ISLAMABAD: Referring to the recent discussion in US Congress regarding whether to categorise Pakistan as a "friend or foe", Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said its only a section of US intelligentsia which thinks Pakistan should be treated as a foe by United States.

"The concerns were caused by Afghan and Indian propaganda which led to anti-Pakistan views by some Congressmen," Sartaj Aziz told a local television channel Dunya News.

The adviser maintained that the whole Congress is aware of Pakistan's importance in the Islamic world, South Asia and in resolving the Afghan issue.

But some Congressmen who are "either not updated or have some concerns" have raised these concerns which are baseless and we are striving to address their concerns, Aziz maintained

Related: Pakistan friend or foe, asks US Congress panel

He added that US Senator John McCain, who recently visited Pakistan along with a Senate delegation, laid stress upon improving relations with Pakistan.

"The Senate mission which visited Miranshah, was surprised to see Pakistan's achievements in war on terror and lauded how we managed to control terror-related incidents at a time when such incidents are on a rise in the rest of the world," said Aziz.

Answering a question, he said that Pakistan is acting against all sorts of terrorists according to its own anti-terror plan.

Related: McCain lauds Pakistan's anti-terror efforts

About the recent incidents of violence in Kashmir, Aziz maintained that Pakistan has apprised the world about human rights abuses by Indian forces in the valley and will continue to back Kashmiri people's right of self determination.

The foreign policy chief warned Indian government that their excessive use of force can worsen the situation in the valley and create more trouble for the Indian authorities.

Senior US lawmakers and their witnesses had gathered in Capitol Hill on Tuesday to discuss if Pakistan is America’s friend or foe.

The House Subcommittees on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade and Asia and the Pacific jointly held this hearing led by Congressman Matt Salmon and Congressman Ted Poe.

Former US ambassador to Afghanistan and United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad, senior editor Long War Journal Bill Roggio and Assistant Professor American University Ricia Bacon spoke as witnesses in the discussion.

Zalmay Khalilzad's statement

Khalilzad, who in the past served as US ambassador to Iraq, Afghanistan and UN, said Pakistan views the Afghan Taliban as an effective proxy to ensure Pakistani dominance over Afghanistan and believes that continuing the war in Afghanistan will lead to a US withdrawal, which would change the balance of power against the current government and in favour of its proxies.

He maintained that Pakistan's status as a “major non-Nato ally” in the war against terror is "wholly inappropriate" and recommended that the country should be in US State Department's list of state-sponsors of terrorism.

Bill Roggio's statement

Long War Journal's editor Bill Roggio testified that Pakistani elites have attempted to distinguish between what are referred to as “good Taliban” and “bad Taliban”, a distinction based on groups that advance Pakistan’s foreign policy goals and those who challenge the primacy of the Pakistani state.

He also accused Pakistan of backing the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan and said that some of the deadly attacks inside Afghanistan have been directly traced back to Pakistan.

"In Pakistan, the Haqqani Network is based in North Waziristan and has a presence in other Pakistani tribal agencies, such as Kurram. The Haqqanis run the notorious Manba Ulom madrassa in Miramshah, North Waziristan," said Roggio.

He added that it is clear that Pakistan's military and government considers militant organisations as a strategic asset and some see the militants as their ideological brethren.

Video of US House Foreign Affairs Committee discussion.



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