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Pak-US relations not defined by Afghan conflict only: Pakistani PM

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbas

The Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said the relations between Islamabad and Washington are not defined by conflict in Afghanistan only as he is optimistic to restore the relations which have been strained due to the presence of the terrorist groups and their sanctuaries in the country.

Speaking at Washington’s Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Wednesday, Abbasi said the relations between the two countries have been strong since seventy years, emphasizing that Pakistan intends to remain engaged and partner with the US in order to defeat terror in the region and find lasting peace in Afghanistan.

The remarks by Abbasi came as Islamabad is under intense pressure from the United States since the announcement of the new US strategy last month as Washington strongly criticized the country for harboring the terrorist groups, specifically the Taliban and Haqqani network, accused in major terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, including some of the deadly raids on US forces in Afghanistan.

However, Abbasi rejected the assertions by Washington and President Donald Trump, saying “nobody wants peace more in Afghanistan than Pakistan”.

The US President Donald Trump strongly criticized Pakistan regarding the terror sanctuaries as he was unveiling the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

He said “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror.  The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict.  And that could happen.”

In his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, President Trump said “It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like Al Qaida, Hezbollah, the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.” -KP

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