US defense secretary did not threaten to stop Pakistan aid: FO

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday clarified that US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel held positive talks with Pakistan leadership during his visit to Pakistan and did not convey any threat to stop assistance. Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry told media during weekly briefing in Islamabad today that news reports regarding threats by the US defence secretary to halt aid for Pakistan are baseless.

He said the issue of suspending Nato supply was discussed at the meetings.

He said Pak-US relations are on a positive trajectory and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington has laid a foundation for these strong relations.

The FO spokesman said both the countries have difference of opinion on some issues including drone attacks. He said Pakistan did raise the issue of drone attacks with the US Defence Secretary.

The spokesman while replying to a question about the status of Nato supply through Pakistan said that they are continuing through southern routes.

Replying to a question, the spokesman said visit of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to New Delhi is continuity of the efforts of the present government to normalise relations between the two countries.

The spokesman said the two countries need to resume dialogue process as it is the only way to resolve all outstanding issues.

Replying to a question, the spokesman said Taliban leader Mullah Baradar is free and can meet anyone. He said the delegation of High Peace Council from Afghanistan visited Pakistan and held meetings with Mullah Baradar.

He said Pakistan released him so that he could participate in the peace process.

Replying to a question, he termed Pakistan-Iran ties as excellent and said that Pakistan is fully committed to the gas pipeline project between the two countries.