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Pakistan asks US to ‘immediately correct’ statement, says no talk of terrorism between Mike Pompeo and Imran Khan

A US statement had said secretary of state Mike Pompeo, in his talks with Imran Khan, raised the importance of Pakistan taking “decisive action” against all terrorists operating in Pakistan.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2018 08:21 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Imran Khan,Pakistan US,Pakistan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party, speaks after he was elected, in Islamabad.(Reuters File via Handout)

In an unusual move, Pakistan tonight 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 Pompeo, in his talks with 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 the Foreign Office (FO), Pompeo congratulated Khan while discussing other issues of interest and there was no mention of “terrorists operating in Pakistan”.

FO spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that “Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Department on today’s 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,” Faisal said on Twitter.

The Pakistani media this week reported that Pompeo is likely to visit Islamabad in the first week of September to hold talks with newly-elected Prime Minister Khan.

Pompeo, who is expected in Islamabad on September 5, would be the first foreign dignitary to meet Khan, Dawn reported, quoting the diplomatic and official sources.

The relations between Pakistan and the US nose-dived after President Donald Trump in January accused Islamabad of giving 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 USD one billion per year.

In his victory speech last month, Khan said he wants a balanced relation between Pakistan and America which should be mutually beneficial, not one sided.

First Published: Aug 24, 2018 08:15 IST