Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif met former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday for ‘directions’ ahead of his visit to China, Russia and Turkey for consultations on the United States new South Asia strategy. Asif briefed the ex-Prime Minister about his planned three-country visit during a one-on-one meeting at Sharif’s residence. “The foreign minister consulted Nawaz Sharif about his planned visit to China, Russia and Turkey and got certain directions in this regard,” The Dawn quoted a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, as saying.
Pakistan Railway Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique said Sharif had deep insight into Pak-U.S. relations. “Khwaja Asif came to take directions [regarding this] from Mian sahib,” he said. “The United States President’s statement (about Pakistan) could not be taken lightly,” he added.
Earlier, the National Security Committee took the decision for the visit in a meeting on Thursday, which focusses on the United States new policy for the South Asian countries, especially Afghanistan. “Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif will be visiting regional countries for consultations,” Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said.
A source has said that Islamabad is trying to mount a diplomatic offensive to muster the support of friendly countries in the face of Trump’s allegations that Pakistan was hosting terrorist ‘safe havens’ on its soil, the Express Tribune reported.
After consulting with three nations, Pakistan will be convening an international conference to highlight its contribution towards the war against terrorism and to adopt a new policy which will call a halt to Washington’s unending demand to ‘do more’ on the issue.
However, Nafees Zakaria underscored that the differences between Pakistan and the U.S. over the new policy did not mean a rupture in ties. Showing similar sentiment, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership on Thursday said scapegoating them will not help stabilise the war-ravaged Afghanistan. In a clear ultimatum to Islamabad, Trump said Pakistan has to change its “double game” policy or face the consequences.