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PAK DEFENCE MINISTER CHANGES TRACKS: SPEAKS FOR GOOD RELATIONS WITH US


14 Sep 2017/Thursday 

Pak Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan reacting on Mr Trump’s speech, in which he accused Pakistan of not adequately acting against terrorist sanctuaries on its soil, said on Wednesday

the onus of satisfying the United States about its concerns is not on Pakistan”.

However he also admitted that,

Despite all reservations, consensus generally exists at all levels in Pakistan that a rupture in relations with the United States is not an option”. He also noted that a nexus between the United States, India and Afghanistan in Kabul threatened Pakistan.

 “The US knows all, but ignores the threats faced by us because of its strategic interests”.

“We are here to give our point of view logically and with evidence. We will explain our position. But it’s not for us to satisfy them,” Mr Dastgir told reporters at the defence ministry. The changed stand of Pak Government is at sharp variance with the earlier reaction of complete rejection of Trump’s speech.

The defence minister bemoaned the fact that the US did not share Pakistan’s threat perception about India, which was not only indulging in warmongering but also building up its military capabilities.

The government is currently, in Mr Dastgir’s words, “reassessing ties with the US”, and has simultaneously undertaken a regional outreach ahead of talks with the US on future bilateral engagement. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, after accompanying Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to the UN General Assembly session in New York next week, is expected to visit Washington for the awaited meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Mr Asif’s meeting with Mr Tillerson was originally scheduled for mid-August, but was postponed on Pakistan’s request after US President Donald Trump’s policy statement on Afghanistan and South Asia. The statement was seen here as demeaning to Pakistan, dismissive of its sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and indifferent to Pakistan’s security concerns.

Pakistan seems to have got over its initial shock of Trump’s speech and BRICS Joint Condemnation and now taking measures to shore up its reputation.  

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07 Sep 2017/Thursday

PAK DEFENCE & FOREIGN MINISTER AT CONFLICT WITH EACH OTHER

Post BRICS joint declaration Pak government is finding it extremely difficult to articulate its policy towards the spectre of terrorism mushrooming from its land. This is evident from various conflicting and self-defeating statements coming from Pakistan’s Defence and Foreign Minister.

During a recent meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence, the Pak Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan rejected the Xiamen Declaration, naming terrorist groups in the region, by leaders of member countries at the BRICS Summit. He says

“We reject the declaration [released by member countries] at the BRICS Summit,”

“Pakistan has no safe haven for terrorists on its soil”, adding that 40 per cent of Afghanistan is a safe haven for terrorists.002

At the same time, Pakistani media houses have quoted Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif admitting in an interview, that, outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) are operating from their soil. The Pak Foreign Minister goes on to says

 “Friends (China) should not be tested (every time), particularly in the changed scenario. Instead, we should impose some restrictions on the activities of the elements like LeT and JeM, so that we can show the global community that we have put our house in order”.

The iron shield provided by China to Pakistan’s terror involvement, was also blown away in the storm, as it is also the signatory to BRICS joint Declaration. The Pakistan minister tried to defend China’s role in the BRICS declaration saying that it should not be considered as China’s official stance as other countries – Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa – are also a part of the group.

However, from the statements coming out from the top echelons of Pak government, it is clear that there is a deep confusion in policy formulation in response to President Trump’s speech and the Xiamen Declaration. The conflicting stand taken by the two important Ministries has also added to indecisiveness of the Pak Government.

Will Pakistan shun its policy of nurturing snakes in its backyard while hoping them to bite the neighbour?

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