“Kashmir biggest roadblock to normalisation to talks, Relationship with India at lowest ebb”: Pak FM
Washington: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday warned India against carrying out surgical strike or targeting its nuclear installations, saying if that happens nobody should expect restraint from his country.
Referring to the statement of India’s Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa that the Indian armed forces are ready for a full spectrum operation, Asif said Pakistan wants to live in peace and harmony with its neighbours.
But if India carries out any surgical strike in Pakistan or strikes at its nuclear installations “nobody should expect restraint from us”, he warned.
Speaking at the US Institute of Peace, a Washington-based think-tank, Asif said the “relationship with India is at a lowest ebb at the moment”.
Responding to a question on India, he said, “sadly India did not respond” to Pakistani efforts to improve relationship.
“What is going on in Kashmir is the biggest roadblock to normalisation to talks,” Asif said.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister asked the US not to treat his country as a “whipping boy” and said Washington has already lost the war in Afghanistan and is only trying to salvage the situation in the war-torn nation.
Asif, who is here as part of efforts to rebuild bilateral ties frayed after President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of sheltering terror groups, said his meetings with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor H R McMaster were good.
“Was not bad,” Asif quipped, giving a sense of his talks with top leadership of the Trump administration, which has been seeking accountability from Islamabad in the war against terrorism.
Asked about the madrasas as training ground for terrorists, Asif said.
“These madrasas were nurseries for American jihad in Afghanistan. People who took those decisions will burn to hell. We are actually living in hell because of that decision,” he said, adding that Pakistan is paying the price of such a decision.
“The meeting went well with Tillerson and McMaster (meeting) was good. (It) was not bad,” Asif said, noting that the two countries need to pursue contacts with each other.
He favoured adopting an approach of talks and exchange of views more vigorously.