Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistan is fully committed to a long term, broad based and stable strategic relationship with the U.S. These relations, he added, are vitally important not bilaterally but also for the regional stability and overall peace in the world. Hence, it is imperative for both the sides, he said, to make every possible endeavour for further strengthening of the existing cordial ties. The Prime Minister was talking to U.S. Congressional delegation led by Senator Buck Mukeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee that called on him at the PM’s House here today.
The Prime Minister said that Pakistan continues to confront courageously the menace of terrorism and has made unmatched sacrifices in human as well as in economic terms. While expressing his government’s gratitude for the U.S. assistance, the Prime Minister called for development of a mechanism through which the required provision of equipment and assistance for building the capacity of Pakistan’s Armed Forces can flow unhindered. He underlined the fact that the whole nation of Pakistan was united in rooting out the terrorism and war against terror cannot be won without the support of the masses but the gains in it must be consolidated through socio-economic and infrastructure development projects and investment in the affected areas. This Prime Minister termed these measures as pre-requisite for secluding the extremists and terrorists by reducing their influence.
The Prime Minister thanked the U.S. government for its generous support towards his government’s Flood Relief efforts and hoped that other donor countries would also follow suite to deliver on their pledges enabling his government to implement its National Citizen Compensation Program through cash assistance to the flood affectees for rebuilding their homes and hearths.
The Prime Minister hoped that the donors would be forthcoming in using the Government channels for disbursement of their assistance which were very transparent and have been tried for successful rehabilitation of internally displaced persons of Malakand.
The Prime Minister called for a common strategy between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US for realization of a durable peace, stability development and progress, in Afghanistan. He apprised the U.S. Congressmen of the recent interaction between Pakistan and Afghanistan including his own visit to Kabul in December which was followed by Chairman of High Peace Council Prof Burhanuddin Rabbani and Afghan Foreign Minister’s visits to Pakistan. The Prime Minister said that Pakistan was keenly looking forward to the Ministerial Level Pakistan-U.S.-Afghanistan trilateral meeting and hoped that it will pave the way for developing shared understanding on security issues particularly in the light of NATO, ISAF Transition Plan and deliverable for regional collective peace and prosperity. He emphasized that Pakistan and US have to be on the same page with regard to the future of Afghanistan.
While responding to U.S. Congressmen’s concern about the welfare of Raymond Davis, the Prime Minister assured them that he has been extended due facilities and security by the Provincial Government. The matter, he said, is subjudice and would be decided by the Court.
The U.S. Congressional delegation commended Pakistan’s pivotal role in the war against terror and expressed the gratitude of U.S. Government and Congress for the sacrifices made by Pakistan’s Armed Forces and security personnel. They also recognized the economic difficulties of Pakistan aggravated by the unprecedented devastating floods of last year. They agreed with the Prime Minister that both sides through their concerted efforts should build up the relations which are significant for international peace.
The other members of the delegation include Johan Kline, Member of the House Armed Services Committee and Silvestre Reyes, Member of the House Armed Services Committee. Minister for Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Interior Senator A Rehman Malik, Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Secretary Defence and other senior officers were present in the meeting.