Foreign Ministry says Islamabad ‘will take independent decisions in line with our interests’
ISLAMABAD (AA) – Pakistan will “not take any pressure” from the international community over its future policy on Afghanistan, the country’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Responding to a question during a weekly news briefing, ministry spokesman Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said Islamabad will take “independent decisions” when it comes to recognizing the interim Taliban administration.
His comments came just days after the US accused Pakistan of having a “multiplicity of interests” in Afghanistan and warned that it “needs to line up with a broad majority of the international community” on the issue.
“There is no pressure, and we do not take any pressure. We will take independent decisions in line with our interests,” he asserted.
On recent remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about Washington reassessing relations with Pakistan, Ahmad said the top American diplomat’s words were “surprising.”
“We have noted that the comments were not in line with the close cooperation between Pakistan and the US,” he said.
“This was surprising as Pakistan’s positive role in the Afghan peace process, recent facilitation of the multinational evacuation effort from Afghanistan, and continued support for an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan have been duly acknowledged, including most recently by the US State Department spokesperson in his briefing on Sept. 15.”
The Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed that Islamabad “will not become part of any politics of blocs” on the Afghan issue.
“We believe in open and constructive engagement and partnership with all friendly countries,” Ahmad said, touting Islamabad’s deep strategic ties with China and relations with Russia “marked by growing mutual confidence and cooperation.”
‘Pakistan has multiplicity of interests’
On Monday, Blinken told US lawmakers that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests some that are in conflict with ours.”
“It is one that is involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it’s one that’s involved harboring members of the Taliban … It is one that’s also involved in different points cooperation with us on counterterrorism,” he said during a hearing of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
He called on Pakistan to refrain from extending legitimacy to the Taliban unless they meet international demands.
“Pakistan needs to line up with a broad majority of the international community in working toward those ends and in upholding those expectations,” the top US diplomat said.
In an interview with American news channel CNN, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan termed Blinken’s statement “ignorant.”
He also rejected the possibility of any future alliance with the US in any conflict, asserting that he will not “destroy his country for someone else’s war.”
He said Islamabad wants “a relationship with the US like the relationship it has with India.”
“We do not want a one-dimensional relationship where they are paying us to fight. We want a normal relationship,” Khan said.