Pakistan will keep it's security interests even if it had to make US an adversary: Former US Ambassador

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Pakistan will keep it's security interests even if it had to make US an adversary: Former US Ambassador

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is weighing its options carefully. The suspension of around $1.2 billion in assistance and Trump's accusations of Pakistani “lies and deceit" <link> for allowing Taliban havens have stirred anger and demands from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan for both land and air links to be cut.

Pakistan's ambassador in Washington, Aizaz Chaudhry, indicated such steps weren't imminent, urging greater US cooperation on counterterrorism.

But he warned that further downward spiralling in US-Pakistani ties could create a situation in which “everything will be on table.”

Chaudhry cited Pakistan's longstanding complaints that its efforts have been unappreciated, claiming that most leaders of the Haqqani network which the US hopes to eradicate have fled to Afghanistan. Critics say Pakistan's military only targets insurgents threatening Pakistan itself.

“The problem is we have a porous open border and it's like a revolving door,” Chaudhry told the Associated Press.

“These elements tend to come back, and travel back and forth, but there is no organised presence or safe havens inside Pakistan.” Republicans and Democrats in America aren't sold.

Lawmakers have urged targeted financial sanctions against Pakistani intelligence officials linked to militants, and for Pakistan to lose its “non-Nato ally” status that offers preferential access to US military technology.

Zalmay Khalilzad, a former US ambassador in Kabul, is among hawks advocating Pakistan be declared a state sponsor of terrorism unless it cooperates.

But others who've worked with the Pakistanis fear coercion could backfire at a time they're hedging their bets, unsure America will win in Afghanistan.

A tacit Pakistani alliance with the Taliban will appear “more important to them than ever as we turn once again from an ally into an adversary,” said Ryan Crocker, who was US ambassador in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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