News / Asia

Pakistan Asks US for Clarity in Joint War on Terror

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari speaks to journalists  (file photo)
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari speaks to journalists (file photo)

Pakistan is calling on the United States to agree upon what it described as "clear terms of engagement" in the fight against Islamist militants.

Pakistani officials say President Asif Ali Zardari told the U.S. special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, that the terms should be clearly defined and specified so that any dispute could be settled amicably through the available institutions.

Pakistan Asks US for Clarity in Joint War on Terror
Pakistan Asks US for Clarity in Joint War on Terror
President Zardari made the comments Monday during a meeting with Grossman in Islamabad, which focused on bilateral ties, the war against militancy, and regional security.

The remarks come at a low point in relations between Pakistan and the United States. Pakistan sharply criticized the covert U.S. raid on May 2 that killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad as a violation of the country's sovereignty.

During Monday's talks with Grossman, President Zardari said that a long-term, sustainable relationship with the U.S. should be based on mutual interest, trust and mutual respect.  

The two officials also discussed the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, with the Pakistani president saying that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in the interest of peace and stability in Pakistan.

Grossman is set to take part in a tripartite meeting with Pakistani and Afghan officials in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Tensions between Pakistan and the U.S. were already high after a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in January.  Pakistan has also repeatedly protested suspected U.S. drone strikes targeting militants in the country's northwest tribal region.

On Sunday, Pakistani officials said the government had imposed travel restrictions on American diplomats living in Pakistan.

In Washington, U.S. officials have questioned Pakistan's resolve in the fight against terrorism. They cited the country's reluctance to mount offensives against militants in the North Waziristan tribal region and the fact that bin Laden was able to hide out in Pakistan for several years undetected.

The U.S. recently suspended about one-third of its $2.7 billion annual defense aid to Pakistan in response to Pakistan's decision to expel American military trainers and put limits on visas for U.S. personnel.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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