Islamabad, 11 December 2021 (TDI): A four-member delegation of the United States (U.S) Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Senator Angus King, has arrived in Pakistan for an official visit.
The other members of the delegation include Senators Richard Burr, John Cornyn, and Benjamin Sasse.
The official sources have confirmed the visit by U.S lawmakers and mentioned the purpose of this official visit. The delegation during its stay in Islamabad will interact with the civil-military leadership to discuss matters of mutual concern.
Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood welcomed the delegation and further highlighted that the U.S delegation will interact with Pakistani leadership to further bilateral defense cooperation and to address the bottlenecks of regional matters, especially Afghanistan.
During its stay in Islamabad, he mentioned that the delegation would be briefed about Indo-Pak relations in the context of the latest and prevailing situation of Kashmir.
The officials of Pakistan would also build the confidence of the U.S delegation about threatening statements from Indian top leaders against Pakistan.
The U.S delegation is on a visit to Pakistan at a time when bilateral ties between the two states are facing the odd hours.
The sources said a comprehensive briefing would also be given to the delegation about the role Pakistan played in the peace and stability of the region in the context of Afghanistan.
Pakistan also took a decision to skip the summit on democracy convened by U.S President Joe Biden, held on December 9-10, 2021, which experts believe could cause serious impacts on already strained Pakistan and US relations.
Meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan
During the meeting, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan remarked that Pakistan has enjoyed long-standing relations with the U.S since its inception. He further added that Pakistan values its relationship and hopes to expand them in all spheres, as it was in past, particularly in the economic dimension.
Warmly welcoming the senators, PM Imran Khan hoped that the recent visit of Congressional delegations will help to strengthen public diplomacy and also to develop mutual understanding to rebuild and reconstruct the older ties.
He further mentioned that intense and strong partnership between the two states was in the mutual interest of both countries and proved to be critical for regional peace and security.
With regard to the evolving situation in Afghanistan, PM Imran Khan urged the U.S to engage with Pakistan to achieve shared objectives of peace, stability, and economic balance.
He further emphasized taking efficient steps and encouraging the international community to support Afghanistan in combating the humanitarian crisis and economic disorder.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the significance of bilateral cooperation to deal with multiple issues such as terrorism and security threats.
Moreover, he apprised the delegation about Kashmir Saga and bleeding humanity in the region and urged the U.S to play its role in the maintenance of peace in the region.
The Senator recalled the collective efforts of Pakistan and the U.S in promoting peace and security globally and appreciated the recent contribution of Pakistan in supporting the peace process in Afghanistan.
It is pertinent to mention that the senators reaffirmed their commitments to enhance bilateral relations. The delegation also emphasized that the U.S and Pakistan should make determined efforts to promote trade, investment, and economic cooperation, considering the attractive geopolitical location of Pakistan.
Meeting with Chief of Army Staff
The delegation also held a meeting with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The meeting marked a discussion of Pak-U.S bilateral relations, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
The COAS remarked that Pakistan wishes to maintain cordial ties with all regional players. The Army Chief also reiterated the need for collective and constructive global engagement on Afghanistan to avert a humanitarian and economic crisis.
Moreover, the COAS thanked the delegation for fostering mutual understanding of geopolitical and security situation in view of looming challenges.
The visiting delegation appreciated Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan and pledged to further enhance diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan at all levels.