In an unusual move, Pakistan has asked the US to “immediately correct” a readout issued by the State Department in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quoted as saying that he asked Pakistan’s new prime minister to take “decisive action” against all terrorists operating in the country.
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that Mr Pompeo, in his talks with Imran Khan, raised the importance of Pakistan taking “decisive action” against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.
However, according to Pakistan’s Foreign Office, Mr Pompeo congratulated Imran Khan while discussing other issues of interest, but there was no mention of “terrorists operating in Pakistan”.
Pak Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that “Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Department on the phone call between Prime Minister Khan and Secretary Pompeo”.
“There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This should be immediately corrected,” Mr Faisal said on Twitter.
The Pakistani media this week reported that Mr Pompeo is likely to visit Islamabad in the first week of September to hold talks with newly-elected prime minister – Imran Khan.
Mr Pompeo, who is expected in Islamabad on September 5, would be the first foreign dignitary to meet Imran Khan, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported, quoting the diplomatic and official sources.
The relations between Pakistan and the US nose-dived after President Donald Trump in January said that Islamabad gave nothing to Washington but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists.
The US Congress also passed a bill to slash Pakistan’s defence aid to $150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than $1 billion per year.
In his victory speech last month, Imran Khan said he wants a balanced relation between Pakistan and America which should be mutually beneficial, not one sided.