`Not in Pak to push for N Waziristan offensive`

Last Updated: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 14:26

Islamabad: Against the backdrop of reports of mounting US pressure on Pakistan for action against terror safe havens in North Waziristan, a top US diplomat has said his ongoing visit to Islamabad was not aimed at pushing it to launch a military offensive in the restive tribal region.

"No, I am here to continue the conversation we have been having with Pakistani leaders over the past several months," Marc Grossman, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said during a talk show on the state-run Pakistan Television.

His comments came when he was asked if his visit was aimed at pushing Pakistan to carry out a military operation in North Waziristan.

"On (the) particular question of a North Waziristan (offensive) or any other question, that is the decision for the Government of Pakistan and solely for the Government of Pakistan," Grossman said.

He, however, declined to comment on the issue of US drone strikes, saying "it is not a topic of conversation for me."

"What I would like to say is that Pakistanis and Americans can stand up together and declare the end of al-Qaeda in this region. That would be a great joint strategic effort and that I hope will come soon," Grossman said, adding the relationship between the two countries was "certainly back on track if you compare it with last year."

Grossman, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit, also met Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, but there was no official word on whether the issue of launching a military offensive in North Waziristan was discussed.

The Foreign Office had earlier said that a proposed military operation in North Waziristan could figure in the discussions.

The US had been pressuring Pakistan to crack down on militants in North Waziristan, which it has described as a safe haven for Taliban and al-Qaeda elements.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012 - 14:25

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