PAKISTAN HAS NOT DECLINED SIGNING PACTS AT SAARC: FOREIGN MINISTER
Mateen HaiderISLAMABAD: Foreign Office (FO) spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam on Thursday refuted Indian media reports which claimed that Pakistan had declined signing three regional cooperation agreements, saying the drafts of those agreements are yet to be finalised.
“The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit is still in progress and we have to wait for the formal conclusion of the summit,” Aslam said during a news briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
Aslam dismissed Indian media reports which stated that Pakistan came off as isolated in the summit. She said Pakistan was playing a leading role, not only in the region but also in preparations of the summit.
The FO spokeswoman declined to comment on Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s statement on the US, saying Pakistan enjoyed a healthy relationship with the United States.
Asif’s statement of Tuesday had drawn questions from several quarters after he said that Pakistan could not regard Washington as a reliable friend.
“The Americans have been our friends for a long time – since the 1960s and the 1970s – but their reliability is relative,” he had told a packed audience at the Institute of Strategic Studies.
“American foreign policy has been disastrous for this region,” he had said, referring to South Asia and the Middle East, adding that, “for all times to come, the geography of this region has been changed”.
Commenting on the American media’s allegations that Robin Raphel was spying for Pakistan, Aslam refuted the reports, saying Raphel is regarded as an expert on Pakistani affairs.
Aslam reiterated Pakistan’s strong opposition to US drone attacks and refused to comment on the recent interview of former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
“Pakistan is against drone strikes,” she said.
In an interview to a BBC show earlier this week, the former president had stated that he had given permission for a US-led drone strike in the tribal areas during his term — an admission he has already made in earlier interviews
NOVEMBER 27, 2014