Pakistan has other ‘options’, PM Imran Khan’s adviser tells U.S.

Call for talks: Moeed Yusuf speaking to reporters at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Upset over U.S. President Joe Biden’s reluctance to telephonically contact Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf has said that Islamabad has other “options” if the American leader continues to ignore the country’s leadership.

“The President of the United States hasn’t spoken to the Prime Minister of such an important country who the U.S. itself says is make-or-break in some cases, in some ways, in Afghanistan — we struggle to understand the signal, right?” Mr. Yusuf said in an interview with the Financial Times of London, according to the Dawn newspaper here.

“We’ve been told every time that... (the phone call) will happen, it’s technical reasons or whatever. But frankly, people don’t believe it,” he said. “If a phone call is a concession, if a security relationship is a concession, Pakistan has options,” he added, refusing to elaborate.

The U.S. State Department, however, has assured Islamabad that Washington recognises Pakistan’s vital role in restoring peace in Afghanistan and wants Islamabad to play that role.

“Pakistan has much to gain and will continue to have a critical role, and be well-positioned to have a role in supporting the outcome” in Afghanistan, said U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price. “We’ll continue to work and to communicate closely with our Pakistani partners on this,” he added.

“The cold shoulder from Washington comes as the Taliban has captured swaths of territory across Afghanistan in a ruthless offensive emboldened by the U.S. pullout,” the report added.

The British newspaper said that while Mr. Yusuf did not elaborate on his options, “Pakistan has cultivated deep ties with its ‘iron brother’ China, which has invested billions in infrastructure projects as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.” “There are still a number of world leaders President Biden has not been able to speak with personally yet. He looks forward to speaking with Prime Minister Khan when the time is right,” a Biden administration official told the paper.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 2:29:10 PM |

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