Islamabad—The US Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain, Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committed, has deeply appreciated the enormous successes achieved by Pakistan in its counter-terrorism campaign, which they said was so impressively visible during their trip to North Waziristan on Sunday.
The delegation made these comments during a meeting with Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry were also present in the meeting.
On the occasion, the Adviser reiterated the importance of regular high level contacts and added that parliamentary exchanges were particularly useful to understand each others perspective on issues of mutual interest and concerns.
He also appreciated Senator McCain for his positive comments regarding the importance of Pakistan-US relations at a time when the region was facing complex challenges.
In this context Senator McCain and his colleagues commended the transparent process of FATA stabilisation carried out by the Pakistan government.
They wished that other members of the US Congress were also 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, they added.
The Sartaj recounted Pakistan’s earnest efforts, particularly during the past few months, to keep the Pakistan-US partnership on track as the relationship remained important for ensuring peace and stability in the region.
He underscored the significance of the understanding of the leadership on both sides to make this partnership multidimensional and broader in canvas to cover all issues of mutual interest.
He highlighted the important accomplishments under the Pakistan-US Strategic Dialogue and its six specialised Working Groups.
With reference to the recent developments concerning the India-US relations, the Sartaj emphasised the need to maintain strategic balance in South Asia.
Sartaj also briefed the US Congress delegation about the recent meetings with the Afghan side, in Islamabad and on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Tashkent, on the vital issues of Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Management,
the Afghan Refugees and the Peace and Reconciliation process.
He stated that Pakistan remains committed to the QCG process in Afghanistan, which provided a broad, mutually agreed mechanism aimed at facilitating the government and people of Afghanistan to take the lead in restoring peace, stability and economic prosperity in their country.
No country had as much vital stakes in the success of these joint efforts, as Pakistan, the Adviser remarked.
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.
Earlier, the US delegation went to North Waziristan Agency to visit areas cleared of terrorists in operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Having seen firsthand, the erstwhile hideouts and communication infrastructure 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 the initial phases of operation Zarb-e-Azb Operation and have now voluntarily rejoined the battlefield.
The visitors appreciated the determination of all affected Pakistani soldiers and their unparalleled sacrifice for their motherland.