Pakistan to formulate strategy to deal with US challenges

Islamabad, Aug 31, IRNA – Pakistan says strategy would be formulated to deal with the situation arising out of the US Strategy for South Asia.

At his weekly news briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said based on the ongoing internal deliberations a strategy to deal with the challenges and engage with the United States would be formulated.

He said Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif intends to share Pakistan’s perspective on the elements of President Trump’s statement and other bilateral issues during his future interaction with the US leadership.

Zakaria added that a number of countries have noted Pakistan's sacrifices and contribution in the fight against terrorism.

“In line with the guidance by the Parliament and the National Security Council, we are in regular contact with all the friendly countries in the region as we believe that a regional and political approach is best suited to address the challenges in Afghanistan, and also in the larger regional context,” he said.

To a question about allegations of US General John Nicholson regarding presence of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, the spokesperson said such remarks are unwarranted and unacceptable.

Zakaria pointed out that while rejecting these allegations, the National Security Committee has expressed concerns about presence of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens inside Afghanistan.

He, however, pointed out that Pakistan has longstanding relationship with the United States. The two countries work together in a variety of fields, including security, non-proliferation, science and technology and counter-terrorism.

Zakaria said Pakistan has demanded elimination of these sanctuaries and also expressed willingness to engage both with the US and Afghanistan.

Responding to another question, he said there is no military solution to the complex Afghan conflict.

The spokesperson said Pakistan has been advocating for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. He also said that Afghan war cannot be fought on Pakistani soil.