WASHINGTON: Terming the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s four-day visit to the United States as successful, Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz Friday said it had laid the foundation of `multidimensional and broad-based’ partnership between the two countries.
Talking to the reporters here after the culmination of the visit, he said Pak-US bilateral ties have improved during the last two years comparing the past when there had been some hiccups in the bilateral relations that also caused suspension of strategic dialogue.
He said six working groups were already working to improve the Pak-US ties; however it was needed to address each other’s concerns through such an interaction.
He said the joint statement issued after the meeting between Prime Minister Sharif and US President Barack Obama had dispelled the negative impressions being created in media about the bilateral ties vis-…-vis Pakistan’s nuclear program and action against militancy.
He said Pakistan has successfully convinced the US authorities that Pakistan’s nuclear programme was meant to maintain minimum deterrence what he said was also essential for stability in South Asia.
Sartaj Aziz, who was accompanied by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and Pakistan’s US Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani, told media that the international community has recognized safety and credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
He said the US has lauded Pakistan’s bold action against terrorists besides acknowledging the sacrifices the country rendered during this course.
He said due the effective implementation of the National Action Plan, the terrorist attacks have reduced by around 60 to 70 percent adding that 190,000 Pakistani troops had been deployed in tribal areas to fight the menace.
About the US’ concern regarding action against Haqqani Network, he said Pakistan had made them clear that indiscriminate action would be taken gradually against all the groups involved in terrorism.
He said Prime Minister has reiterated his stance that Pakistan will not allow the misuse of its soil for cross-border terrorism, though Zarb-e-Azb operation has already weakened the terrorists to a great extent.
The Foreign Advisor said Pakistan’s concerns were mainly about India including hostile statements, ceasefire violations and increased intervention in Pakistan by India.
He said Pakistan was ready for dialogue but India was putting preconditions. He said the joint statement has clearly called for steps to resolve all outstanding issues including Kashmir, besides setting up a mechanism to end aggression at the Line of Control.
He said both Pakistan and US have agreed to make concerted efforts to revive the peace process in Afghanistan that had been disrupted by some elements by breaking the news about death of Mulla Omar.
He said this visit would help broaden the Pak-US ties beyond security issues to education, economy and defence cooperation.
About the new initiatives decided between Pakistan and the US, he said both the countries have agreed for a Clean Energy Partnership to produce 3000 megawatts of electricity. Besides, an education corridor would be established introducing modern facilities and capacity building in the education sector.
Sartaj Aziz said access to US markets, Pakistan’s participation in bidding process of US defence contracts, Shale gas and defence production cooperation are among the initiatives in the pipeline.