Pakistan looks forward to working with Trump: FO

Following the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election, the Foreign Office on Thursday said that Pakistan looks forward to work with the new administration in pursuit of the common ideals of freedom, democracy and prosperity.

In his weekly media briefing, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan firmly believes that given the imperatives of peace, stability and security in the region, continued close cooperation with the US is important to successfully fight terrorism and attain the shared objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.

He stated that the leadership in Pakistan congratulated the President-elect Donald Trump on the historic victory in the presidential elections and, on behalf of the government and the people of Pakistan, has extended to him and the American people the most sincere wishes and greetings on this propitious occasion.

“We look forward to closely working with the new administration in pursuit of our common ideals of freedom, democracy and prosperity… for the mutual benefit of both countries,” he said, adding Pakistan’s relations with the US are longstanding and decades old.

The political change in the US has come about through a democratic process, which is being followed there for long, he said, adding that Pakistan has always maintained very close relations and bilateral cooperation with the US.

He pointed out that there were numerous areas where both countries have convergence of interests and have worked in partnership on several issues, adding the two countries have a strategic dialogue mechanism in place, which has six components.

“These components are diverse in nature and they take into account economic, defence, science and technology, education, strategic and counter-terrorism matters,” he added.

“I think it is a very comprehensive relationship that dates back to several decades. It will remain our endeavour to promote and strengthen this relationship further and also to work closely on areas of common interest with the new administration,” he asserted.

About Trump’s offer to mediate between Pakistan and India, he said that during his election campaign, the US president-elect had offered to play the role of a mediator or arbitrator between the two countries, and Pakistan welcomed the offer accordingly.

He further said that Pakistan will continue its efforts to sensitising the new US administration on the human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir.

“The US is fully aware of Pakistan’s position and sentiments on Kashmir, particularly on human rights violations in IoK,” he added.

Responding to another query about the continued US pressure tactics on Pakistan with regard to Haqqani Network, he rejected the impression that Haqqani Network has sanctuaries in Pakistan, saying according to the information gathered from media reports since July this year, eight leaders and commanders of Haqqani Network alone have been killed in Afghanistan by the ISAF, US and Afghan forces. “This makes it evident where the Haqqani elements are located,” he added.

He said Pakistan wishes peace and stability in Afghanistan and it is committed to helping all the initiatives aimed at bringing peace in the neighbouring country.

He said peace and stability in Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan and the entire region. About Indian violation of Indus Waters Treaty (IWT), he said Pakistan has approached the World Bank for establishing a Court of Arbitration. He said Pakistan is looking forward for establishment of the Court at the earliest in line with the IWT.

Commenting on the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent visit to India, he described the reference to Pathankot and Mumbai in the joint statement issued upon the conclusion of the visit as “uncalled for”, adding both the cases are being actively pursued by Pakistan.

“Mumbai case is sub judice. After eight years India acknowledged the need for providing material evidence from the Indian side, which is essential for the trial,” he said.

He further said that Britain is the oldest democracy and a staunch proponent and protector of human rights. “It is sad that the British government has not highlighted the massacre of unarmed innocent Kashmiris including children, being perpetrated by more than 700,000 Indian occupation forces in IoK,” he said, adding the people of IoK rightfully expect the British government to condemn the widespread human rights violations in the IoK, hold India accountable for the genocide of Kashmiris and help resolve Jammu and Kashmir dispute, which is the legacy of the British colonial rule.

To another query about Samjhuta Express terrorist attack, he said India has not fulfilled its promise for investigations into the terror attack which claimed dozens of innocent lives. He said perpetrators of the incident had made public confession in which eight serving army officers were involved, adding India has not shared anything with Pakistan so far.

About the departure of Indian diplomats allegedly involved in terror activities in Pakistan, he said that six out of eight Indian diplomats found involved in subversive activities in Pakistan have left the country.

Responding to another query about killing of Muslims in fake encounters in India, he said that international community has serious concerns over situation of Muslims and other minorities in India, adding the international human rights organisations have documented scores of fake encounters in India, which is condemnable.

Commenting on withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes from circulation in India, Zakaria said that as per the media reports the action has been taken on account of corruption. “Indian underworld’s black money and the counterfeit currency in the country… As such, this issue is India’s internal matter. It is not Pakistan but India that finances terrorism in Pakistan, the irrefutable proof of which is with us,” he added.

About the recent visit of Commander of Royal Saudi Air Force General Mohammad bin Saleh Al Qtaibi, he said that Saudi authorities have shown interest in acquiring JF-17 Thunder aircraft and Super Mushshak training aircraft, adding relevant authorities of the two countries are negotiating in this regard.

-Business Recorder