Pakistan refused to give military bases to US: FM


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan has refused to give its military bases to the US amid the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Talking to a private television, Qureshi said Pakistan wants a stable Afghanistan, but there are some elements who do not want peace in the region.
“We want to see the peace process going forward along with the withdrawal of troops. The world does not consider Pakistan part of the problem.”
The foreign minister categorically stated that Pakistan has refused to give military bases to the US and added that he has told all the political parties in a briefing that they have no such intention. “Search for bases could be their wish. There’s no question of giving them bases, we have to see our interest.”
Meanwhile, a US Defence Department spokesperson said on Monday the United States is pursuing basing options with Afghanistan’s neighbours after US troops withdraw from that country but there is nothing to announce at present.
US media reported on Sunday that Biden administration officials are in discussions with Pakistani officials to secure bases close to Afghanistan for future operations. The CIA had used a base in Pakistan to execute drone strikes against militants but was expelled from the facility in 2011 as bilateral relations soured.
“While we have no basing agreements to announce, we know that Afghanistan’s neighbors share our desire to counter the scourge of global terrorism,” the Defense Department spokesperson said on Monday.
The United States will continue to pursue options with partners and allies in the region, the spokesperson said. The Defence Department is evaluating new basing options together with the State Department and the US intelligence community, the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that killing of a Pakistani-origin family in Canada is a clear example of Islamophobia and terrorism.
The foreign minister was talking to Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour who called on him on Tuesday.
They discussed the tragic incidents involving a Pakistani-origin family in Canada and issues of mutual interest, including the growing trend of Islamophobia.
Qureshi said, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident that happened to a family of Pakistani origin in Canada. We welcome the positive response of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in this regard.”
Qureshi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and he as foreign minister have been speaking out against the growing trend of Islamophobia internationally. He said there is an urgent need for effective global action on Islamophobia.
The Canadian high commissioner expressed regret over the tragic incident and assured full investigation into the incident and stern action against those responsible. The high commissioner also briefed the foreign minister on the condemnatory statements made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Rob Ford of Ontario following this tragic incident.
Earlier, Qureshi took to Twitter to condemn the incident, saying three generations of Pakistani-Canadians had been killed for their faith. ‘Test case for Canadian government’
In a separate statement, the minister said the incident was a “test case for the Canadian government and society”. He went on to add that the Canadian government must play its due role in restoring the confidence and protection of the Muslims residing in the country.
Qureshi informed that the Pakistani Consul General in Toronto established contact with the relatives of the victim family who lost their lives in the tragic incident. The relatives, he added, were offered facilitation in terms of transportation of the bodies, however, it was informed that the burial had been planned to take place in Canada.
The minister appealed to Pakistanis residing in Canada to show solidarity to the heirs of those affected. – TLTP