A two member Professional Staff delegation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) of the US Congress called on Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs on 02 May 2016. The delegation comprised Ms. Kristen Marquardt and Mr. Sajit Gandhi.

The SAPM welcomed the delegation members while noting that their visit to Pakistan was timely and important as it provided the opportunity to the Congressional Staff Members to exchange views with the concerned authorities in Pakistan on all areas of mutual interest, and assess the situation on ground concerning Pakistan’s committed efforts on various fronts.

During the meeting, a range of important issues were discussed. The SAPM particularly highlighted the fact that there was lack of sufficient appreciation for Pakistan’s whole hearted efforts it was undertaking jointly with the US administration, in countering the threat posed by terrorism. Topics concerning reduction in US defence and civilian assistance to Pakistan and Congressional hold on some already approved funds were also deliberated upon.

The SAPM also briefed the delegation in detail about Pakistan’s continued and sincere efforts together with the US, China and Afghanistan to promote peace in Afghanistan through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process. Views were also exchanged on a number of other issues.

Reiterating the spirit of long standing friendly relations and cooperation that the two countries have enjoyed for many decades, the SAPM noted that frequent and candid exchange of views between Pakistan and US on all issues of mutual interest and concern, was most valuable. The government and people of Pakistan also desired that Pakistan’s sincere efforts and sacrifices in confronting the serious security threats, in an increasingly complex regional situation, should be appreciated, at all levels. This expectation was more from our friends in the US, who have been our close aides and partners all along on these issues and better understand the nature and complexity of the challenges faced by Pakistan.

The SAPM highlighted that Pakistan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has taken a clear lead in strengthening its relations with neighboring countries, with the ultimate objective to achieve regional stability, peace, harmony and prosperity through enhanced economic linkages, connectivity and cooperation. Pakistan has shown utmost sincerity, in difficult circumstances, in taking action against all terror outfits in the country, for improvement of its relations with India, as well as to contribute positively in the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan.

In their remarks, the delegation members noted that US fully recognized that Pakistan has done a great deal in addressing various security challenges, primarily in its own interest. They reiterated that the efforts by the US to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity in its counterterrorism efforts, through continued provision of military equipment and assistance with approval of the US Congress, was a testimony to the strength of Pakistan-US bilateral relations. Our rapidly expanding cooperation in a number of other sectors, including energy, economy, education science and technology, law enforcement and strategic stability, under the Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue had put the bilateral relations on a sound footing.

Islamabad
2 May 2016

170/2016
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