ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said on Thursday that Pakistan would defend its territorial integrity and not sacrifice it at any cost expecting the US to accept that as well.
Addressing a news conference following the conclusion of a three-day envoys conference, the minister expressed that Islamabad wanted to stay engaged with the United States as both the countries had a long relationship spanning 70 years.
“They [US] are in a way oblivious to what is happening in the region. We will not accept the scapegoating of the Pakistani nation.” he assured.
Claiming that the people in Washington lacked comprehension of facts, the minister expressed that the consultations should continue as ‘we are friends’.
Asif, who would be heading to China today maintained that the present situation in the region and the world as a whole was changing rapidly.
“We have not seen such major geopolitcal changes since the Second World War” Asif noted.
He stressed the need for taking a pragmatic view of the current situation adding that the world’s perception when it comes to Pakistan needs to be corrected.
“We are the only country in the world which is winning the war on terror, and we will continue winning it,” said Asif while describing Pakistan’s performance in the war against terrorirm.
The foreign minister also said that coalition forces in Afghanistan numbered more than 100,000 but could not achieve the same level of success.
“If more than 100,000 soldiers from 16 countries could not succeed [in Afghanistan], we should not be blamed,” he said.
Referring to the 16-year long Afghan conflict, the legislator claimed that the war can only be won through Pakistan’s cooperation.
“We will further Pakistan’s narrative through our envoys in other countries and the Pakistani diaspora should also do the same.” he added.
He added that Pak-India relations have been reviewed in the context of the situation in occupied Kashmir.
“Many friendly relations have supported us, including China and Turkey. We have reviewed relations with all countries and have decided to cement ties with those with whom our relations are not that good.”
He said a new paradigm, keeping in view our internal and external situation, will be formed.
:The prime minister has also advised it and it will be presented in both Houses of Parliament for review” said Asif and announced visiting Iran as well.
The foreign minister also said that Pakistan has had two policies regarding Afghanistan, one which was developed in the ‘80s and the other which came about after 9/11.
Regarding the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, he said a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Countries is being held in Astana in the next few days during which the issue will be raised.
“This matter will be raised forcefully and we will come forward with an OIC policy on the issue,” he assured.
In response to the recent 9th BRICS Summit declaration in which Pakistan-based militant groups were mentioned alongside others, he said “China has issued a clarification today and the same words were used in Pakistan’s presence during the last Heart of Asia conference.”
He added that India wanted to make the resolution Pakistan-centric but China blocked the bid.
Referring to Russia, Asif said the country plays a vital role in the region and they have continuously improved their relations with regional countries.
“Russia can further improve its relations in the region as it is deeply affected by what happens here [region].”
When asked about relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia, Asif said “we pray that our brothers [Iran and KSA] improve their relations.”
If Pakistan can play a role in this matter, we will do what ever is required to bring these two brother relations together, he stated.
Khawaja Asif went on and expressed that Pakistan had identified the problem regarding militancy and now it was the time for treatment.
“The situation is much better than what it was four years ago and it will improve further. We have sacrificed a lot, our soldiers and civilians have both paid the price for this victory,” he said.
Regarding Abdul basit’s scathing letter to Aizaz Chuadhry, Asif said the grievances were personal and should not have been brought to the media.