ISLAMABAD: A US State Department readout, pertaining to a phone call between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was “contrary to facts”, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.
In a press conference held here on Friday, Qureshi refuted the US’ account of the Khan-Pompeo call, denying that there was any discussion on militants that Washington alleges operate in Pakistan.
The foreign minister noted that “the impression, which was given … where they’re saying that they mentioned the terrorists’ presence in Pakistan, that is against the reality”.
“I’m saying it with full confidence.”
He further explained that he had directed the foreign secretary to issue an immediate rebuttal over the statements issued by Washington, adding that US State Secretary Pompeo had “said he wanted a constructive and productive relationship.
I am looking forward to his visit and engage with him for peace and stability and look and areas where both countries stand to gain,” Qureshi added.
While the foreign minister noted that Pompeo’s meeting with Khan, who was sworn in as prime minister last week, “will be very important”, he also highlighted that Pakistan doesn’t “share the same cordial relations with the US as we had before in the past”.
Reiterating that Islamabad will have to make Washington see its genuine reservations over certain policy matters, he said: “The US authorities have to understand Pakistan’s view.”
“We have a longstanding bilateral relationship with the US that has had its ups and downs. This is an important bilateral relationship. In order to bring relations with the US to a past level, there is a need to understand the situation and needs in Afghanistan.”
Qureshi also outlined the country’s foreign policy objectives and guidelines in a world that has changed significantly since the last time he held this post.
“Realignments have taken place and we need to understand them. Pakistan is no longer the darling of the west that it used to be,” he asserted.
The row comes ahead of Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad, slated for September 5, to meet with PM Khan — something that the foreign minister confirmed in his address earlier today.