Abbasi says Pakistan, US are partners in fighting terrorism as it is a ‘common enemy’
Says Pakistan feels Trump’s tweets do not constitute official policy of US
DAVOS: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that Pakistan and US are partners in fighting terrorism, which is their “common enemy”.
In an interview with the Washington Post on Saturday, Abbasi said he also believes that if US President Donald Trump looks at Afghanistan from Pakistan’s perspective, he will understand that “the reality of Pakistan is very different from the perception he has. Pakistan is a US ally”.
“Pakistan and the United States have had a very strong relationship, but in the last 15 years, it has kind of gone downhill,” Abbasi said, maintaining that while the US policy statement in August said that Pakistan provides sanctuaries to Afghan terrorist, no such sanctuaries are left in Pakistan.
“There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan. If someone provides us with a location, we take action against that,” he said, insisting that there has not been a single instance where if actual intelligence has been provided to Pakistan, it has not been acted upon.
Abbasi also said during the interview that Pakistan has not responded to the US president’s New Year’s tweet which accuses Pakistan of lies and deceit, “because we feel it does not constitute official policy of the US … It has to come through an official document or an official meeting to constitute official policy, in our opinion”.
Speaking of the relationship between Pakistan and the US, Abbasi said: “This has been a relationship that has not been one of trust or stability. It [has] kept changing with the presidents and the Congresses.”
“If you say that Pakistan was given money, then let us have accounting … Since September 11th, when President (George W) Bush called President (Pervez) Musharraf and he immediately promised full and unconditional support to the US, we have been supporting the US effort in Afghanistan.”
Recounting Pakistan’s continuous assistance in the ongoing war, Abbasi said, “We have assisted the US forces and will continue to assist them. There have been over 1.1 million overflights within our airspace — US aircraft going to Afghanistan and fighting the war there. There have been millions of tons of equipment and cargo going there.
He also said that this will continue as Pakistan believes that these measures helps in the war against terror.
“It helps bring stability to Pakistan, so we support that effort.”
“Even today, Pakistan is fighting the largest war on terror in the world. We have 200,000 troops fighting a war against terror today on the western border. We have lost 6,500 troops. We have defeated the same enemy the rest of the world failed to defeat in Afghanistan, on the same terrain — with our own resources,” the prime minister said.
Answering a question regarding the discontinuation of US ‘aid’, PM Abbasi explained, “There is no economic aid. There is a coalition support fund, which basically reimburses Pakistan for the expenses that are made in support of US forces in Afghanistan.”
The premier was also asked about the Osama bin Laden raid in 2011, and whether that was a reason why relations between the countries were affected. Reiterating that Pakistan was not ‘hiding’ bin Laden, Abbasi stated that Pakistan’s sovereignty was affected and that “nobody disputed that Osama was a wanted criminal, but Pakistan should have been informed”.
Talking about internal politics of the country, the PM was asked about the ouster of Nawaz Sharif and he stated: “the Supreme Court made a decision that is questionable, but there is no recourse, because it is a Supreme Court’s decision”.