Pak media claims end of the crisis that triggered after Trump’s tweet
After weeks of threatening and cautioning Pakistan asking to destroy terrorists’ “havens” in its territory, US administration has undertaken its first diplomatic engagement with Islamabad by sending Ambassador Alice Wells, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
Dawn report claimed that engagement between Pakistan and the US after mini-crisis created by President Donald Trump’s tweet ended with Washington renewing its demand for Islamabad to clear its territory of “externally focused terrorists”. She was in Islamabad for two days.
The US embassy in Islamabad, in its statement said, “Ambassador [Alice] Wells urged the government of Pakistan to address the continuing presence of the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups within its territory.”
The US embassy confirmed her meetings with the foreign secretary, Miftah Ismail, the adviser on finance, and National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Nasser Khan Janjua.
The report further said that it was perhaps one of the rare visits during which a US official did not visit the General Headquarters for a meeting with the military leadership — at least there was no publicly known interaction during the trip.
The daily says that her visit followed the US military’s outreach to Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa to contain the damage caused by the Trump tweet which accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit”. Alice Wells has served as US Ambassador to Jordan from July 2014 to January 2017.
On January 13, Pakistani media reported that US Centcom Commander Gen Joseph Votel had a telephonic conversation with Pakistan’s army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and assured that no unilateral action is being planned on its territory.
During her meetings with Pakistani officials in her two day Islamabad visit, Ambassador Alice Wells conveyed that the US wanted to shift to a “new relationship with Pakistan” based on “mutual interest”.
She suggested to Pakistani that enhanced intelligence cooperation, especially in counter-terrorism cooperation, could provide the basis for improvement in ties. On their part, Pakistani officials also expressed their desire for a continuation of the ties with mutual trust and respect.
Before leaving for Washington on Tuesday, Ambassador Alice told journalists, “There can be no good or bad terrorists.”
Describing her tone during the meeting with the selected journalists on Tuesday morning, the Dawn reports that she tried to tone down the shrillness prevalent in US-Pakistan relations by speaking in a gentle tone about the long and shared history of the two states.
She also spoke of US funded projects in Pakistan, how the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) was deeply in the US’ interest, of effective partnerships and “professional and constructive meetings” that she held a day earlier.
The report further said that Ambassador Alice calm tone was a world apart from the Twitter diplomacy that has dominated headlines so far this year.
The US diplomat told Pakistan that they oppose any effort to foment separatism inside Pakistan. “We do not support Balochi (sic) separatism,” she added. US would not support the use of Afghan soil as a base for hostile acts against Pakistan, she assured.
She praised Islamabad’s “extraordinary” fight against the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and Jamaatul Arhar and asserted that US wanted similar efforts against groups trying to destabilise Afghanistan.