ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan’s ties with the United States remain on hold following a NATO cross-border air attack, the country’s foreign minister said, and Washington should not push Islamabad to go after militant groups or bring them to the Afghan peace process.

“Now that the re-evaluation process is under way as we speak, so till the time that that re-evaluation process in not complete, we cannot start the re-engagement,” Hina Rabbani Khar said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.

Khar said the proposals for the tenor and rules for relations with the United States could be out within days. “We are trying to push for it as we speak,” Khar said. “I know that they have completed their recommendations and we will look for an appropriate day to hold the joint session of parliament. The recommendations could come out in days.”

“I would say they (ties) are conveniently on hold until we start re-engaging,” said Khar. “‘Push’ is never wise. I think that every country must be allowed to develop their own strategy and their own timing,” said a confident Khar, wearing a traditional head scarf and a colourful shawl.

Khar stressed that another incursion by NATO or the United States would be harmful. “What is unacceptable to Pakistan is to have any troops on the ground. What is unacceptable to Pakistan is not to respect the inviolability of our borders,” she said. “All of these things make it more difficult for us to be an effective partner.”

Khar did strike a positive note, stressing the long partnership was vital for the two countries. “I think this will also give us the ability, if we play it right, to strengthen the partnership and to make it much, much more effective,” she said.

“Let me categorically say that we consider our relations and our relationship with the US to be an extremely important one.”