NEW YORK Sept 21 (TNS): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Wednesday said Pakistan did not expect any significant shift in the United States’ policy towards it and the country was ready to work with the Trump administration, especially to fight terrorism.
Speaking to Christiane Amanpour of CNN in an interview during his visit to New York to attend the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the prime minister believed that there could be the difference of opinions on the modalities as how Pakistan operated in the region.
“Relations have ups and downs. We believe this relationship is not defined by Afghanistan. It is a 70-year-old relationship. We have always been an ally especially the partners in the war against terror. That is how we look at it,” the Prime Minister remarked.
Asked to comment on US President Donald Trump’s policy statement, Prime Minister Abbasi again termed it a difference of opinion saying that Pakistan looked at the situation differently as the country had fought the war against terrorism, suffering huge casualties.
Even today, he said, thousands of soldiers were fighting the menace, he maintained.
Responding to a query, the Prime Minister said, “Terrorism is a threat to everybody. For us, India was the force that we have fought three wars with. India is a threat to Pakistan. We accept that. They are a nuclear power. We have to defend ourselves several times against India.”
On being asked by the interviewer that Pakistan too had nuclear power, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan had developed nuclear weapons against the threats India posed.
To another question about the possible US policy shift, the prime minister said he had met US Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday and explained to him Pakistan’s role in that regard.
He reiterated Pakistan’s willingness to work with US in the war against terrorism, considering it as a common enemy.
About the North Korean nuclear programme, Prime Minister Abbasi said North Korea should follow the requirements of international regulatory authorities.
He categorically denied that Pakistan had contributed anything to the North Korean nuclear programme rather stressed Pyongyang to behave responsibly.
To a question, whether Pakistan was concerned over the North Korean nuclear programme, he said, “Definitely, it is a cause for concern. We have also condemned their nuclear tests.”