Hina Rabbani hits out at US over Haqqani charges

Khar`s warning came as US Central Command chief arrived in Pakistan for talks with Army chief aimed at easing tensions.

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2011, 23:38 PM IST

Islamabad: With US stepping up its pressure
on Pakistan to act against the ISI "supported and encouraged"
Haqqani terror network, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has
hit out at the US warning it against crossing the "red lines"
and making it a "scapegoat" for failed objectives.

Against the backdrop of US threats of unilateral action
against the Haqqani network, blamed by Obama administration
for a string of attacks in Afghanistan, Khar said Pakistan had
some "red lines" for its ties with the US.

"We have established red lines with them (the US). Those
red lines have to be accepted and followed by every country.

"If any established rules of engagement are broken, then
all doors and options will be opened up," Khar told `Aaj News`
channel in response to a question about the possibility of the
US sending troops into Pakistan.

Khar`s warning came as US Central Command chief Gen James
Mattis arrived in Pakistan for talks with army chief Gen
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani aimed at easing tensions.

Mattis is also expected to press the Pakistani leadership
to act against the Haqqani network.

Ties between Islamabad and Washington plunged to a new low
after US officials stepped up accusations that the ISI was
aiding the Haqqani network, blamed for an attack on the US
Embassy in Kabul last week.

In her defence, Khar pointed to past US support for
mujahideen groups when Afghanistan was occupied by the Soviet
Union and said: "These challenges were not created by us...The
connections and people being talked about, who funded them
many years ago?"

She added: "We will do whatever is in Pakistan`s national
interest. So we are saying if your objectives have not been
achieved, don`t make anyone the scapegoat for it. Don`t level
accusations or put the blame on them".

While acknowledging that Pakistan-US ties were currently
affected by problems, Khar said the US allegations had caused
concern among Pakistanis.

"They have made a recrimination on the state of Pakistan.
There is no question of the state of Pakistan being involved
in any attack whatsoever.

"The state of Pakistan represents 180 million people who
have suffered because of terrorism," she contended.
Khar said Pakistan is serious about resolving the problems
with the US but insisted that diplomacy could not be conducted
through the media and public comments.

Kayani had yesterday said that the US charges were
baseless and part of a "blame game" detrimental to peace in
Afghanistan.

Other Pakistani officials urged the US to present evidence
to back up their allegations.

The Haqqani network is based in Pakistan`s North
Waziristan tribal region along the Afghan border.

The group has historical ties to Pakistan`s intelligence
agencies that date back to the war against the Soviets in
Afghanistan in the 1980s.

A senior Pentagon official had last night said in
Washington that "information has become more available that
these attacks (in Afghanistan) have been supported or
encouraged by the ISI".

PTI