are falling. Their infrastructure is 60-70-years-old,” he said.

He said Pakistan has given New Delhi consular access to arrested Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, Foreign Minister confirmed, after which he will be meeting his family at the Foreign Office on Monday (today).

The mother and wife of Jadhav, who has been convicted of espionage and sabotage activities, will arrive in Pakistan early Monday and will return after meeting him, it has been learnt. Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh will also be present at Monday's meeting between Jadhav and his family.

Commander Jadhav — an on-duty Indian navy officer working for Indian covert agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) — was arrested on March 3, 2016, from Balochistan, after he entered into Pakistan from Iran.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, during his appearance on Geo News' programme 'Naya Pakistan', confirmed that India has been given consular access to the convicted spy, describing it as a "concession."

"Had India been in place of us, it would not have given us this concession." He, however, said that Pakistan allowed Jadhav's meeting with his mother and wife purely on "humanitarian grounds."

Noting that Jadhav's case is sub judice in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the minister said they were also advised to allow the meeting. "We didn't want any weakness in our case in the ICJ over the meeting." Asif further said that Pakistan could make a decision on Jadhav's mercy plea keeping its interests and security in view.

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