- Alice Wells’ visit postponed on Pakistan’s request
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and US embassy in Islamabad Sunday announced postponement of a visit of Acting United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Alice Wells, saying the visit had been delayed on the request of Islamabad until a mutually convenient time.
The announcement comes amid rising tensions between the two strategic partners against terrorism following the strong speech made by US President Donald Trump, where he made strong allegations against Pakistan, triggering a diplomatic row.
“At the request of the government of Pakistan, the visit of the US delegation has been postponed until a mutually convenient time,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria confirmed, while responding to a question about the authenticity of media reports about the development.
The US embassy also confirmed the development, with its spokesman Rick Sinelsine telling media that the trip was postponed at the request of the government of Pakistan. He said the new date of the visit has not been confirmed as of yet, and that the trip has been postponed until a mutually convenient time.
The deferment of a trip also reflects the anger and anguish running down in the circles of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
A diplomatic source told Pakistan Today that the government had decided to ask for the postponement of the visit because the US State Department did not give enough time to Pakistan to prepare for the dialogue.
“Moreover, since sentiments of betrayal are running deep at the moment, the aggrieved party feels it’s not appropriate to hold a dialogue. Hence, Pakistan has asked for the postponement of the visit,” a ruling party minister said, requesting not to be identified.
The minister was of the view that Pakistan felt being ‘backstabbed’ by the US administration, despite what Pakistan had achieved over the years for Washington.
“We have sacrificed our lives while fighting the terrorists; we have suffered financial, infrastructural and institutional destruction but still we are being blamed by our so-called strategic partners. It’s about time we rethink our policies,” the cabinet member said.
The minister was of the view that Trump had crossed some ‘red lines’ Pakistan had already identified in Afghanistan by stating that India would be the net security provider in Afghanistan.
“This [happened] despite our repeated complaints of Indian use of Afghan soil to create instability in Pakistan. We have shared vital information about this effect. We believe India cannot be the net security provider in South Asia region, as it has conflictual relationships with all its neighbours, and is pursuing a policy of destabilising Pakistan from the east and the west,” the minister said.
The minister added that Pakistan submitted dossiers on Indian involvement in terrorism, as well as subversive activities in Pakistan, to the UN Secretary General. The minister said that even several US officials have also accused India of playing the role of a spoiler and destabiliser in Afghanistan, adding that it uses Afghan soil against Pakistan. “President Trump’s assertion was a humiliation for Pakistan,” he maintained.
Asked when Pakistan plans to hold talks with the US officials, the minister said that the dialogue may take some weeks.
“Since Eidul Azha is already round the corner, talks may be delayed for some time. Minister for Foreign Affairs has also planned on visiting China, Russia and Turkey, so any visit by US officials, or by the minister himself, would be after these consultations with our neighbours,” the minister concluded.