Pakistan Friday lashed out at the United States (US) hours after Vice President Mike Pence’s warning that the Trump administration has “put Pakistan on notice.”
“Allies do not put each other on notice,” the Foreign Office said in statement noting that Pence’s scathing remarks were “at variance with the extensive conversations we [Islamabad] have had with the US administration”.|
The statement stressed the need for the US to create peace and reconciliation mechanisms instead of shifting blame onto Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan.
“Externalising blame should be put on notice,” the FO said, in addition to a host of “factors responsible for exponential increase in drug production, expansion of ungoverned spaces, industrial scale corruption, breakdown of governance, and letting Daesh gain a foothold in Afghanistan.”
Pence’s statements are the harshest US warning to Pakistan since the beginning of the Afghan war more than 16 years ago and follows several recent statements, indicating US indignation with Islamabad, according to Dawn online.
The US VP visited Kabul’s Bagram airbase in a trip cloaked in secrecy, becoming the most senior Trump administration official to visit the men and women fighting America’s longest-ever war.
“For too long has Pakistan provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over,” Pence told the troops.
Earlier today, Foreign Affairs Secretary Tehmina Janjua said Islamabad rejected US VP Pence’s ‘rhetorical’ statements and allegations outright, and posed the question of how the US would be able to address Pakistan’s regional security concerns.
During a Senate Foreign Affairs Committee briefing on Pence’s remarks chaired by Nuzhat Sadiq, Janjua said that Islamabad and Washington are in touch regarding the US’ “unilateral action” statements.
“How can unilateral action be taken on a single source of information?” she asked.
“Pakistan has no terrorist sanctuaries,” she asserted, adding that the presence of terrorists in Afghanistan has been detrimental to Pakistan’s safety. She also accused India of using Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan.
Rejecting Pence’s claim on the presence of militants on the Pakistani side of the Pak-Afghan border, Janjua said that Operation Khyber-2 had already cleansed the area.
“However, if actionable intelligence is provided to us, Pakistan can conduct intelligence-based operations,” she added.
“The bigger question is how will the US address Pakistan’s concerns? Terrorists wanted in Pakistan are hiding away in Afghanistan and the refugee situation is also creating major problems for us.”
Pakistan on Thursday warned against a “malicious campaign” being used to trivialise Pakistan’s achievements in the war against terrorism, days after US President Donald Trump announced a new National Security Strategy (NSS) which is tough on Pakistan.