New Delhi , Oct.28 : Pakistan has the freedom to choose or not to choose to adhere to the strategy adopted by the United States for South Asia, a top American diplomat has said.
"And again, all of this is about Pakistan's sovereign choice. This is not about America giving dictation. We've described our strategy, we've described a very important role for Pakistan, who we see as a very important country in the region, but it's up to them whether or not they want to work with us on this strategy. And if they don't, as the Secretary said, we'll adjust accordingly," said Alice G Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs and Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While underscoring US' concern, at the press briefing by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his just concluded trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, Wells said that the longstanding relationships with the militant and terrorist organizations threaten Pakistan's stability.

"But under the strategy, we've laid out some very specific expectations of how Pakistan can help create the conditions that will help bring the Taliban to the table," said Wells.

Wells stated that US would like to see the strategic commitment brought against other militant groups, whether they are operating or have used Pakistan's territory, whether they are directed against India or directed against Afghanistan.

"We saw - you see already the spillover of the sectarianism that has been building in Pakistan over the last several decades. We believe that the Taliban leadership and the Haqqani Network still retain an ability to plan, to recuperate, and to reside with their families in Pakistan. The Quetta and Peshawar leadership councils of the Taliban have their names for a reason," Wells said.

"And what we saw in 2014 was we saw Pakistan make a strategic decision to defeat the terrorist groups that were targeting the Government of Pakistan. And with great loss of life, great courage, great vision about what needed to be done, Pakistan has fought that battle and now has regained control and sovereignty over the FATA territories," she added.

Wells also talked about the "extremely candid" conversation that took place with the Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the civilian and military leadership team.

(Posted on 28 October 2017, 1675563332 3O236O138O35)