Pakistan won't seek USA aid resumption: Army Chief Bajwa

Ambassador to US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry

Ambassador to US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry

Pakistani populist opposition politician Imran Khan, a harsh critic of the country's partnership in the US -led anti-terrorism war, said Saturday that should he become prime minister, he would meet with President Donald Trump but that it would be a "bitter pill" to swallow.

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said the embargo would remain in place until Pakistan takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

He said that Pakistan is facing serious problems from the elements carrying out attacking from Afghanistan's soil.

Khan, who heads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, is a candidate to become prime minister in the country's national elections, most likely to be held by July 2018.

"I will dread it, but I will have to swallow the bitter pill and meet him", said Imran, adding, "Whether we would be able to communicate, I am not so sure, but of course we, countries, have to work with the United States".

Should he become the prime minister, PTI chief said "yes we would talk", referring to Trump, but added that the U.S. dishonours the memory of thousands of Pakistani soldiers who died battling militants, as well as that of tens of thousands of Pakistanis who died in terrorist attacks.

The opposition leader has always been critical of Pakistan's participation in the USA -led war against terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan.

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In Washington, a senior State Department official expressed hope that the two countries would come to terms and that Pakistan would meet US requests for the handover of captured terrorism suspects.

In the weeks since the Trump administration withheld almost $1 billion in security aid for Pakistan, Washington and Islamabad officials have been working to patch things up and avert a unsafe deterioration in their often troubled relationship.

"Pakistan had nothing to do with it", he said, adding that he supported co-operation with the United States but not co-opting Pakistan's military into a ground battle with its own people in the tribal regions that border Afghanistan and where Afghan insurgents hide.

Army Chief, General Qamar Bajwa has said that Pakistan wouldn't ask for restoration of the financial assistance suspended by the United States and will continue its whole-hearted efforts against militancy and terrorism even without USA financial support in accordance with our own national interest.

A senior Trump administration official has said the U.S. is developing risk mitigation plan, given the past experience that Pakistan blocks ground lines of communication as retaliatory measure.

The US won't conduct unilateral anti-terror operations in Pakistan depsite President Donald Trump suspending American military aid and criticising Islamabad for "lies and deceit", a top American military commander has assured the Army Chief, Gen Qamar Bajwa. Sharif's brother, Shahbaz, is also a potential candidate for the prime minister job.

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