Only ISI can comment over Osama issue: Dr. Faisal

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal on Thursday said that relations between Pakistan and the United States “have returned to normal” following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington.

“Relations between Pakistan and the US have been reestablished,” he said in a weekly press briefing, hours after the premier’s return from the US. “Even the American [government] did not use ‘do more’.”

In reply to a question regarding the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) role in the capturing of Osama bin Laden by the US, Dr Faisal said it was only the “initial lead” which Pakistan had provided. “I am neither confirming nor denying,” he said, when pressed on the topic, adding only the ISI could comment on this.

Prime Minister Imran, during an interview to Fox News earlier this week, had said: “It was the ISI which gave the information which led to the location of Osama bin Laden. If you ask CIA, it was the ISI which gave the initial location through the phone connection.”

Dr Faisal, in his press briefing today, also said that US President Donald Trump had accepted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invitation to visit Pakistan.

The Foreign Office spokesperson further said that the US, as well as the rest of the world, has acknowledged Pakistan’s role as a mediator in the ongoing Afghan peace talks.

He admitted that both countries will follow their own interests while moving forward.

Referring to President Trump’s offer to act as a mediator between Pakistan and India to help solve the Kashmir dispute, Dr Faisal said that India was “not ready to talk”. “The only way forward is to [solve issues] through talks. I wish India would understand this; maybe it will if Trump mediates,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said.

He condemned the atrocities committed by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and said that New Delhi “will have to take a mature approach to [resolve] the dispute”.