Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Pakistan plays significant role in peace, stability in Afghanistan: McCain

Pak to 'intensify' campaign to highlight Indian brutalities in Kashmir Pakistan plays significant role in peace, stability in Afghanistan: McCain
Lucas Bell | 03 July, 2017, 01:52

The US senator declared Pakistan's role as crucial for bringing stability in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The U.S. delegation has arrived in Islamabad at a time when relations between Pakistan and the Trump administration are under pressure.

Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz on Saturday said Pakistan would intensify campaign to highlight "Indian brutalities in Kashmir to draw the attention of the world towards the gravity of the issue", according to Radio Pakistan.

The five-member delegation led my Senator John McCain visited Pakistan days after the USA blacklisted Syed Salahuddin, the chief of Kashmiri militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen, as a "global terrorist".

The move instantly invited ire from Islamabad, which rejected the USA decision, saying the 70-year-old indigenous struggle of Kashmiris in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir remains legitimate.

McCain, the Chairman Senate Armed Services Committee, is leading a delegation of USA senators including Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator David Perdue and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to Pakistan for talks with civil and military authorities on a host of issues covering bilateral ties, current regional and worldwide situation.

He also lauded sacrifices of Pakistan armed forces against terrorism.

"There is no change in USA policy on Kashmir".

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McCain also sought Pakistan's assistance to resolve the lingering Afghanistan conflict, saying that peace in the war-torn country was not "possible" without Islamabad's help.

He said that continued engagement with Pakistan, a close friend and ally of the U.S., was important.

He also asked how Afghan Taliban could join the peace process.

Welcoming the US Senators, Aziz underlined the importance of regular high-level contacts and appreciated McCain, Graham and Whitehouse for their continued engagement and regular visits to Pakistan to promote understanding and cooperation between the two countries.

Pakistan looked forward to constructive engagement with the United States on all efforts and initiatives that would lead to a stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

McCain said the Kashmir issue should be resolved in a peaceful way through negotiation.

Aziz, who is Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs because PM Nawaz Sharif holds the Foreign Ministry portfolio himself, said that the strategic partnership between Pakistan and the United States was "was critical to achieve peace and stability in the region and beyond".

He also raised concern over the gross human rights violations by the Indian forces in the disputed state and worldwide community's silence over the reign of terror unleashed by India on unarmed Kashmiris.

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