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Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said that Islamabad has suspended talks and bilateral visits with the US in protest to the anti-Pakistan tirade by President Trump while he unveiled the new South Asia policy last week. Well-placed sources said that the foreign minister made these remarks in an in-camera session of the Senate.

US leverage over Pakistan through choking pecuniary benefits is fast-diminishing

Last week, Asif was to travel to the US but the trip was canceled as a sign of consternation over Trump’s remarks. Moreover, US Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice Wells, was to visit Islamabad but the visit was called-off. This adds to tensions between both countries.

Read more: Trump’s Afghan War & his “New Strategy”- Gen. Jehangir Karamat

Pakistan has taken exceptions to all US allegations regarding the deliberate provision of support to terrorists who are fighting against US and Afghan forces. The country’s top security committee while reiterating the narrative about Islamabad’s fight against terrorism, has called upon the US and Afghan authorities to act against anti-Pakistan elements inside Afghanistan. Prime Minister Abbasi and COAS General Bajwa categorically stated that the Afghan war should not spill into Pakistan.

Afghanistan descends into further chaos, Pakistan will be put under more pressure; a new policy has to be formulated to counter the impending troubles

Asif said that the new US policy does not entail a military role for India while adding that Delhi would not be allowed to use Afghan soil to destabilize Pakistan. It is noteworthy that India is already significantly helping Afghanistan in economic, infrastructure and defense affairs, hence Trump’s request is seemingly an invitation to share responsibilities.

The members of the Senate Committee were surprised by Asif’s statement. They sought details of Indian activities inside Afghanistan, raising questions about the number of Indian consulates in Afghanistan.

Read more: ‘Pakistan sixth largest country in the world cannot be ignored by…

Foreign Secretary, Teh­mina Janjua, informed the house that a meeting of Pakistan’s ambassadors had been convened from Sept 5 to 7 to devise a strategy in light of the new US policy on South Asia.

The 6-member Senate Committee is likely to formulate policy guidelines keeping in mind the changing trends in Pak-US ties and geopolitical undercurrents.

A joint front

Khawaja Asif said that Islamabad has suspended talks and bilateral visits with the US in protest to the anti-Pakistan tirade by President Trump while he unveiled the new South Asia policy last week

Pakistan has taken a clear stand amid increasing pressure from the US. Its civilian and military leaders have asserted that the country will reset its engagements in the Afghan theater in-line with its national interests. The top men have expressed to continue lending support to the Afghan peace process but not at the cost of its instability. The most important plank of Pakistan’s new stance is that it has put the ball in the US’ and Afghan courts.

Read more: Of promises, meddling and delusions: the story of Pak-USA ties

Despite mounting threats from the US, Pakistan has held its own; much of it has got to do with the fact that regional players have criticized the new policy. Furthermore, US leverage over Pakistan through choking pecuniary benefits is fast-diminishing. However, as Afghanistan descends into further chaos, Pakistan will be put under more pressure; a new policy has to be formulated to counter the impending troubles.

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