Pakistan on Thursday voiced concerns over the recent security pact signed between the United States, UK and Australia, saying the country did not subscribe to “bloc politics”.
The trilateral agreement – dubbed AUKUS — is seen as the latest move by the US and its allies to counter the rise of China.
The security alliance includes a joint effort by the US and the UK to help Australian military acquire nuclear-powered submarines. They stressed that the submarines would be nuclear-powered, and not carry nuclear weapons.
However, the Indo-Pacific defence deal has set in motion a festering dispute. China described the agreement as “the obsolete Cold War mentality” while France recalled its envoys from Washington and Canberra to protest against “stab in the back”.
The deal means Australia would scrap the $50 billion agreement with France to provide conventional submarines to Canberra.
When asked to comment on the development, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed told a weekly news briefing that nuclearisation was a shared concern of many countries.
“There are various angles and perspectives through which AUKUS is being gauged, and many countries, including friends and allies of these countries, are looking at it with different degrees of concern,” he said.
“As for Pakistan, in principle, we do not subscribe to bloc politics. Rather, we support broader, inclusive multilateral cooperation, based on open and transparent principles,” the spokesperson added.
He said peace and stability could be best ensured through cooperative frameworks and not by arrangements that might be perceived as directed against other countries or as a tool to expand self-interest.
The US is increasingly worried over the growing rise of China and has been working with its allies to counter China. On Saturday, President Joe Biden is set to host leaders from India, Japan and Australia under the umbrella of Quad – another alliance apparently designed to counter China.
Pakistan, being a close ally of China, is mindful of the negative implications in case tensions flare up between Beijing and Washington.
On the cancellation of cricket tours by New Zealand and the UK, the spokesperson said Pakistan was disappointed over the unilateral decisions taken by both countries. “We have conveyed our concerns and have also asked them to share with us the intelligence they have,” Asim said.
“Yes, it is not understandable and is indeed ironic that a few weeks ago with that chaotic situation in Afghanistan, requests were pouring in for Pakistan’s assistance in the evacuation process from Afghanistan.
Now, when the situation was even better, such a decision was unfortunate. Such matters can be dealt with in a better manner,” he added.
The spokesperson said it was unfortunate that the United States kept mum over the human rights abuses in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) despite dossier after dossiers presented to the UN by Pakistan.
“This is something that is unfortunately not new, and this is what you call ‘doublespeak’ and ‘double standards’. We have consistently maintained that human rights have to be respected and upheld universally, without any distinction or political motives,” he said.