Spy agencies must help forge trust: Gen Raheel

Advises fine balance in relations with three world powers


Our Correspondent January 19, 2017
Former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif.

DAVOS/ SWITZERLAND: Intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan will have to play a key role in overcoming the air of mistrust between the two countries, said former chief of army staff General (retd) Raheel Sharif.

Gen Raheel said that during his tenure he had made progress in relations with Afghanistan and expressed the hope that his successor, General Qamar Bajwa, would make progress in this regard.

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General Raheel was speaking at a dinner hosted in his honor by the chairman of the Pathfinder Group, Ikram Sehgal on the sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting at Davos in Switzerland.

General Raheel’s comments suggested that both countries still had a lot of work to improve strained relations.

He said that during his tenure, military-to-military ties between Pakistan and the United States had improved a lot and he enjoyed good relations with US military heads.

“In my time, the military-to-military relations were very good, if not excellent, and we respected each other,” said the former chief. He said that he preferred doing things in an “open and frank” manner.

During the first day of the four-day annual WEF meeting, he presented Pakistan’s case in an emphatic manner.

His appearances at two formal sessions of the WEF also helped project a positive image of the country, as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not participate in the meeting despite his presence in Switzerland. However, the premier held bilateral meetings with various world leaders.

General (retd) Raheel said that Pakistan needed to have a fine balance in its relations with three global powers and that was what exactly it was doing. He said that the country had good relations with resurging and existing global powers.

He said that with a positive and solid approach, one could move forward in having good relations with China, Afghanistan and the Gulf countries.

Gen Raheel reiterated that Pakistan wanted peace with all its neighbours with dignity and honour.

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Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United Nations Zamir Akram said that US and China ties were turning confrontational and Pakistan needed to play a role in this regard. He said that China was capable of dealing with both the US and India but things were different in case of Pakistan.

Zamir Akram’s comments indicated the formation of new regional blocs in the region. After launch of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), global and regional powers had repositioned themselves.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2017.

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