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Pakistan International Airlines : rejects 'disappointing' US criticism

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08/23/2017 | 03:37pm CEST

Pakistan yesterday asked the United States to stop relying on the 'false narrative' of 'safe havens' and work with Islamabad to eradicate terrorism.

US President Donald Trump's strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia was discussed in the late night meeting of the federal cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

The meeting was briefed by Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif over Trump's hostile comments about Pakistan.

Sources said Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif told the cabinet that he would forcefully take up Pakistan's case in his upcoming visit to Washington to meet his US counterpart Rex Tillerson.

The cabinet members believed that anti-Pakistan lobby was misguiding President Trump against Pakistan.

Prime Minister Abbasi assured the ministers that his government will never compromise on the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

He directed the foreign minister to carry details of Pakistan's efforts so far against the menace of terrorism and the sacrifices by the people of the country in the recent years.

An official statement issued by the foreign ministry said the cabinet had mandated the prime minister to take up the issue in detail in the meeting of the National Security Committee, already scheduled to be held on August 24, for a comprehensive policy response to Trump's policy.

'Pakistan has taken note of President Trump's statement outlining elements of a new US policy on Afghanistan and South Asia. No country in the world has done more than Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism. No country in the world has suffered more than Pakistan from the scourge of terrorism, often perpetrated from outside our borders. It is, therefore disappointing that the US policy statement ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation in this effort,' it said.

The statement said Pakistan had been and 'will continue to be part of the global counter terrorism efforts.'

It said: 'Pakistan and the United States have been close allies in the fight against terrorism, which is a common threat for all nations of the world. As a matter of policy, Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country. Instead of relying on the false narrative of safe havens, the US needs to work with Pakistan to eradicate terrorism.'

The statement said the threat to peace and security cannot be isolated from the complex interplay of geopolitics, continued existence of festering disputes and pursuit of hegemonic policies. 'Non-resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains the primary obstacle to peace and stability in the region,' it said.

Pakistan reiterated its view that there was no exclusive military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan. 'The military action during the last 17 years has not brought peace to Afghanistan, and it is not likely to do so in the future. Only an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned politically negotiated solution can lead to sustainable peace in Afghanistan,' the statement added.

Pakistan, it said, was committed to working with the international community towards the common objective of defeating the forces of terrorism and to promote peace and stability in the South Asian region.

PIA CEO APPOINTMENT APPROVED

A separate statement released by the Prime Minister's Office said the cabinet approved appointment of Chief Executive Officer of the Pakistan International Airlines for a probationary period of 90 days with a two-year contract.

The cabinet directed the Secretary Aviation Division to ensure submission of a business plan for profitability of PIA within 60 days of the appointment of Chief Executive Officer.

The Cabinet approved increasing and refixing of the number of commissioners in Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan to seven.

Approval was given to exempt from payment of taxes, duties and levies under the grants received from global fund to fight Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The maximum retail prices of life saving drugs were approved and the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination Division was assigned the task to ensure availability of quality life saving drugs within reasonable pricing to the common people in commensurate with the national drug policy.

The cabinet approved the execution and completion of ongoing gas development schemes.

The cabinet also approved initiation of negotiations on Inter-Government Agreement between Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and the government of Nigeria on the Cooperation in the field of oil and gas.

© Pakistan Press International, source Asianet-Pakistan

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