RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa received two telephone calls from Commander US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Joseph L. Votel and one from a US Senator over the week to discuss Pak-US security cooperation post the President Trump tweet.
General Joseph L. Votel apprised COAS about the US decision regarding Security Assistance and Coalition Support Fund. The General said that US values Pakistan’s role towards war on terror and expected that on-going turbulence remains a temporary phase.
He also conveyed COAS that US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in US view, use Pakistan’s soil against Afghanistan.
This view, he felt, was undermining in Washington, Pakistan’s contributions in war against terrorism. COAS said that entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over US recent statements despite decades of cooperation. Accordingly unanimous national response reflected the same sentiments.
COAS said that Pakistan shall continue its sincere counter terrorism efforts even without US financial support in accordance with our national interest and shall remain committed to bring it to its logical conclusion along with other stake holders. COAS said that Pakistan has suffered hugely due to great power contestation in the region.
He said that Pakistan is fully aware of US concerns on activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and we are already undertaking multiple actions through Operation ‘Radd ul Fasaad’ to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan Refugees is an essential prerequisite. Pakistan is also strengthening border controls unilaterally but if Afghanistan genuinely feels affected from Pakistan, bilateral border management must be Kabul’s top priority as well.
COAS reiterated that Pakistan will not seek resumption of aid but expect honourable recognition of our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism for peace and stability in the region. COAS further said that Pakistan will keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan despite the tendency to scapegoat Pakistan, as peace in Afghanistan is the only way to move towards enduring peace and stability in the region.
General Joseph L. Votel acknowledged the effectiveness of some of the recent actions taken by Pakistan to ensure that Pakistan’s hospitality to Afghan Refugees is not misused in anyway. General Joseph L. Votel agreed that both countries stand to gain from cooperative engagement.