Ahead of his first visit to the region since being appointed prime minister in April, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the military had no role in the countrys war against militant groups.
Sharif made the comments as he arrived in Saudi Arabia to attend a conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Pakistan’s armed forces are not a target for US aggression.
We will not be targeted by any force,” he said at a meeting with Saudi officials.
The United States launched a missile strike on a Pakistani military base in the northern tribal region of North Waziristan on Monday, which is part of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) militant group.
The US said the strike targeted an alleged “terrorist training camp” that was believed to be housing militants.
It said that Pakistan has also targeted several other militant groups including the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
“The US has failed to respond to Pakistan’s overtures to end its armed conflict against terrorist groups,” Sharif said.
“The United States has also failed to address the underlying causes of the ongoing conflict, including its failure to resolve the longstanding ethnic and sectarian divides in the region.”
He said Pakistan was now “working towards a negotiated solution” to the conflict, which has claimed more than 30,000 lives and displaced more than half a million.
Sharif also said Pakistan would work to improve its relations with Saudi Arabia, saying it would “respect its sovereign right to use force in self-defence”.
The visit comes a day after US President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to increase its military presence in the Middle East, citing a threat from Iran, which he said was “playing with fire”.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that the United States had made it clear to Iran that the US would “not tolerate a destabilising Iranian policy in the Persian Gulf”.
Trump told the leaders of the five Gulf Arab states that the region was at “the crossroads”, and he called for “a new era of cooperation and stability”.