PM for Pak-US cooperative effort in fight against militancy

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 11 (APP): Stressing the need for a
cooperative Pak-US effort in the fight against militancy,
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday said anything
that degrades Pakistan’s effort would be counter-productive.
“We are fighting the war against terror, anything that
degrades our effort will only hurt the US effort,” Reuters
news agency quoted the Prime Minister as saying in an interview.
Prime Minister Shahid Abbasi said that Washington would not
achieve its counter-terrorism aims by starving Pakistan of
funds. “If the military aid cuts degrade our effort to fight
war on terror, who does it help?” he asked, adding, “Whatever
needs to be done here, it needs to be a cooperative effort.”
The news agency further quoted the Prime Minister as
saying that one practical side effect of military aid cuts and
the US Congress blocking the sale of F-16 fighter jets to
Pakistan would be to force Islamabad to buy weapons from China
and Russia.
“We’ve had to look at other options to maintain our
national defensive forces,” he said.
According to Reuters’ report, the Trump administration’s
tougher stance is seen as pushing Islamabad closer to Beijing,
which has pledged about $60 billion in roads, rail and power
infrastructure in Pakistan as part of its ambitious Belt and
Road initiative to build vast land and sea trade routes
linking Asia with Europe and Africa.
“We have a major economic relationship with (China), we
have a major military relationship since the 1960s, so that’s
definitely one of our options,” the Prime Minister said.
Abbasi said it was “unfair” to blame Pakistan for all
the troubles in Afghanistan, saying Washington should show
more appreciation for Pakistan’s losses from militancy and its
role in hosting 3.5 million Afghan refugees.
He added that Afghan-based militants have also launched
cross-border attacks on civilians and military in Pakistan,
prompting Pakistan to begin investing “several billion
dollars” to fence the disputed and porous 2,500 km border.
“We intend to fence the whole border to control that
situation,” Shahid Abbasi added.
About Pakistan’s economic situation, the news agency
quoted Prime Minister Abbasi as saying that Islamabad was
looking at a raft of measures to alleviate current account
pressures to avoid going back to the IMF, including reducing
imports of luxury goods, boosting exports, and possibly
devaluing its currency.
“There are pros and cons to devaluation, but that could
be a decision we take,” he said. He, however, added, “today,
it’s not on the table yet.”
To a question about tax reforms, the Prime Minister said
radical changes would require an integrated approach,
including building confidence among tax payers, reducing
income taxes and making it less attractive to invest in the real
estate sector.
“You not only need to have a stick, you need to have a
carrot also,” he said.