ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan has asked the United States to stop imposing India’s will on Islamabad and treat Pakistan as a sovereign state, diplomatic sources said.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Pakistan had sent a strong message to Washington after this week’s National Security Committee’s meeting where the civil and the military leadership agreed to give a “tit-for-tat” response to the US.

One official said Pakistan had contacted the US after President Donald Trump once again pressed Pakistan to do more and conveyed that Islamabad could not work under pressure.

“[The] US president and his team have been issuing statements, which look heavily influenced by India. We have complained against this attitude. They should not dictate terms but cooperate,” he said.

This week, President Trump unveiled a new national security strategy, and asked Pakistan to take “decisive action” against the terror network. Trump said the US wanted Pakistan to help Washington fight extremism.

The new strategy says: “No partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists who target a partner’s own service members and officials.”

In August, Trump had announced his policy for Afghanistan and South Asia and accused Islamabad of harbouring terrorists. He also urged India to play a “bigger role” in Afghanistan.

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations,” he said, while hinting to cut Pakistan’s financial aid.

Recently, US Defence Secretary James Mattis visited Pakistan and said it was part of an effort to “set the conditions for future collaboration” that would lead to denial of safe havens “for any terrorist group that would attack anyone in the region.”

Mattis said the US would like to broaden the focus to ensure “no terrorist organisation is seen as able to operate from a haven there.”

Later, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammed Faisal said Pakistan did not agree with US President Donald Trump’s policy on South Asia but talks were on to find common grounds to move forward.

“Pakistan does not agree with the US policy on South Asia, which was announced in August this year. There was a difference in understanding and perceptions on both sides. Thereafter, a dialogue started,” he said.

There were reports that Pakistan had prepared a new strategy to deal with the US amid the tension.

The new policy is aimed at giving response to the US on an equality basis.

Another official at the foreign ministry said Pakistan would not tolerate pressure but was willing to work with the US for the sake of regional peace and to defeat terrorism.

“Pressure by the US at a time when the nation [Pakistan] is already infuriated at Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said.

The official added: “We were expecting the US to be soft after the Muslims’ protest over the Jerusalem issue but they are still trying to dictate terms.”

Meanwhile, a foreign ministry statement on Tuesday said that the US National Security Strategy 2017 released on December 18 had made certain unsubstantiated allegations towards Pakistan.

“Pakistan rejects such unfounded accusations that belie facts on ground and trivialise Pakistan’s efforts for fighting terrorism and our unmatched sacrifices to promote peace and stability in the region,” it said.

The statement added: “Pakistan has long been at the forefront in the fight against regional and global terrorism. It is because of Pakistan’s cooperation with the international community, acknowledged and appreciated by the US leadership, that the Al-Qaeda core was decimated from the region.”

In a troubled neighbourhood, it said, Pakistan continued to suffer at the hands of state-sponsored terrorism, funded and abetted by our neighbours through proxies.

“These proxies, consisting of individuals, organisations and intelligence agencies, are working against Pakistan at the behest of regional adversaries. The self-proclaimed guarantors of peace and phony regional powers are pursuing this nefarious game of expansionism to the detriment of regional and global peace. Destabilising policies and actions by some countries to maintain their hegemony in pursuit of absolute power are responsible for instability in several parts of the world, including ours,” the statement added.

Countries emerge as regional or global powers on the basis of their constructive contributions.

It does not fall upon one country to bestow such status on any state, it said.

Ironically, a country with a record of defiance of the UNSC resolutions, introduction of nuclear weapons in south Asia and use of terrorism as a state policy, is being projected as a regional leader, it said. 

South Asia’s strategic stability is being undermined by India’s unchecked brutalisation of the people of the Indian Occupied Kashmir and incessant ceasefire violations targeting innocent civilians, the statement said.

The Afghan soil, despite substantial US presence, is being constantly used by elements hostile to Pakistan’s stability.

Pakistan’s efforts and sincere proposals for effective border management to prevent cross border movement of militants and return of Afghan refugees are yet to make any headway.

On the other hand, a malicious campaign is under-way to undo Pakistan’s achievements in the war against terrorism, it said.

Pakistan has consistently emphasised that a political settlement, owned and led by Afghans is the only viable option to end the conflict in Afghanistan, the statement said.

In recent years, Pakistan’s security forces have undertaken indiscriminate and effective counter-terrorism operations against terrorists and extremists.

“Thanks to these comprehensive operations, today, Pakistan is a more stable, peaceful and secure country. The success against the menace of terrorism, however, has come at a tremendous cost of blood and treasure, courageously braced by the people of Pakistan,” it said.

The statement said: “As a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan has put in place, a highly efficient, robust and centralised command and control mechanism to secure its nuclear assets. The safety and security standards of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal are second to no other nuclear state.”

It further said: “Mindful of the fact that the war against terrorism is not yet over, Pakistan remains committed to continue its fight against the sympathisers, financers and abettors of terrorism to ensure that Pakistan’s soil is not used for committing violence anywhere. We expect the same commitment from our neighbours and other regional and global actors.”

Pakistan, it said, is a country of over 200 million people with strong and robust democratic institutions and highly professional and committed security forces.

“We also remain committed to protect our sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interest determined by the people of Pakistan,” the statement said.

International affairs expert Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema said Trump’s attitude was uncalled for.

“They [the US leaders] are issuing statements under the Indian influence. Pakistan is a nuclear power and must be respected. We have sacrificed more than any country,” he added.

Cheema said Trump was criticising Pakistan when the whole world was appreciating Pakistan’s success in the anti-terror war.

“[The] US needs to be reasonable. They must adopt a balanced policy in the region. Pakistan’s efforts must be acknowledged,” he remarked.

Pakistan did not fight war on terror for money: ISPR

Monitoring Desk adds: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor on Tuesday said Pakistan did not fight the war on terror for money and the country only needs acknowledgement of its sacrifices and contributions.

“Since 1947, giving Pakistan $50 billion or so, is not our price, as far as money is concerned. If America gave us assistance in the security domain, that is their national interest. Being a superpower, the US has defence cooperation with countries across the world," said the DG ISPR.

“By making some payments over the years in the ongoing war on terror and then claiming that heavy payments are being made, we want to say that Pakistan is not fighting for money,” he added while talking to a private TV channel.