Ahsan Iqbal warns US over bullying tactics

  • Interior minister says 'Any unilateral action in Pakistan would be a red line for Pakistan'

WASHINGTON – Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan wanted to build ties with the US on mutual trust and respect, but efforts to coerce Pakistan will be counterproductive.

Iqbal stated this during an interview to CNN’s Hannah Vaughan Jones on Tuesday night, adding that unilateral operations on Pakistan’s territory would harm the bilateral ties.

“Any effort to try to bully […] or coerce Pakistan will be counterproductive,” the minister said, adding that threatening Islamabad would be taken as a detrimental move on the part of the US. He clarified that any attack or conspiracy against Pakistan will end the same.

He said, “Any unilateral action in Pakistan would be a red line for Pakistan … We want to have [a] friendship which is based on mutual trust and respect.”

Talking about US aid, the interior minister said that Pakistan desired trade ties with the ally instead of aid. Whatever monetary aid the US has offered was nothing extraordinary.

Pakistan ready to work for peace in collaboration with world powers, he said, and reiterated that the Afghanistan issue could only be resolved through political negotiations. He further said that the US wanted to put the burden of its failure on the US.

“To have the final outcome in Afghanistan, to have peace and stability, we need to follow a comprehensive approach,” he said.

“We need to have [a] military option but also a political option … Both Afghanistan and Pakistan’s legitimate security concerns and interests must be incorporated in the approach that we follow in that region (South Asia).”

Iqbal underlined that both countries –US and Pakistan – need to work together for establishing peace in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has sacrificed over 60,000 lives and its economy suffered losses of $25 billion during the war on terror.