Trust us, Pakistan Army chief tells US envoy

Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday told US Ambassador David Hale that Islamabad will continue to do what it is doing in Afghanistan out of its national interests, not to appease Washington. Hale called on the Army chief and told him that the US valued Pakistan's role in the war against terror and was seeking cooperation from it to resolve the Afghan issue, a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.  Underlining that peace in Afghanistan was important for Pakistan too, the Army chief said: "Islamabad has done a lot towards Afghanistan and shall keep on doing its best; not to appease anyone but in line with Pakistan's national interest and national policy."  Gen Bajwa said Pakistan was not looking for any financial assistance from the US but rather trust, understanding and acknowledgment for its contributions in the war on terror.  The tough talking came two days after US President Donald Trump, in a new strategy to win America's longest war, accused Pakistan of "housing the very terrorists we (Americans) are fighting" in Afghanistan.  The meeting between the Hale and Gen Bajwa came hours after the Pakistan Foreign Office said President Trump had ignored the contributions and sacrifices Pakistan had made in fighting terrorism. "No country has done more than Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism. No country has suffered more than Pakistan from the scourge of terrorism, often perpetrated from outside our borders," the Foreign Office said in a statement. The statement followed a cabinet meeting that discussed the new American strategy unveiled on late Monday. "It is disappointing that the US policy statement ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation," it added. It said Pakistan does not allow the 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." Pakistan has been accused by American and Afghan officials of harbouring terrorist sanctuaries -- a charge Islamabad denies. India also makes similar charges against Pakistan. Pakistan said there can be "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 and Afghan-owned politically negotiated solution can lead to sustainable peace in Afghanistan," it added. Pakistan is reaching out to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China before issuing a detailed rejoinder to Trump's new Afghan strategy. Prior to the cabinet huddle, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi flew to Lahore to meet his deposed predecessor Nawaz Sharif. IANS