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The National Security Council (NSC) instituted a working committee to finalize new rules of engagement with the US after that country slammed and threatened Pakistan for its alleged support to terrorists. A statement released by the Prime Minister Office gave out details of the meeting.“Trump policy on South Asia was also discussed.

The US’ leverage over Pakistan is ever-reducing but this must compel both countries to iron out their differences. Healthy Pak-US ties are indispensable for the region

The committee decided to set up an interagency subcommittee to make specific proposals for consideration at the next meeting of the NSC,” the statement read.

This is the second NSC meeting after Trump’s diatribes against Pakistan and the subsequent threats by Rex Tillerson and General Nicholson. Both high officials have hinted at targeting places inside Pakistan with Nicholson alluding to the alleged Quetta and Peshawar Shuras.

Read more: Nuclear weapons have made “demolishing” Pakistan a difficult task: Prof Stephen Cohen

In its last meeting, the NSC rejected all allegations leveled by President Trump last week. The NSC, while reaffirming the country’s support for an amicable solution to the Afghan issue said that it will keep its national interests at the forefront. Besides, the committee called upon the US to take action against anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan.

The oft-repeated demand of eliminating terrorists inimical to Islamabad from the Afghan soil. A concerted response will permeate into an effective policy for Pakistan against US onslaught

The sub-committee will take into account inputs from the upcoming Envoy Conference; the recommendations from the Senate and the National Assembly before crafting a new strategy to deal with new fissures in its ties with the US.

A concerted response from the civilian and military leaderships needs to be translated into a strategy. As pressure mounts on Islamabad, a calculated, coordinated and robust response has to be given. The NSC further reviewed the Armed Forces Development Plan and decided “to keep a robust defense posture to ensure national security in a challenging environment”. This was done amid likely escalations on the Eastern and Western borders.

Read more: “Pakistan will not be bullied” – Lt. Gen. Tariq Khan

Lawmakers speak

The response to the tirade by the US has come from one and all, regardless of political rivalries. The lower house passed a unanimous resolution, which rejected the aforementioned allegations. The resolution was read out by Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif. General Nicholson’s and Trump’s allegations were defenestrated in unison.

Most importantly, the lawmakers called upon the government to formulate strong economic policies to deal with possible US sanctions and aid-cuts

The resolution further repudiated Trump’s claim that billions of dollars in aid have been spent on Pakistan, stating that Pakistan’s economy has suffered a colossal loss of more than $123 billion. The resolution also denounced the utter “disregard of the immense sacrifices” made by Pakistan in the war on terror.

The role of India in Afghanistan was condemned in the resolution. Besides, continuing support for the Kashmiri freedom struggle was also reaffirmed.

Doubts about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were set aside. “As a responsible nuclear weapons state, Pakistan has in place a robust and credible command and control system which has been universally recognized,” the resolution stressed.

Read more: Pakistan suspends talks with the US amid mounting tensions

Pakistan has shown that it can take advantage of geopolitical shifts in the region; by eliciting support from China and Russia it is gearing up to face the gargantuan USA.

Pakistan has shown that it can take advantage of geopolitical shifts in the region; by eliciting support from China and Russia it is gearing up to face the gargantuan USA

The resolution suggested a set of actions that the government should take. They included putting a hold on diplomatic bilateral visits between both countries; denying the US land and air routes; drawing a plan for the return of Afghan refugees. Most importantly, the lawmakers called upon the government to formulate strong economic policies to deal with possible US sanctions and aid-cuts.

Read more: Pakistan suspends talks with the US amid mounting tensions

Pakistan has been losing the war of narratives off-late hence the National Assembly called for robust diplomatic initiatives across the globe to disseminate Pakistan’s meritorious contributions to the fight against terror.

The oft-repeated demand of eliminating terrorists inimical to Islamabad from the Afghan soil. A concerted response will permeate into an effective policy for Pakistan against US onslaught. The US’ leverage over Pakistan is ever-reducing but this must compel both countries to iron out their differences. Healthy Pak-US ties are indispensable for the region.

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