Washington, Feb 7 : Former Pakistan Ambassador to the US General (retired) Jehangir Karamat has said that he foresees a sustained long-term strategic relationship between Islamabad and Washington, but opposed an American idea of countering terrorism from Pakistani soil.
"In fact, the al-Qaeda and the Taliban may welcome that kind of an action, nobody else will, and of course, it will also strengthen the Islamist connection that militants are very keen on and weaken the secular and liberal elements," Karamat said at the Brookings Institution.
He emphasised to look at the whole situation "within the US-Pakistan strategic relationship, not to go into areas, which will not help us combat this threat, and which will undermine the institutions, which we are going to rely on to tackle this threat.
We need to go into a very comprehensive strategy over a long-term, because it is going to be there for several years, it's not going to go away in a hurry, Karamat said while addressing a gathering at a Washington think tank along side ex-US CENTCOM chief General (retired) Anthony Zinni and former US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
"There is no doubt in my mind that it (US-Pakistan) is a strategic relationship-that we have moved into an era where if the US could walk away from the regions in the past, it cannot do so now --- if it does so, it risks seriously undermining, destabilizing areas which are very important for US. So I don't see that happening," a Pakistan news agency quoted him, as saying.
Karamat went on to say that the US-Pakistan strategic relationship has a great future and "we must do everything to make sure that it keeps progressing in the direction that we want to move."
He also favoured a holistic strategy - having military, political and development prongs - to curb extremism threat.