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Pak review aimed at building lasting partnership with US: Khar

Islamabad: Pakistan's moves for a review of re-engagement with the US is aimed at building a partnership that has the ownership of the country's people and shared interests of the two nations, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said.

She said the parliamentary review of the ties, which began yesterday at a joint session, "is about... building a type of partnership which is lasting, which has the ownership of the people of Pakistan, and of course the parliament of Pakistan".

This partnership should be able to "achieve results which are considered to be in the joint interest of both Pakistan and the US and... the NATO members which are operating in Afghanistan", she said in an interview with MSNBC.

Hina Rabbani Khar

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Umit Bektas/Reuters

Members of the Senate and National Assembly are debating 40 recommendations framed by the Parliamentary Committee on National Security that are aimed at revamping relations with the US and Pakistan’s overall foreign policy.

The recommendations include seeking a full apology from the US for the cross-border NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, levying a tax on US and NATO supplies that pass through Pakistan on the way to Afghanistan, an end to CIA drone strikes in Pakistan and a civil nuclear deal for Pakistan on the lines of the one concluded by India and the US.

Khar said Pakistan's demands should not be characterised as "grievances".

She questioned how the US would have reacted if American soldiers were killed by Pakistani troops in an incident of friendly fire.

The incident in which the Pakistani troops were killed by NATO aircraft was "unaccounted for", she said.

"So, this was really the brink of continuing with a relationship or a partnership which was increasingly being seen in Pakistan not to be working for Pakistan. And I think here in the (parliamentary) review, we have a unique opportunity to put things correctly," Khar said.

Pakistan and the US have to keep in mind that they "are married to the end objective of fighting militants, extremism in this part of the world", she said.

"However, if we are too married or too attached to some tools which are considered to be violative of Pakistan's sovereignty, Pakistan’s territorial integrity, and the whole spirit of partnership, then I'm afraid we will not be able to meet the type of success that we want to meet in the future," she added.

Asked about the killing of Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil last year, Khar said Islamabad had repeatedly said that the Al-Qaeda chief was "an enemy for Pakistan".

Pakistani intelligence and military have "hunted down more Al-Qaeda operatives than anywhere else in the world", she said.

A joint operation against Bin Laden "would have obviously been much more useful to carry on the partnership and to carry on efforts to be able to achieve what I am calling common objectives", she contended.

The US and Pakistan should agree on common "goals and objectives", she added.

"Where we have differences, which have become apparent in the past few months, is as to what are the tools that should be used to be able to achieve those end objectives," Khar said.

PTI