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US to Change Tactics If Pak Fails to Act Against Terror: Tillerson

“We’re asking you to do this; we’re not demanding anything.”

Published
World
3 min read
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
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The Trump administration has firmly told Pakistan that if it fails to take "decisive" actions against terror groups, the US will "adjust" its tactics and strategies to achieve the objective in a "different way", a State Department official said on 27 October.

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told Pakistan that it must take action against terrorist groups and dismantle their safe havens on its soil, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told PTI, a day after Tillerson concluded his maiden trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

We have communicated our expectations to Pakistan numerous times that they must take decisive action against terrorist groups based within their own borders
Heather Nauert

At a news conference in Geneva, his last stop on the current foreign travel, Tillerson said the US had "a very healthy exchange of information on terrorists, which is what we really hope to achieve with Pakistan."

Here’s what we need for Pakistan to do. We’re asking you to do this; we’re not demanding anything. You’re a sovereign country. You’ll decide what you want to do, but understand, this is what we think is necessary. And if you don’t want to do that, don’t feel you can do it, we’ll adjust our tactics and our strategies to achieve the same objective in a different way.
Tillerson’s message to Pakistan

Tillerson said that he would not characterise his direct discussions with the Pakistani leadership as a lecture at all.

It was a very good and open exchange. In fact, we probably listened for about 80 percent of the time, and we talked the remaining 20 percent. And it was important to me, because I have not engaged with Pakistani leadership previously. And, so my objective was to listen a lot, to hear their perspective
We put our points forward. We put our expectations forward in no uncertain terms. There has been significant engagement prior to my visit, and there will be further engagement in the future, as we work through how we want to exchange information and achieve the objective of eliminating these terrorist organisations, wherever they may be located
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Tillerson described his communication with the Pakistani leadership as very frank and very candid.

"We had a joint meeting with Prime Minister Abbasi and the full leadership team. And then I had a second meeting with Army General Bajwa, and a couple of his close advisers, so we could have a more thorough discussion about some of the specifics," he said, adding that he thinks that it was a very open, candid, and frank exchange.

“There’s nothing to be achieved by lecturing, but we should be very clear about expectations and what we’re asking.

Also read: Pakistan Using India as Excuse to Support Terrorists: US Official

And either people will step up and meet those expectations or they won't. We are going to chart our course consistent with what Pakistan not just says they do, but what they actually do," Tillerson said.

Noting that the future course of action would be based on conditions on the ground, he said the entire South Asia strategy is a conditions-based strategy.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in a meeting on Thursday with National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs said that Pakistan will neither surrender to the US nor compromise on its sovereignty.

Also read: Tillerson Visit: India Needs to Learn From China, Pak on US Ties

Asif claimed that no specific "wish list" has been given to Pakistan by the US.

The US has given a list of 75 wanted terrorists and pressed Islamabad for going tough on Haqqani network.

Responding to a question on Asif's comments, the State Department spokesperson said that Tillerson on his trip has put the US' "expectations" in front of the leadership of Pakistan.

The spokesperson said that Tillerson, during his visit to Pakistan, told its leadership that America wants to work with Pakistan in a "positive way" because it is also in Islamabad's interest in the long-term.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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