Pakistan rejects United States demand for joint operation on its soil

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa today chaired a high-level meeting of top military officers and discussed the regional security situation with reference to Afghanistan, officials said.

Responding to a longtime USA demand for action against the powerful Haqqani network in the country, Abbasi reiterated that there are no safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan, the statement said.

The officials have reportedly offered the support during a meeting with the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis during his visit to Islamabad.

Abbasi, for his part, underlined the need for a broad based engagement to strengthen partnership and enhance cooperation between the two countries, adding that no other country benefits more from peace and stability in Afghanistan than Pakistan.

He said that the U.S. had assured Pakistan that there will be no military intervention by India in Afghanistan.

His visit to Pakistan comes days after the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed was released from house arrest.

Pakistani officials have pushed back on the United States accusations and say they have done a great deal to help the United States in tracking down militants. The defence secretary also met Army chief Bajwa at the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi. USA officials say they will not be able to assess if Pakistan has made progress and fulfilled its promises to prevent the Haqqanis from crossing into Afghanistan until then.

Secondly, Washington has been told to play its role in the return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan, a step that would ensure no militants can hide in the garb of refugees on the Pakistani soil.

While there may not be any free lunches in this world, Pakistan continues to nearly rever China - a fact underlined by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday when he said the focus of Pakistan's foreign policy must shift away from the USA and onto China. However sources said the Pakistani leadership ruled out the possibility of the same.

When asked about United States efforts to push Pakistan to clear safe havens, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo suggested Washington was prepared to move if its ally failed to act.

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