• Says Pakistan is a reliable, effective partner of US
• ‘Pakistan has paid a heavy price to eliminate terrorism’
• ‘Pakistan would decide the scale, pace and reach of its counter-terrorism efforts’
• Says he came to US to touch base with the outgoing US administration and forge links with the new one
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi Thursday said that though Trump Administration was not yet in place, Pakistan was looking forward to strong ties between Pakistan and United States as they serve the cause of peace and stability in South Asia and the region beyond. He added that Pakistan was looking forward to work closely with the new President-elect and his team with particular focus on economic linkages and trade that formed a common denominator in the agenda of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President-elect Donald Trump.
Mr Fatemi was addressing a media briefing on his current visit to the US at the Pakistani Embassy.
In his opening remarks, Fatemi said that the primary purpose of his current official visit to the US was twofold: to touch base with the outgoing US administration by reviewing progress in the current bilateral relations and forge links with the new US administration that will assume office in January 2017.
“Pakistan aims at building a comprehensive, sustained and forward-looking relationship with the US,” Fatemi said.
“America should know that today’s Pakistan is a reliable, effective and serious partner of the United States in South Asia and the region beyond.
“The Trump administration should not forget the history of excellent relations between Pakistan and US that serves the cause of peace in our part of the world,” Mr Fatemi said.
Fatemi highlighted the tremendous sacrifices rendered by the people and security forces of Pakistan in the campaign against terrorism during his contacts in Washington.
He emphasized that Pakistan had paid a heavy price and was firmly committed to eliminating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. He, however, added that Pakistan, being a sovereign state, would decide the scale, pace and reach of its counter-terrorism efforts in line with its economic and operational limitations as well as other capacity constraints.
To a question on Kashmir, the SAPM stated that the dispute is on the agenda of the United Nation’s Security Council. He said there cannot be peace and stability in the region without the resolution of this long-standing dispute. He said that the Indian occupation forces in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir have unleashed a reign of terror through their brutal and suppressive tactics.
“United States must seek to promote a relationship between India and Pakistan that is in consonance with the aspirations of the two countries and also meet the aspirations of the Kashmiri people who are struggling for their just cause of self-determination,” he added.
Mr Trump and his Vice-President-elect Mike Pence have indicated that the new administration intends to engage with both Pakistan and India to resolve their issues.
Responding to a question of promoting US investment in Pakistan under the upcoming administration, Mr Fatemi observed that investors do not follow lines of any government. They look at the government policies and the reality on the ground.
“Today the inflation is the lowest in the country’s history and the foreign exchange reserves are record high. The impact of economic growth is visible from Karachi to Peshawar and the country is poised to achieve 5.5 percent growth in the current fiscal year,” he said.
He claimed that he had a productive round of meetings with Deputy Secretary of State Mr Antony Blinken and incumbent National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
During his stay in Washington, DC, he also met Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Corker and Senator John McCain.
He concluded the briefing by indicating that his current visit to US would be followed by other high-level visits.