Pak frontline state in war on terrorism: Ashraf

Ashraf termed Pak a "frontline state" in the war on terrorism but said Islamabad expected its allies to respect the country`s "red lines".

Islamabad: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Wednesday termed Pakistan a "frontline state" in the war on terrorism but said Islamabad expected its allies in this campaign to respect the country`s "red lines".

Ashraf made the remarks during a meeting with outgoing US Ambassador Cameron Munter this evening.

Pakistan was a "frontline state" in the war on terrorism and had suffered more losses than any other country, he said.

However, Pakistan "expected its allies to also respect her red lines", Asharf was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office.

The statement did not give details about the red lines though Pakistan has been urging the US to end its drone campaign and to speed the release of financial aid that was blocked following the killing of Osama bin Laden last year.

Ashraf said Pakistan decided to reopen supply routes for NATO supplies to Afghanistan in the "interest of regional peace and stability in accord with national interests".

Pakistan is "ready to facilitate the transition process in Afghanistan as a responsible member of the international community and a neighbour who stands to directly benefit" from peace in that country, he said.

Ashraf further said Pakistan "supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive peace and reconciliation process" and extended its support to global efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

"Despite our own economic constraints, the government has announced financial assistance for Afghanistan to the tune of 20 million dollars," he said.

Islamabad recently ended a seven-month blockade of the supply lines after the US apologised for a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November.

The NATO attack, the killing of two men by a CIA operative in Lahore and the raid against bin Laden had taken bilateral ties to a new low.

Ashraf referred to "challenges" in bilateral relations and said it was a "matter of satisfaction that things were back on track" following multi-layered engagements between the Pakistani and American leadership.

"We need to look ahead and move forward in building a durable and mutually beneficially partnership between both countries and their peoples based on mutual respect and mutual interest," he said.

Pakistan is looking forward to more US cooperation in energy generation, infrastructure development, water management, agriculture and human development, Ashraf said.

Under the policy of "trade not aid", Pakistan hoped that the US administration would work with Congress for greater market access at a preferential tariff, he added.

Munter said the Pakistan-US relationship was too vital to be left at the "mercy of irritants".


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