Pompeo’s call to Pakistan’s new premier stirs controversy
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A telephone call made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to congratulate Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan has stirred controversy, with Washington saying it “raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists” operating in the country.
Islamabad said late Thursday “no issue relating to terrorists in Pakistan” was raised.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry termed the statement as “factually incorrect” and said it wants a correction from Washington.
Hours later, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi insisted that Pompeo did not mention terrorists operating in Pakistan when he spoke with Khan by phone a day earlier. He said Pompeo expressed his desire for “constructive engagement” with Pakistan’s government.
Qureshi said Pompeo will arrive in Pakistan on Sept. 5 for talks with government officials and that he looked forward to meeting with him.
His comment came hours after the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert described the call as “good” and says the United States stands by its statement.
She said Pompeo expressed willingness to work with Khan toward a productive bilateral relationship.
The U.S. often accuses Pakistan of harboring militants who carry out attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge Islamabad denies, saying the criticism is unfair.
Qureshi said Pompeo’s visit could help improve bilateral relations between Washington and Islamabad.
He said Pakistan also desired good neighborly relations with India and other countries.
He called for an early resolution of the issue of Kashmir, which has been the cause of two of their three wars with India.