ISLAMABAD /LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that for long term and sustained Pakistan-US ties it was important that the relationship be based on transparency, mutual respect and mutual interest and is authenticated by the true representatives of the people.
During his meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides at the Governor House in Lahore on Wednesday, the President said that Pakistan attached great deal of importance to its relationship with the United States and both countries had mutuality of interests to pursue. He, however, added that the Government was awaiting the completion of a Parliamentary review process to reset Pakistan’s engagement policy with the US.
The President stressed that while the democratic process may seem long and noisy, but should be valued for its lasting and fruitful effect.
The US Deputy Secretary of State said that the US recognises Pakistan’s role in the fight against militants and wanted to restore multifaceted cooperation and relationship that it enjoyed with Pakistan until recently. He said rebuilding the trust and confidence between the two countries was essential for pursuing common objectives.
Nides said that US respected the Parliamentary review process in Pakistan and looks forward to its early completion.
The President during the meeting emphasised on the fact that drone attacks were counter-productive and violated the country’s sovereignty. He said that civilian casualties as a result of drone attacks caused deep resentment and fueled extremism and militancy for which both countries have been endeavouring against.
Discussing situation in Afghanistan, the President said that narco-trafficking and narco-financing were among the major challenges that needed to be tackled urgently. He said that the international community and NATO/ISAF should address the issue of drugs and eliminate the funding source of militants.
He said that it was important that an incentivised framework is developed to attract multinationals to make investments in Afghanistan and the region.
The Deputy Secretary of State was accompanied by the US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, Assistant Secretary of Defence Dr Peter Lavoy, Daniel Feldman, Deputy Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Governor Punjab, Sardar Latif Khosa, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jillani, Pakistan Ambassador to US Sherry Rehman, and other high officials attended the meeting.
New rules of engagement must respect sovereignty: Gilani
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday that the ongoing Parliamentary review process would bring transparency and credibility to rules of engagement with the USA, NATO and the ISAF.
Talking to US Deputy Secretary of State Nides at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad, Gilani said relations with US must be based on mutual respect and mutual interest. The Prime Minister reiterated that the US, the NATO and the ISAF must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan. The Prime Minister said Pakistan would like to build bilateral relations with the United States of America.