Mr. Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister/Minister of State for Foreign Affairs interacted with mainstream US Print & Electronic media on 05 December 2016 at Pakistan Embassy today.
Mr. Tariq Fatemi apprised the media that he is currently visiting US to have interaction with current US administration and to reach out to the officials who are likely to join the new administration following recent US Presidential election. Mr. Fatemi underscored that Pakistan is looking forward to work closely with the new US administration and want the bilateral relations to be further strengthened in future. Once President-elect Donald Trump assumes his office, Pakistan is looking forward to meaningful engagement with USA in further improving bilateral relations and playing its role in the context of regional and international issues.
Mr. Fatemi briefed the media that Pakistan can play an instrumental role in promoting peace not only in Afghanistan but in the entire region. Pakistan has confluence of interests with USA and there is a solid track record of US and Pakistan working together over 07 decades to promote and tranquility at regional as well as international levels. Historically speaking, Pakistan stood with USA during cold war and is now a frontline state in a global war against terrorism for the last many years.
Highlighting Pakistan's unflinching commitment to putting an end to terrorism and militancy, Mr. Fatemi narrated that Pakistan has lost more than approx. five thousand army men in a ruthless war against terrorism. Pakistan has deputed more than 200,000 troops in its Northern Areas and along Pak-Afghan border and these troops are being used with full force alongwith the F-16s by Pakistan Air Force in bursting terrorists networks and demolishing their hideouts. It's an uphill task and Pakistan has paid a very heavy price. Pakistan today has far less and far few incidents of militancy and terrorism. At present, terrorists are on the run and are targeting soft targets out of frustration. Pakistan is pursuing National Action Plan and the whole nation is united in its resolve in getting rid of terrorism in all its manifestations.
Mr. Fatemi also underlined a need for a dialogue between Pakistan and India to resolve the long-standing issue of Kashmir between both the countries. He mentioned that there is an indigenous, widespread and homegrown uprising in Indian Occupied Kashmir which Indian Govt is trying to suppress through horrendous human rights violations. Over 16,000 Indians have been injured and approx. 600 blinded by using special kind of guns aimed at damaging the eye sight of innocent Kashmiris. In addition, the number of ceasefire violations have increased during recent months. These violations are targeted at innocent civilians which is not seen even during war.
Mr. Fatemi added that Pakistan of today is quite different. Since Nawaz Sharif Govt. has assumed power in 2013, a new chapter has begun in Pak-US relations. The Strategic dialogue between the two countries has been resumed and the agenda is broadened. Pakistan is an important democratic country in South Asia and has a vital stake in the region.
Mr. Fatemi gave detailed account of the progress Pakistan has made after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Govt assumed power in 2013. He said that Pakistan is a strong democratic country whose all state institutions are working in sync with each other. We are acting upon the National Action Plan to curb the menace of terrorism for the country. Pakistan has already made remarkable all round progress on economic front particularly in overcoming the energy crises. Marked improvement in law and order situation in Karachi is clearly visible in the unprecedented performance of the Pakistan Stock Exchange which has been appreciated widely around the globe.
Pakistan will be forthcoming in cooperating with new administration in US in achieving peace in Afghanistan and making Pakistan-India relations better for the sake of peace in the region, Mr. Fatemi concluded.