Pak rejects ‘Gilani urges Karzai to dump US, ally with Islamabad’ report as “baseless”

Islamabad, April 28(ANI): Pakistan has rejected the assertions made in a recent The Wall Street Journal report, which said that Islamabad was urging Afghan President Hamid Karzai to dump the United States, and instead team up with Pakistan and its ally, China, for help in striking a peace deal with the Taliban and rebuilding the economy.

"Pakistan is lobbying Afghanistan's president against building a long-term strategic partnership with the U.S., urging him instead to look to Pakistan-and its Chinese ally-for help in striking a peace deal with the Taliban and rebuilding the economy, Afghan officials say," the WSJ article had said.

"The pitch was made at an April 16 meeting in Kabul by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who bluntly told Afghan President Hamid Karzai that the Americans had failed them both, according to Afghans familiar with the meeting. Mr. Karzai should forget about allowing a long-term U.S. military presence in his country, Mr. Gilani said, according to the Afghan," it added.

The Pakistan Foreign Ministry issued a statement, rejecting the assertions made in the article as "baseless".

"Responding to a question about the article by Matthew Rosenburg in the Wall Street Journal of today, the [Foreign Ministry] spokesperson rejected the baseless assertions made in it," the statement said.

"The spokesperson added that Pakistan fully supports an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process for peace and reconciliation. This fundamental principle is now widely acknowledged," it added.

The WSJ article had said that Pakistan's bid to "cut the U.S. out of Afghanistan's future is the clearest sign to date that, as the nearly 10-year war's endgame begins, tensions between Washington and Islamabad threaten to scuttle America's prospects of ending the conflict on its own terms."

The Foreign Ministry statement said that Pakistan "recognizes the key role of the United States in promoting stability, peace and harmony in Afghanistan."

It pointed out that a trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States at the senior officials' level is being held in Islamabad early next month.

"The purpose of ongoing engagements with Afghanistan and the United States is to have strategic coherence and clarity," the statement added.

Copyright Asian News International/