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Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment and resolve to fight the menace of extremism and terrorism. He, however, underlined the imperative of mutual trust, mutual interest and respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty to strengthen Pakistan’s national consensus in the war against terror and thus achieving the common objective of defeating the forces of terror. Pakistan, he added, desires due recognition and support of
international community, particularly of the US at this stage rather than negative messaging and uncalled for criticism, emanating from there.

The Prime Minister was talking to US Delegation led by Senator John F. Kerry, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee who called on him at the PM’s House here this morning.

The Prime Minister emphasized that no other country has been affected as Pakistan in terms of human sacrifices and socio-economic cost in the war against terror. Government in Pakistan, he emphasized, cannot ignore the sentiments and views of its people and the international community has to be sensitive on their legitimate concerns about the sovereignty, security and integrity for ensuring their continued support, he added.

The Prime Minister called for the strategic partnership between the two countries to focus on developing a joint strategy which gives ownership of the campaign to the people and government of Pakistan. This, he said, was essential for the bilateral relations to move forward on long term, stable and constructive basis. He underlined that Pakistan was part of the solution for ensuring lasting peace in the region and it was the need of the hour that Pakistan and US should rebuild the trust and confidence between their governments and institutions. The Prime Minister suggested that the political, military and intelligence tracks of interaction between Pakistan and US should proceed simultaneously and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and US State Department should take the lead on working out the modalities of the joint strategy to be adopted for avoiding any possible negative impact on the relations in the future. Both the countries, he said, have to be on the same page with regard to security situation in the region and US must take into account Pakistan’s core national interests in its policies.

US Senator John Kerry while responding to the Prime Minister’s views said that US recognizes Pakistan’s contribution and sacrifices made in the war against terrorism. The strategic relations build up between the two countries require, he said, new impetus to strengthen the relations in the interest of regional peace and stability.

Senator John Kerry mentioned that he emphatically wanted to dispel the impression that US is interested to take over Pakistan’s Nuclear installations. He said that he can write this with his blood that we have no interest in Pakistan’s nuclear assets, however it is our desire to see these well protected and secure under proper command and control system.

Senator John Kerry agreed with the Prime Minister that the sentiments and passion of the people of the two countries have to be given due consideration while developing understanding between the two friendly countries. While referring to the current situation he said these are moments to change and improve our relationship and open up dialogue to build reliable ties. As regard the regional security he added that Pakistan is the key to the solution of problems and it has a major role to bring about peace and stability in the region.

Minister for Defence Ch Ahmad Mukhtar, Minister for Interior Senator A Rehman Malik, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Secretaries Foreign Affairs, Defence, Interior, Pakistan Ambassador to US Mr Hussain Haqqani, US Ambassador Mr Cameron Munter and other senior officers were also present in the meeting.

16 May 2011

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