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Pakistan will never become a US proxy, Lower House told

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday said that the United States wanted to make Pakistan its proxy state, adding that Pakistan will, however, never become a proxy of the US.
“The enemy has crossed the ocean and is fomenting conflict in Syria, Afghanistan and other states while leaders of the Muslim World facilitate the enemy,” Kh Asif told the National Assembly, in an apparent reference to the US. “Pakistan is being targeted specifically since it enjoys a leadership status in the Muslim World,” he said in a written reply to the House.
The minister said that everyone knows who is backing the Islamic State, and alleged that leading Muslim countries were facilitating the enemies. “Is there any unity left among the Muslim countries?” he asked.
With regards to the US-led war on terror, he claimed that Pakistan’s leaders sold off the country to safeguard their own positions. “We fought a ‘made in America’ jihad and created jihadis … what have we done to ourselves,” he said.
Talking about the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan, Asif said the terrorist outfit has not been wiped out but has only changed its address. He said Pakistan did not take part in the Yemen war, adding that it wants Iran and Saudi Arabia to end their differences. “We will not protect any other power but safeguard our own interests,” he asserted.
Asif also wished to see a peaceful Afghanistan.
On the current Pak-US relations, Kh Asif said that Islamabad believed in a functioning relationship with Washington based on mutual respect and trust, which is in the interest of the region. He said after a negative tweet of the US president, Pakistani leadership decided to give a measured response.
The minister said that during the recent high-level engagements, the visiting US delegations were told that the unwarranted allegations by Trump belie the cooperative history of the relationship. He said that despite the accusations, Pakistan remains committed to the stability of the region and supports all efforts towards an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. He said people of Pakistan are prepared to defend their honour, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the homeland.
In a written reply to another question, he said that the situation on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary was rapidly deteriorating since 2017. He said heavy weapons, including mortars, are frequently being used by the Indian forces on the civilian population on the Pakistani side of the LOC and the Working Boundary.
He said that since the beginning of this year, the Indian occupation forces carried out more than 400 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, resulting in the martyrdom of 18 innocent Pakistani civilians. He said this escalation at the LoC and WB is an attempt to divert the attention of the international community from Indian atrocities in IHK.
The minister maintained that the role of the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) is crucial to ensure peace and tranquillity at the LOC. He said Pakistan has always extended full cooperation to the UNMOGIP.
Replying to a calling attention notice, Kh Asif informed the National Assembly that the ministry was fully cognizant of the issues of overseas Pakistanis and was determined to address all the matters on priority basis.
He said that 2.7 million Pakistanis were living in Saudi Arabia while the number of community welfare officers was very low to address the issues of overseas Pakistanis in that country. He said that several Pakistani prisoners were detained in some jails of Saudi Arabia with different charges.
He said there were proposals under consideration that the number of community welfare officers be reasonably increased in countries like Saudi Arabia, where a large number of Pakistanis were living.
He said during his visit to Saudi Arabia, he had taken the issues with Saudi foreign minister. He said there were issues like increase in visa fees.
He said the role of Anti Narcotics Force, Pakistan Customs and FIA was critical in controlling the drugs smuggling. He added there was a need to have vigilance and enforcement at airports to control this menace.

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