Pakistan won't fight America's proxy war in Afghanistan

US Secretary of State arriving in Islamabad today

And while the US repeatedly has said it feels that having Pakistan play a positive role is key to success in Afghanistan, there are signs that Islamabad is hedging its bets by growing closer to China - which has undertaken mutually beneficial, multi-billion-dollar development projects in the country - and bolstering relations with Russian Federation in case Washington were to cut back on aid.

Tillerson told Abbasi that Pakistan is "so important regionally to our joint goals of providing peace and security to the region and providing opportunity for greater economic relationship". The foreign minister said that Pakistan has made it crystal clear to United States that any effort to give "so-called stabilization role" to India is simply not acceptable, adding that we have categorically told the U.S. that India is the reason behind instability in South Asia.

Asked if the Indian side was excited or nervous about the offer, which he first made in a speech in Washington DC, Tillerson said, "Yes, but I would be the first to acknowledge it is a new approach as well, and I think that we've had a - the United States has had positive relations with India for 70 years but it's never quite moved to that next level.From time to time, the other side has taken a step back from the relationship for their own reasons".

China once again came out on Thursday in defence of Pakistan against criticism by India and the United States for not doing enough to wipe out terrorist outfits from the country and praised Islamabad's efforts in combatting terrorism. "Terrorist attacks are not planned on or executed from Pakistani soil, there are no terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, and we made this clear to the U.S. delegation", Asif said, insisting that the Pakistani leadership firmly holds on to the stance that it is not protecting or supporting the Haqqani network.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday, while briefing the Upper House of Parliament regarding talks held with the visiting high-level USA delegation a day earlier, said that the USA dignitaries were informed that Pakistan did not need any financial assistance or material gains from Washington but a relationship based on equality.

The minister claimed that almost 45 per cent of Afghanistan's territory was under Daesh's control, adding that terrorists would not need Pakistan for their hideouts as they have ample space available in Afghanistan.

But Mr Asif blamed the "ineptitude" of American and global forces in Afghanistan for not ending the conflict. The US has been told that Pakistan was ready to play its due role for finding a political solution to Afghan crisis as military was no solution to the problem.

"The role of these countries in solving the dispute is indispensable", Asif added. "Their failures over the past 16 years in Afghanistan is before them".

Asif said Pakistan was not a superpower but a nation that has sacrificed its people during the fight against terrorism.

Tillerson, who had flown in from Pakistan, told Islamabad that it must step up its efforts to eliminate militants and terrorist havens operating within the country. He said that normal security given to Tillerson during his visit to Pakistan reflects we have restored peace after rendering numerous sacrifices which the USA should acknowledge.

"They do not need our territory anymore". The foreign minister added Pakistan had agreed on reconciliation in the past but it was to no avail.

He also dismissed the possibility of economic sanctions being levelled against Pakistan by the USA if his country is not deemed to be "doing enough" to tackle the Taliban.

"We do not get any military hardware from them".

"The Haqqani network is on the top of the list but none of the militants are Pakistanis", Asif told senators.



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