The United States believes Pakistan will succeed in the ongoing war against terrorism, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday while acknowledging Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts.
Speaking to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by the telephone, the American leader said Pakistan has shown great progress in the war against terrorism. Obama made the phone call to offer condolences on Sunday’s deadly suicide bombing in Lahore.
Seventy-three people – mostly women and children – were killed and hundreds others injured when a suicide bomber struck near children’s swings at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal public park in Lahore in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the nation’s history.
“Under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s leadership, Pakistan has made great progress in the fight against terrorism. The United States believes Pakistan will succeed in this war,” a handout released by the prime minister’s media office quoted President Obama as saying.
The US president extended condolences on behalf of the American people over the Lahore bombing. He requested Premier Nawaz to convey his feelings to the families and relatives of those killed and injured in the blast.
“The people of the United States stand with the government and people of Pakistan in this tragic moment. We will extend every help to Pakistan so that it can eliminate terror from its soil,” President Obama told Prime Minister Nawaz, according to the handout.
The prime minister, in turn, told the US president that an invisible enemy was killing innocent people in Pakistan, who provided a soft target to terrorists due their broken infrastructure. He said that despite this, his resolve and the resolve of the Pakistani nation to fight and eliminate terror was growing stronger day by day.
“The Pakistani nation will win the war against the invisible enemy and its extremist ideology,” he added.
President Obama appreciated Prime Minister Nawaz’s decision to stay back with his nation in the testing time and choosing not to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington which is being held this week. He told the Pakistani premier that that they would meet in near future and added that he was eagerly waiting for that meeting.
Maldives president extends condolences
President of the Maldives Abdullah Yameen also phoned Prime Minister Nawaz on Wednesday and extended his deepest condolences on the loss of precious lives in the Lahore terror attack.
According to a statement issued by his office, Premier Nawaz told President Yameen that terrorists had resorted to hitting soft targets, like children and women, because they were on the run. “Terrorism has become a serious global threat. We are determined to wipe out terrorism from our soil,” the prime minister added.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2016.