Pakistan has suspended official visits and talks with the US to protest against President Donald Trump’s criticism of Islamabad for providing safe havens to militants, a media report said on Tuesday. It was disclosed by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Monday in the Senate, which converted itself into a committee to discuss the deteriorating relations with the US.
Asif told the Senators that Pakistan had suspended talks and bilateral visits as a mark of protest, Dawn quoted sources as saying. US Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells was supposed to arrive in Islamabad on Tuesday, while the foreign minister himself was to travel to the US last week.
About the recently unveiled policy of the US president on South Asia, Asif said it envisaged no military role for India in Afghanistan. According to the sources, the minister said it was rather a role of economic development.
He claimed during the in-camera session of the committee that India would not be allowed to use Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan. The members also asked the government to share a fact-sheet on US assistance received after 9/11 and the financial loss incurred by the country as a frontline state against the war on terror.
Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua informed the house that a meeting of Pakistan’s envoys had been convened from September 5 to 7 to chalk out a strategy after announcement of the new US policy on South Asia.
It was decided that the committee will meet again to fine-tune policy guidelines in the light of emerging realities and the role of the US. The policy guidelines will be given shape of a resolution which is most likely to be passed by the Senate on Wednesday.
Before the foreign minister made a request to declare the proceedings in-camera, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani reminded him of his proposal for a joint session of parliament made in the presence of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
He said that if a resolution passed separately by the Senate was sent to the National Assembly, it would be sitting in judgement on a document of the other house.
He said it would also not send a good message if both the houses passed different resolutions.
The foreign minister, however, said the National Assembly might endorse the resolution passed by the Senate or slightly alter it.