US informed India before announcing its Pak decision

Facing US ire on terror related ineffective measures, Pakistan Foreign Office has been reacting through multiple means. Friday witnessed release of a statement on the “Special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom” while its spokesperson suggested the “suspension of security assistance would only serve to dent the US interests.”

Meanwhile a report says that US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster met Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar hours before the Washington’s announcement of its decision to suspend security aid and military equipment to Pakistan.

The US official has reportedly told that Washington’s decision was also based on Palkistan’s failure to crack down on Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and chief and 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed. Sources in New Delhi believe that this is “shift” from Washington’s earlier position when it used to exert pressure on Pakistan about Taliban and Haqqani terror group.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office statement issued on Friday said, that it “rejects the US designation of Pakistan in the ”Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom.” The report is not based on objective criteria. “This placement on special watch list is a “new categorization” and we would be seeking clarification from the US regarding its rationale and implications” it added.

It reminded of Pakistan’s significant achievements in the area of human rights. It said, “Pakistan is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights including the right of religious freedom, under its Constitution.”

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif, in one of his video address uploaded on his twitter account, expressed the pain of his country becoming US proxy and the implications:

Meanwhile, according to Dawn, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson of the Foreign Office in Islamabad said on Friday that suspension of security assistance would only serve to dent the US interests. He said, “We are engaged with the US administration on the issue of security cooperation and await further details. Impact of US decision on pursuit of common objectives is also likely to emerge more clearly in due course of time.”

He further said, “We are determined to continue to do all it takes to secure the lives of our citizens and broader stability in the region.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson warned that emergence of new and more deadly groups such as Daesh in Afghanistan call for enhancing international cooperation. “Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats,” the spokesman said.

Islamabad has also sent out a grim reminder to the Trump administration that Pakistan alone could not be responsible for peace in the region, and Kabul too had a role to play. He said, “Our efforts towards peace are awaiting reciprocal actions from the Afghan side in terms of clearance of vast stretches of ungoverned spaces on the Afghan side, bilateral border management, repatriation of Afghan refugees, controlling poppy cultivation, drug trafficking and initiating Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political reconciliation in Afghanistan.”

He clarified  to the Trump administration that “If Pakistan today sees significant improvement in security achieved through a series of major counter-terrorism operations resulting in elimination of organized terrorist presence, then this has also directly served US national interests as well as the larger interests of international community”.

The spokesman added, “It has helped decimate al-Qaeda and fight other groups who took advantage of ungoverned spaces, a long porous border and posed a common threat to peace.”

Meanwhile, DG Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor on Friday said suspension of US aid to Pakistan would impact bilateral security cooperation between the two nations and regional peace.

While talking to VOA, General Ghafoor has reportedly said : “Suspension of security assistance will not affect Pakistan’s resolve to fight terrorism; however, it for sure will have an impact on Pakistan-US security cooperation and efforts towards regional peace.”

Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser H.R McMaster has told the Voice of America (VoA) that “Pakistan is a country with tremendous potential — human potential, economic potential….We have to really begin now to work together to stabilise Afghanistan.”