Target Fazalullah in Afghanistan: COAS

 RAWALPINDI: Chief of army staff General Raheel Sharif met the US delegation in Rawalpindi. The delegation includes Richard Wilson and General John Nicholson.

According to reports, General Raheel Sharif showed his concern over US drone strikes on Pakistan’s soil. He said that, drone strikes within the territory of Pakistan are a threat to its sovereignty and integrity.

COAS also demanded that Mullah Fazalullah and TTP hideouts must be targeted in Afghanistan. He further said that the May 21 drone strikes hurt the Pak-US bilateral relations.

General Sharif stressed the importance of further strengthening Pak-Afghan border security to avoid any future mishap.

Future strikes could impact Pak-US ties: Pakistan warns

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday conveyed a strong message to the United States of America on violation of its sovereignty by a drone strike targeting Afghan Taliban leader and said any future strike would be detrimental to their ties.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told the visiting US delegation that the May 21 drone strike was not only a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and breach of the principles of the United Nation’s Charter, but has also vitiated bilateral ties.

“It was emphasized that any future drone strike in Pakistan will be detrimental to our common desire to strengthen relations,” according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office here on Friday.

A US drone strike killed the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Balochistan as he was travelling in a car after crossing into Pakistan from Iran.

Sartaj was talking to US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson and Dr. Peter Lavoy, Senior Adviser and Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council who met him here at the Foreign Office. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry also attended the meeting.

“Candid discussions” were held on bilateral relations, regional security situation and the Afghan peace process in the wake of May 21 drone strike in Balochistan, a statement from the Foreign Office said.

The Adviser expressed his concern that the drone strike had seriously undermined the ongoing efforts for Afghan peace and reconciliation process at a time when Pakistan, along with other Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) countries, was engaged in serious efforts to revive peace talks between Afghan Government and the Taliban.

The Foreign Secretary recalled that in QCG’s fifth meeting on May 18, it was decided that peace negotiations remained the only option for a political settlement.

He emphasized that this would require collective efforts on the part of all QCG members to promote lasting peace in Afghanistan.

In response to US queries on safe havens for Taliban, it was emphasized that Pakistan was already pursuing its objective of eliminating all militants and terrorists from its soil in accordance with the National Action Plan.

“At the same time, Pakistan would have to safeguard its own security through better border management and early repatriation of Afghan refugees,” the statement said.

“Pakistan also expects action by Afghan forces against Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan operatives in Afghanistan. These steps would also help to promote better relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan and reduce mistrust,” the Foreign Office said.

Dr. Peter Lavoy, while conveying President Obama’s good wishes for Prime Minister’s speedy recovery, said that

President Obama was committed to improving relations with Pakistan as emphasized during Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in October 2015. –APP

US delegation calls on Sartaj Aziz to discuss regional situation

ISLAMABAD: A special US delegation Friday held a meeting with adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to discuss the fallout from a May 21 drone attack that killed Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry had said that Peter Lavoy, head of Washington’s South Asia desk at the National Security Council, and Richard Olson, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, are meeting today with the civilian and military leaders in the first high-level exchange since the drone strike.

According to a Pakistan Radio report, the meeting discussed bilateral relations and regional situation.

Pakistan’s foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and US Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale were also present at the meeting.

Pakistan considers the drone strike a violation of sovereignty, while the US accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens for militants.