A positive step forward in Pak-US relations: American Senators appreciate Pak achievements in counter terrorism campaign

The United States has appreciated the enormous successes achieved by Pakistan in its counterterrorism campaign which they said was so impressively visible during their trip to North Waziristan.

A four member bipartisan US Senate delegation led by Chairman Senate Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain during their visit to Islamabad commended the transparent process of FATA stabilization carried out by the Pakistan government.

The American Senators wished other members of the US Congress might also be 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.

The delegation went to North Waziristan Agency to visit areas cleared of terrorists in Op ZeA. Having seen firsthand, the erstwhile hide outs and communication infrastructure, been 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 initial phases Op ZarbeAzb and have now voluntarily rejoined the battlefield.  The visitors appreciated the determination and grit of all affected Pakistani soldiers and their unparalleled sacrifice for their motherland.

The delegation also held a meeting with General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at Rawalpindi and discussed meeting matters of mutual interest and regional security with particular reference to Afghanistan situation.

Senator McCain while acknowledging Pakistan’s successes in ZeA said Pak Army’s achievements in counter terrorism operations are phenomenal and reflect Pakistan’s determination to eliminate terrorism. He said Pakistan and US need to cement relations in all dimensions and must strive for greater coordination for optimal deliverance of peace dividend in the region.

COAS dilated upon security challenges faced by Pakistan and Pakistan’s contribution in regional stability and global peace. Pakistan’s successes in war on terror need for an effective border management across long porous Pak-Afghan border to check illegal movement on either side of the border were also discussed. COAS said that a stable Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest and relationship between both countries hold key for regional peace and security.

In their meeting with the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, 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.

In the meanwhile, Ambassador Richard Olson, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan met with the Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry and discussed the regional security situation and efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Olson appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan. He stated that the US supported Pakistan’s efforts on border management. He recognized that Pakistan’s role in hosting Afghan refugees for more than thirty-five years should not be forgotten by the international community. In this regard, he underlined the need for creating pull factors for sustainable repatriation of Afghan refugees.

Ambassador Richard Olson expressed appreciation for continued close cooperation between Pakistan and the United States on issues of mutual interest. He mentioned that Pakistan’s successes in counter-terrorism operations and stabilization of the economy were remarkable. He also congratulated Pakistan for significant reduction in polio cases. Both sides agreed on continued constructive engagement between Pakistan and the United States in the areas of trade, investment, education, health and energy.

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