Pakistan-US ties on hold for evaluation



Islamabad: Pakistan's ties with the United States remain on hold following a NATO cross-border air attack, the country's foreign minister said, and Washington should not push Islamabad to go after militant groups or bring them to the Afghan peace process.

"Now that the re-evaluation process is underway as we speak, so till the time that that re-evaluation process in not complete, we cannot start the re-engagement," Hina Rabbani Khar said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.

Islamabad: Pakistan's ties with the United States remain on hold following a NATO cross-border air attack, the country's foreign minister said, and Washington should not push Islamabad to go after militant groups or bring them to the Afghan peace process.

"Now that the re-evaluation process is underway as we speak, so till the time that that re-evaluation process in not complete, we cannot start the re-engagement," Hina Rabbani Khar said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.

Earlier, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, blamed a deadly bombing at the American embassy in Kabul on the Haqqani network, which has long ties to al Qaeda, and said it acts as a "veritable arm" of Pakistani intelligence.

Pakistan argues that the United States needs to be patient and gain a greater understanding of the region's complexities before acting, and that pressure would only hurt efforts to pacify Afghanistan.

"'Push' is never wise. I think that every country must be allowed to develop their own strategy and their own timing," said a confident Khar, wearing a traditional head scarf and a colourful shawl.

Khar stressed that another incursion by NATO or the United States would be harmful.

"What is unacceptable to Pakistan is to have any troops on the ground. What is unacceptable to Pakistan is not to respect the inviolability of our borders," she said.

"All of these things make it more difficult for us to be an effective partner."

Khar did strike a positive note, stressing the long partnership was vital for the two countries.

"I think this will also give us the ability, if we play it right, to strengthen the partnership and to make it much, much more effective," she said.

"Let me categorically say that we consider our relations and our relationship with the US to be an extremely important one."

Bureau Report