Pakistan must take decisive action against terror groups: US


Washington,
The Trump administration has communicated to Pakistan that it must take “decisive” action against terrorist groups and dismantle their safe havens on its soil, a State Department official said on Friday as

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wrapped up his maiden South Asia visit.

“We have communicated our expectations to Pakistan numerous times that they must take decisive action against terrorist groups based within their own borders,” State Department spokesperson Heather

Nauert told PTI, a day after Tillerson concluded his maiden trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

At a news conference in Geneva, his last stop on the current foreign travel, Tillerson said the US had “a very healthy exchange of information on terrorists, which is what we really hope to achieve with

Pakistan”.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in a meeting on Thursday with National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs said Pakistan would neither surrender to the US nor compromise on its

sovereignty.

Asif claimed that no specific “wishlist” had been given to Pakistan by the US.

The US has given a list of 75 wanted terrorists and pressed Islamabad for going tough on Haqqani network.

Responding to a question on Asif’s comments, the State Department spokesperson said Tillerson on his trip has put the US’ “expectations” in front of the leadership of Pakistan.

The spokesperson said Tillerson during his visit to Pakistan told its leadership that America wanted to work with Pakistan in a “positive way” because it is also in Islamabad’s interest in long-term.

Tillerson told reporters in Geneva that he would not characterise his direct discussions with the Pakistani leadership as lecturing at all.

“It was a very good and open exchange. In fact, we probably listened 80 per cent of the time and we talked 20 per cent. And it was important to me, because I have not engaged with Pakistani leadership

previously. And, so my objective was to listen a lot, to hear their perspective,” he said.

“We put our points forward. We put our expectations forward in no uncertain terms. There has been significant engagement prior to my visit, and there will be further engagement in the future, as we work

through how we want to exchange information and achieve the objective of eliminating these terrorist organisations, wherever they may be located,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson described his communication with the Pakistani leadership as very frank and very candid.

“We had the joint meeting with Prime Minister Abbasi and the full leadership team. And then I had a second meeting with Army General Bajwa and a couple of his close advisers, so we could have a more

thorough discussion about some of the specifics,” he said, adding that he thought it was a very open, candid and frank exchange.

“There’s nothing to be achieved by lecturing, but we should be very clear about expectations and what we’re asking. And either people will step up and meet those expectations or they won’t. We are going to

chart our course consistent with what Pakistan not just says they do but what they actually do,” Tillerson said.

Noting that the future course of action would be based on conditions on the ground, he said the entire South Asia strategy is a conditions-based strategy.

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