ISLAMABAD - The United States has once again offered Pakistan to “act jointly” against the extremists and terrorists in Pakistan citing the “rising” religious groups.
Senior officials at the foreign ministry said the US had shown concern over Pakistan’s “failure” to check the extremists’ advances as the government struggled to contain a sit-in in Islamabad by a religious group.
“They [the US] were furious over [Jamaatud Dawa chief] Hafiz Mohammed Saeed’s release. The rise of religious groups like Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah has infuriated them further. They want us to discourage them before they take over the country,” one official told The Nation citing contacts with Washington.
Over the weekend, the White House warned that the Pak-US ties could be affected, if Islamabad did not re-arrest and prosecute Hafiz Saeed.
A White House statement said: “Pakistani government now has an opportunity to demonstrate its seriousness in confronting all forms of terrorism, without distinction, by arresting and charging Hafiz Saeed for his crimes.”
Last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington was concerned that extremist groups were threatening Pakistan’s “stability and security”.
This came after the US President, Donald Trump, accused Pakistan of protecting terrorists who were threatening regional peace.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan being a sovereign country could not accept the idea of joint operation with the US against the militants and extremists inside Pakistan.
The US and Afghanistan allege Haqqani network leaders were hiding in Pakistan.
Islamabad told Washington it was willing to work with them but the “expectations should be logical.”