ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday reiterated that decision to restore the NATO supplies to Afghanistan would only be taken by the Parliament and schedule of joint sitting would be announced shortly to discuss new rules of engagement with the United States.

Addressing the participants of a one-day media workshop on ‘Diplomatic Norms and Practices’ at Foreign Service Academy here, she said Pakistan’s desire to have better relations with the world, including the United States.  She said that the decision on NATO supplies rests with the Parliament and let not undermine the government’s stance, however, supply of Afghan containers, under Pak-Afghan transit trade was restored which was right of the Afghans.  After the decision of DCC, supply to NATO in Afghanistan via Pakistan land was stopped and supply through airspace was never mentioned in the decision.

Hina Khar dismissed the impression that the US had ever threatened Pakistan with sanctions on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, adding, that the US officials had already rebuffed the reports of threats.

‘Pakistan can never be selective as far as its energy need is concerned’, she said, adding that any attack or war would be catastrophic for the region. ‘And Pakistan would severely suffer, therefore, attack would neither take place nor can be allowed, it is clear’, she said.

She said that national interest was supreme that drives foreign policy of Pakistan.

Answering a question, she said that a stable and peaceful Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s interest.

‘We would have to give Afghanistan the respect that we desire for ourselves’, she added.

She said that Pakistan was not pursuing the policy of the strategic depth and it support Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-driven reconciliation process in the neighbouring country.

Pakistan is committed to peace and stability in the country and the region, she stated.

She said relations with the regional country are being strengthened and Kabul was declared as the most important capital for Pakistan in the world.

She said that relations with Russia are going well and a high-level delegation would hopefully visit Pakistan this year. 

On US congressional hearing on Balochistan and a resolution in this connection, Hina said Washington perceives it as an internal issue of Pakistan.

‘The resolution was an individual act and as a member in our Parliament has the right to introduce a resolution. Similarly the individual also had the right’, she said, adding, that the US administration is not supporting the resolution.

To another question about a report claiming that General James Mattis would visit Pakistan within 10 days, she said that ‘hope the joint Parliamentary session would be convened within a week and let us see what happens, the US is also waiting for Parliamentary review’.

She said that it is the biggest achievement of the government that it has empowered the Parliament for foreign policy.

On the increased trade volume with EU and US as compared to the trade with regional countries, she said reaching out to the neighbours and the region is the top most priority of the government but it never means to lower trade with other parts of the world.