US unilateral operations in Pak a ‘red line’ for bilateral relations: Ahsan Iqbal

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WASHINGTON : The United States’ unilateral operations in Pakistan would be a “red line” for the nations’ bilateral relations, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Tuesday night in an interview to CNN, warning its ally to refrain from bullying tactics.

Iqbal reiterated that the people of Pakistan “are dignified” and that the country desires friendship with the US “based on mutual trust and respect”.

“Any effort to try to bully or coerce Pakistan will be counterproductive,” the minister stressed, adding that intimidating, threatening or forcing Islamabad would be a detrimental move on the part of the US.

Iqbal explained that Pakistan does not want financial assistance but desires trade and developmental partnerships. Whatever monetary aid the US has offered was nothing extraordinary.

Any attack on or conspiracy against Pakistan’s interests, however, will be responded to accordingly, Iqbal warned.

He further stated that Islamabad is ready to work for peace in collaboration with global fraternity and desires linkages with the US based on mutual respect.

The interior minister noted that the Afghanistan peace issue requires not just a military solution but a political one as well. He mentioned that the US keeps putting the onus of its failures in Afghanistan on Pakistan.

“To have the final outcome in Afghanistan, to have peace and stability, we need to follow a comprehensive approach,” he said.

“We need to have a military option but also a political option. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan’s legitimate security concerns and interests must be incorporated in the approach that we follow in that region.”

It is necessary for the US and Pakistan to work together for peace efforts in Afghanistan, Iqbal underscored, but Washington needs to change the way it looks at South Asia, especially Afghanistan.

“Any unilateral action in Pakistan would be a red line for Pakistan. We want to have a friendship which is based on mutual trust and respect.”

Answering a question about Pakistan, US relations, he said that US needs to see these relations from its own independent perspective and not through prism of India.

Interior Minister said that no country in the world has rendered as much sacrifices and made contributions more than Pakistan in the fight against terrorism in the recent past. He said that we lost more than 60,000 people and the country incurred more than $25 billion loss in war against terror

Nonetheless, Pakistan has fought and will keep waging the war against terrorism not for the US or its financial assistance but for the safety and security of Pakistanis. He said that we are the first country that faces the cost of instability and we are the first country that gets dividend of peace in Afghanistan.

Orignally published by INP