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Optimism on Pak-US front

Optimism on Pak-US front

Referring to Trump's New Year's Day tweet accusing Islamabad of "lies and deceit" in the war against terrorism, Khan said that the U.S. president scapegoated Pakistan for the US-led coalition's failure to defeat the Taliban and bring peace to Afghanistan, and that "it was very insulting of him".

"The way the United States has treated Pakistan as a doormat is not fair", he said.

Chairman Imran Khan said on Saturday that meeting US President Donald Trump would be a "bitter pill" to swallow should he become the prime minister in elections later this year, but added, "I would meet him".

'Pakistan will keep supporting all initiatives for peace in Afghanistan despite the tendency to scapegoat Pakistan as peace in Afghanistan is the only way to move forward enduring peace and stability in the region, ' he maintained.

The US General acknowledged the recent actions taken by Pakistan for the hospitality of Afghan refugees and agreed that both countries stand to gain from cooperative engagement.

In Washington, a senior State Department official expressed hope that the two countries would come to terms and that Pakistan would meet US requests for the handover of captured terrorism suspects.

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A harsh critic of the US-led war, the cricketer-turned-politician reiterated his stance that while Pakistan should have supported United States campaign against terrorism, deployment of its troops in the tribal areas near Pak-Afghan border should not have been done.

In a telling sign of his priorities for the year, Trump's first foreign policy tweet of 2018 slammed Pakistan and was soon thereafter followed up by the suspension of an estimated $900 million of military aid to the South Asian state.

General Bajwa, according to the report, told General Votel that the "entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed" over the USA statements though he assured him that Pakistan would continue to support peace efforts in the region despite being made a "scapegoat". USA officials allege the lawlessness in the Pakistan border region is to be blamed for the Taliban resurgence, a charge that Pakistani officials deny.

The White House later announced it was suspending some $2 billion in assistance to Pakistan's military until it did more to fight terrorism.

On Friday, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told US Central Command Chief General Joseph Votel during a telephone call that Pakistan "felt betrayed" by criticism over its efforts in the war on terror.

Khan and his party spearheaded street protests and a subsequent legal battle that ousted Pakistan's thrice-elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, from office last July on corruption charges.


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