Sustained Pak-US partnership essential to deal with various challenges: PM

ISLAMABAD, July 03 (TNS): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said that as longstanding partners and strategic allies, a sustained and strong Pak-US partnership was essential to deal with the various challenges confronting the region and beyond.
According to a PM House statement, he expressed these while talking to a five-member US Senate delegation led by Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in Islamabad.
Welcoming the high powered, bipartisan US Senate delegation, the Prime Minister apprised the delegation about his Government’s efforts over the last four years to combat terrorism and that its success could be measured by the markedly improved security situation in Pakistan.
He also highlighted the economic turnaround that manifested in enhanced investor interest and confidence in Pakistan.
The Prime Minister underscored his government’s commitment to good neighborly relations and highlighted various initiatives to improve relations with Afghanistan and India.
On Afghanistan, Prime Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to support all efforts aimed at lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. He said, “Concerted efforts were needed for a politically negotiated settlement under an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace process.”
The Prime Minister called a strong partnership between the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan as a prerequisite for achieving sustainable peace in Afghanistan. In this regard, he also stressed the importance of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) mechanism to facilitate Afghan reconciliation.
With reference to Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister expressed serious concern over the gross human rights violations and brutal repression of unarmed Kashmiris. He underscored the legitimacy of the Kashmir cause and urged the world community, especially the United States to play its role in ending the sufferings of the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Thanking the Prime Minister, Senator McCain agreed that continued close cooperation between the US and Pakistan was essential for securing peace and stability in the region. He said, “US attaches importance to its relations with Pakistan, which remained a close friend and ally.”
The Senators appreciated the contributions and sacrifices made by Pakistan and the successes achieved in the fight against terrorism. The Senators also praised the economic turnaround in Pakistan and stressed the importance of intensifying mutually beneficial trade and investment cooperation.
Other members of the delegation included Senators Lindsey Graham (Republican), Elizbeth Warren (Democrat), Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat) and David Perdue (Republican).
The Prime Minister was assisted by Federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. Nasser Khan Janjua and other senior officials.