ISLAMABAD: Fed-up with listening ‘Do More’ mantra and threatening languages from the United States, Pakistan military’s top brass has decided to talk to Trump administration on ‘one to one’ subject basis. According to informed sources, the overall Pak US relations and regional situation were discussed in detail at the 208th Corps Commander’s Conference (CCC) was held here at the General Headquarters and chaired by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Bajwa on Wednesday.
The sources said that it was decided to extend cooperation with the United States and at the same time reassured the nation that there would be no compromise on national interest while doing so.“National interest shall be kept at premium while cooperating with all other stakeholders for regional peace and stability,” the corps commanders resolved at their monthly meeting chaired by Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa at the General Headquarters. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement that the meeting reviewed the “geo-strategic and security environment” in the context of US policy towards the region.
Tensions between Islamabad and Washington intensified after the announcement of the Trump administration’s strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan, which was very critical of Pakistan for its alleged inaction against terrorist Pak military top brass decides to extend cooperation with US WASHINGTON: Expressing disappointment of Trump administration, the US State Department has informed Congress that the Trump administration’s decision to suspend its security assistance to Pakistan has so far failed to achieve its objective: forcing Islamabad to change its policies.
Pakistan dominated part of Tuesday’s hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the administration’s new South Asia strategy, as both US officials and lawmakers acknowledged that Islamabad had a key role in bringing peace to Afghanistan. The committee’s Republican chairman, Senator Robert Corker, brought Pakistan into the discussion in his opening remarks, praising the Trump administration’s Jan 4 decision to suspend US security aid to Pakistan.
“This administration has also rightly drawn a clear line with Pakistan, suspending security assistance of over a billion as long as Islamabad continues to shelter Haqqani, and other terror groups that target innocent civilians, as well as US and allied forces,” he said. “There certainly hasn’t been any change that we would consider final and irrevocable,” said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, one of the two senior US officials who represented the administration at the hearing. “They have engaged in discussions with us, but there hasn’t been a sufficient amount of action yet such that we would be lifting that suspension of security assistance.”
Asked if the Pakistanis knew what the US expected from them, Mr Sullivan said: “They understand what we expect, our suspension of security assistance continues until we see more evidence that they are in fact taking action”. Randall G. Schriver Assistant Secretary, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, US Department of Defence, however, told the committee that Washington believes Pakistan was not just an important partner but “they’re absolutely key to our strategy succeeding”. “Decision of aid suspension failed sofar to achieve objective, forcing Islamabad to change its policy of harbouring Haqqani Network”: US officials US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan sanctuaries used for sustaining the insurgency in Afghanistan. A bilateral engagement process started afterwards to find a common ground, but the National Security Strategy document unveiled by US President Donald Trump in his new year day tweet and suspension of security aid left little doubt that the extensive Pak-US talks had failed to resolve the differences. According to media reports, almost at the same time as suspension of security aid, Pentagon quietly opened another channel with the GHQ over the problems in security cooperation.
The GHQ later shared broader sense of conversations with Centcom Comman¬der Gen Joseph Votel and an unnamed American senator. The three key messages conveyed by the Centcom chief, during the initial communication, were that the problems in ties were temporary; there would be no unilateral action against Pakistan, and that the US did not want a disruption in ties rather it wanted cooperation from Islamabad on areas of its concern. Senior diplomatic sources reveal that the contacts between the GHQ and Pentagon have continued away from the prying eyes of media. The message from the corps commanders meeting, therefore, looks to be designed in a way to dismiss any misgivings about the engagement being conducted with the US. The ISPR further said that the commanders reaffirmed their commitment to consolidate the gains of the successive counter-terrorism operations.
At the same time it stressed that not only Pakistan would benefit from the improvement in the security situation due to the counter-terrorism operations but the region as whole would also benefit. Ceasefire violations The meeting also discussed Indian ceasefire violations and noted that the breaches were detrimental to peace. Violations by India have continued last year’s pattern when the highest number of violations – 1,881 – was recorded during a year since the understanding on ceasefire went into effect in 2003 resulting in martyrdom of 87 people. Over 200 violations by India have taken place so far this year in which 12 people, including four troops, have lost their lives.
“These or any Indian misadventure shall be responded effectively,” the forum said. The forum reviewed the geo-strategic and security environment especially in the context of US security-related policies for the region, stated a press release issued by Inter Services Public Relations. The forum reiterated that gains of years long counterterrorism efforts shall be consolidated to achieve enduring peace and stability both for Pakistan and the region.