Islamabad (November 7, 2017):Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday claimed that Pakistan has neither been diplomatically isolated nor has its position weakened following US President Donald Trump’s speech outlining the country’s policy on South Asia.
“It was being assumed that Pakistan would become internationally isolated following the US president’s speech,” he said while speaking in Senate.
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“On the contrary, diplomatic support for Pakistan grew after that speech,” he added.
“On the diplomatic front, our position is far better than what it was earlier. We’re neither diplomatically isolated, nor weak.”
“An incorrect impression was created that our support in the region was affected following Trump’s speech,” said the foreign minister while addressing the Senate.The State minister Talal Choudhry went ahead to say that prior to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) notification, its tougher predecessor — Heart of Asia — was signed by Pakistan.
Last month, the US president censured Pakistan in his policy speech for sheltering the Afghan Taliban and other terrorist groups – an allegation strongly denied by Islamabad.
There was a lighter moment during the Senate session when Asif mentioned the name of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani sarcastically noted that “he [Tillerson] is in paradise”, referring to the recently released Paradise Papers which disclosed that the US official had an offshore firm.The foreign minister responded that many other close aides of Trump too were in “paradise”.
“Who doesn’t want to go to paradise?” he joked. “Many Pakistanis are also there.”
Earlier, Asif said that the role of US in ending the conflict between India and Pakistan is welcomed.
Addressing a session at the Pakistan-US dialogue, Asif had said Pakistan has long-standing ties with the US. But, he added, they have reservations over the new US policy that blames Pakistan for instability in the region, including Afghanistan.
During Asif’s recent visit to the US, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said Pakistan is critical for the long-term stability of South Asia.“Not just Afghanistan, but it is the importance of Pakistan and Pakistan’s long-term stability as well,” he remarked while speaking about US’s policy towards South Asia.
Tiller was quoted as saying that Pakistan’s relation with the US is “extraordinarily important”.
The bilateral visits of Pakistani and American diplomats were scheduled during the visit of PM Abbasi to the US.
Trump, in his speech announcing the revised US approach to Afghan war, had accused Pakistan of providing “safe haven” to militants, angering the ruling party and the opposition alike.