The United States (US) has “at no stage or at any level even asked” Pakistan for military bases, as its forces depart from Afghanistan, a senior western diplomat has said, reports The News.
“Nobody in the entire US administration asked for bases, and yet there is so much focus on the issue in Pakistan,” said the official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak publicly on the subject.
“The recurring debate and the hashtag ‘Absolutely Not’ campaign in Pakistan has left everyone scratching their heads in Washington,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan in an interview with Jonathan Swan of HBO Axios, in June, reiterated Pakistan’s stance on the use of military bases and categorically stated that Islamabad will not allow it.
The prime minister was again asked by the US media for his comments on giving access to the CIA to military bases.
“Will you allow the American government to have the CIA here in Pakistan to conduct cross-border counter-terrorism missions against Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban?” Swan asked the premier.
“Absolutely not,” PM Khan responded.
Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said earlier that Pakistan wants a stable Afghanistan, but there are some elements who do not want peace in the region.
The FM had categorically stated that Pakistan has refused to give military bases to the US and added that he had told all the political parties in a briefing that they have no such intention.
“Search for bases could be their wish. There’s no question of giving them bases, we have to see our interest.”