Pakistan Defence Minister responds back hard to the White House comments

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan is concerned over White House statement saying the United States military has been granted permission to eliminate militant safe havens in Pakatan.

The statement reads, “President Trump’s conditions-based South Asia Strategy provides commanders with the authority and resources needed to deny terrorists the safe haven they seek in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Following the White House statement, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan in an interview with VOA’s Urdu Service said he has taken the statement ‘very seriously,’ adding that Pakistan should be informed before using these kinds of words.

Khan said,“We want to make it clear to the United States that Pakistan is a sovereign country and its sovereignty must be respected.”

However, the White House Security Council did not respond to VOA’s question if the United States has changed its strategy on additional military operations inside Pakistan, or whether the White House statement was a misstatement.

Former director for Pakstan and Afghanistan at the National Security Council, Shamila Chaudhary, said Pakistani defense minister interpreted the White House statement correctly.

“It is not a misreading. That’s exactly how anyone would interpret it,” Chaudhary told VOA. “This suggests they might change the rules to apprehend insurgents” across the border in Pakistan, Shamila said.

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