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Pakistan-US ties should not hinge on Afghanistan: Khawaja Muhammad Asif

Khawaja Muhammad Asif

Davos, Jan 25 (UITV/IANS) - Pakistan and the US should focus on their bilateral relationship rather than just looking at it "through the prism of Afghanistan", Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Wednesday, Asif said that US President Donald Trump's much-anticipated speech here on Friday is unlikely to do anything to improve bilateral relations with Islamabad.

"Frankly speaking, we are a bit apprehensive from what we have been hearing from over the past one year (and) we don't expect any radical departure from what he has been saying," he was quoted as saying by CNBC.

"The whole relationship should not hinge on just one problem in our region," Asif said.

When asked whether he was concerned diplomatic ties between Pakistan and the US had reached an irrevocable conclusion, the Foreign Minister said: "It is repairable, there is absolutely no doubt about it."

In his first tweet of 2018, Trump had said the US had "foolishly" handed Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years while gaining nothing in return but "lies and deceit".

Pakistan had said in response that it had launched military operations to push out militants and since 2001, over 17,000 Pakistanis had died fighting militants or in bombings.

Asif had earlier said that Islamabad will not develop nor change its nuclear policy on the orders of the US as it reserves the right to its defence.

"Pakistan creates own nuclear policy independently and will neither develop nor change it on the orders of the US," he said on Tuesday.

The Minister said that Islamabad will not be "influenced" by Washington as "it has neither bowed down to pressure from the US in the past nor does it intend to do now".