Pakistan is challenging the U.S. State Department's official account of a call that happened on Thursday between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the nation's new prime minister, Imran Khan, with Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanding that the United States "immediately" amend its "factually incorrect statement."
A statement released after the call by State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in part, "Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process."
Dr. Mohammad Faisal, a spokesperson for Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded on Twitter, asserting that "there was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan."
Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Dept on today’s phone call btwn PM Khan & Sec Pompeo. There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This shd be immediately corrected.— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) August 23, 2018
At a press conference following that exchange, Nauert said, "I can only say we stand by our readout."
Throughout his political career, Khan has been an aggressive and outspoken critics of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, especially in the tribal areas that run along the border with neighboring Afghanistan.
During the press conference, Nauert called Pakistan "an important partner" in the region, and added that "the secretary had a good call with the new prime minister and we look forward to having a good relationship with them in the future."
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday confirmed that Pompeo is scheduled to visit Pakistan on Sept. 5. While Qureshi said the conversation between Khan and Pompeo was "very good," telling reporters, "You will be surprised to know that the Pompeo urged a productive bilateral relationship with Pakistan," he reiterated his nation's call for a correction.
Khan, a former cricket star, was sworn in as prime minister last week following the electoral victory of his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), in July. As Common Dreams has reported, Khan ran on "vows to address Pakistan's widespread poverty, confront rampant corruption, and pursue a more 'balanced' foreign policy with the nation's neighbors and the United States."