News Pakistan criticises 'wrong' US aid freeze

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Mar 5, 2010
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday angrily criticised US moves to freeze $700 million in aid, the latest sign of the fraying alliance that has been in deep crisis since NATO fire killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

"We believe that the move in the US Congress is not based on facts and takes narrow vision of overall situation hence wrong conclusions are unavoidable," foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters.

"The terms of engagement with the United States, NATO and ISAF, are being reviewed but the issue of sovereignty is non-negotiable," said the spokesman in his weekly press briefing here.

He said Pakistan is moving forward in the process, irrespective of the fact what happens with regard to the particular incident of Salala attack on Pakistan's check posts in Mohmand Agency.

The spokesman said, "We are getting into more concrete areas of reviewing our terms of engagement which is far more important than any verbal appology."

He said the government and parliament are working hand in hand to make sure that the national interests are fully preserved both on immediate and long-term basis.

The spokesman said the Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar presented the recommendations, formulated by the Envoys' Conference held here on December 12 and 13, before the Parliamentary Committee on National Security today.

He said, "These recommendations reflect aspirations of the people and our national interest."

He said any review in Pakistan's foreign policy, will be in accordance with the directions, being given by the Parliament, through its National Security Committee.

He expressed the confidence that whatever emerges from the process, would be in sync with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan in reviewing the foreign policy of the country.

He said Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh gave a briefing to the envoys on economic aspect of the present situation.

"We are very much cognizant of this aspect as foreign policy cannot be developed without taking into consideration the economic realities but the sovereignty is non-negotiable," the spokesman said.

Replying to a question, he said Pakistan has deployed 160,000 troops and established over 900 check posts along the international Pakistan-Afghanistan border to stop any movement of the terrorist elements.

He said the real question is as to what is being done on the Afghan side of the border.

The spokesman said Pakistan cannot be held responsible for the weaknesses and loopholes on the other side of the border.

Replying to a question about progress of the probe into assassination of Prof Burhanuddin Rabbani, he said, the work is in progress but there is nothing concrete at this stage.

Answering a question about drone attacks inside Pakistan, the Spokesman said since November 26, following the attack by the NATO and ISAF helicopters at Pakistan's check posts, there has been no drone attacks reported. (APP)