McCain ap­plauds...

Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­CIONAL -

counter-ter­ror­ism cam­paign, which they said was so im­pres­sively vis­i­ble dur­ing their trip to North Waziris­tan on Sun­day.

The del­e­ga­tion made th­ese com­ments dur­ing a meet­ing with Ad­viser on For­eign Af­fairs Sar­taj Aziz, Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Prime Min­is­ter on For­eign Af­fairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and For­eign Sec­re­tary Aizaz Ah­mad Chaudhry were also present in the meet­ing.

On the oc­ca­sion, the Ad­viser re­it­er­ated the im­por­tance of reg­u­lar high level con­tacts and added that par­lia­men­tary ex­changes were par­tic­u­larly use­ful to un­der­stand each others per­spec­tive on is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est and con­cerns.

He also ap­pre­ci­ated Sen­a­tor McCain for his pos­i­tive com­ments re­gard­ing the im­por­tance of Pak­istan-US re­la­tions at a time when the re­gion was fac­ing complex chal­lenges.

In this con­text Sen­a­tor McCain and his col­leagues com­mended the trans­par­ent process of FATA sta­bil­i­sa­tion car­ried out by the Pak­istan gov­ern­ment.

They wished that other mem­bers of the US Congress were also present with them to wit­ness the out­come of the suc­cess­ful mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in North Waziris­tan, them­selves.

The US Congress will be briefed ap­pro­pri­ately for con­tin­ued sup­port to Pak­istan in its ef­forts to­wards eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and com­plete erad­i­ca­tion of ter­ror­ism from the coun­try, they added.

The Sar­taj re­counted Pak­istan’s earnest ef­forts, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the past few months, to keep the Pak­istan-US part­ner­ship on track as the re­la­tion­ship re­mained im­por­tant for en­sur­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.

He un­der­scored the sig­nif­i­cance of the un­der­stand­ing of the lead­er­ship on both sides to make this part­ner­ship mul­ti­di­men­sional and broader in can­vas to cover all is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est.

He high­lighted the im­por­tant ac­com­plish­ments un­der the Pak­istan-US Strate­gic Di­a­logue and its six spe­cialised Work­ing Groups.

With ref­er­ence to the re­cent de­vel­op­ments con­cern­ing the In­dia-US re­la­tions, the Sar­taj em­pha­sised the need to main­tain strate­gic bal­ance in South Asia.

Sar­taj also briefed the US Congress del­e­ga­tion about the re­cent meet­ings with the Afghan side, in Is­lam­abad and on the side­lines of the SCO Sum­mit in Tashkent, on the vi­tal is­sues of Pak­istan-Afghanistan Bor­der Man­age­ment, the Afghan Refugees and the Peace and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process.

He stated that Pak­istan re­mains com­mit­ted to the QCG process in Afghanistan, which pro­vided a broad, mu­tu­ally agreed mech­a­nism aimed at fa­cil­i­tat­ing the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Afghanistan to take the lead in restor­ing peace, sta­bil­ity and eco­nomic pros­per­ity in their coun­try.

No coun­try had as much vi­tal stakes in the suc­cess of th­ese joint ef­forts, as Pak­istan, the Ad­viser re­marked.

The US del­e­ga­tion re­it­er­ated the im­por­tance the US gov­ern­ment and Congress at­tached to the sta­bil­ity and con­tin­ued progress of Pak­istan.

In view of the grow­ing chal­lenges con­fronting the world, the Sen­a­tors rec­og­nized the need for greater contact be­tween Pak­istan and the US and to work to­gether to ad­dress the re­gional and global chal­lenges.

They stressed that the Pak­istan-US re­la­tions have main­tained their strate­gic di­men­sion over the decades and that the re­la­tion­ship would re­tain its vigor in the years ahead.

The US Sen­a­tors high­lighted the sig­nif­i­cance of im­proved re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan and said that strength­en­ing of the In­dia-US bi­lat­eral ties did not in any way im­pinge upon or di­min­ish the im­por­tance of US re­la­tions with Pak­istan.

Sen­a­tor McCain and his col­leagues also wel­comed closer co­or­di­na­tion be­tween Pak­istan and Afghanistan on var­i­ous complex is­sues.

Ear­lier, the US del­e­ga­tion went to North Waziris­tan Agency to visit ar­eas cleared of ter­ror­ists in op­er­a­tion Zarb-e-Azb.

Hav­ing seen first­hand, the erst­while hide­outs and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture cleared of ter­ror­ists, the del­e­ga­tion was highly appreciative of Pak Army’s ac­com­plish­ment of cleans­ing the en­tire area of North Waziris­tan right up to Pak-Afghan Bor­der.

Sen­a­tors also com­mended the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work be­ing car­ried out by Pak Army to re­set­tle tribal peo­ple back in their area with dig­nity and hon­our.

Later, the del­e­ga­tion also met with wounded sol­diers and of­fi­cers who were se­ri­ously af­fected dur­ing the ini­tial phases of op­er­a­tion Zarb-eAzb Op­er­a­tion and have now vol­un­tar­ily re­joined the bat­tle­field.

The visi­tors ap­pre­ci­ated the de­ter­mi­na­tion of all af­fected Pak­istani sol­diers and their un­par­al­leled sac­ri­fice for their moth­er­land.

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