Pakistan critical for South Asian stability: Tillerson



US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, after meeting Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday, said Pakistan is critical for the long-term stability of South Asia.
“Not just Afghanistan, but it is the importance of Pakistan and Pakistan’s long-term stability as well,” he remarked while speaking about US’s policy towards South Asia.
“We want Pakistan’s government to be stable, peaceful.. many of the same issues they are struggling inside Pakistan are our issues. So we think there is an opportunity to strengthen that relationship.”
Pakistan’s relation with the US is “extraordinarily important”, he said.
Earlier in his address, Tillerson had remarked: “Our approach to South Asia, specifically Afghanistan, is building relations with India and Pakistan to stamp out terrorism and support the Afghan government in providing security for their home people.”
He also remarked that the fate of Daesh is on the “brink of extinguishing” due to US President Donald Trump’s policy. Tillerson added, “there is much to be done, we are just getting started.”
Agencies add: Khawaja Asif raised the issue of United States’s South Asia Policy with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and told him that Islamabad has pursued a zero-tolerance and indiscriminate approach in its campaign against “all terrorist and militant groups”, read a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Wednesday. Pakistan and the US shared a common desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region at large, the foreign minister maintained.
The minister pointed out that Pakistan has been making achievements in its war against terrorism. “In contrast to other countries, the incidences of terrorism in Pakistan has seen a marked decline — with a salutary impact on economic and commercial activity,” Asif was quoted as saying.
“This was made possible because Pakistan has pursued a zero-tolerance and indiscriminate approach in its campaign against all terrorist and militant groups.”
The foreign minister informed the US Secretary of State about the strong public reaction in Pakistan regarding the pronouncement of the US Administration’s South Asia Policy, which Asif said was based on “inadequate recognition of Pakistan’s sterling contribution in the fight against terrorism.” In addition to huge human and material cost incurred by Pakistan, Asif said, “Our cultural ethos as a moderate state had suffered due to protracted instability in Afghanistan.”

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