Concerns about US-Afghan security pact conveyed: FO

ISLAMABAD - Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry stated on Thursday Pakistan has conveyed its concerns that there should be no negative implications for it from the United States-Afghanistan security pact.
The secretary was briefing Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs about the status of Afghanistan's peace and reconciliation process and the situation arising from US troops drawdown from Afghanistan in 2014.
The secretary said with the drawdown of ISAF and US forces from Afghanistan in 2014, there would be a process of transition in Afghanistan. He stressed there should not be political vacuum in Afghanistan in 2014 as it might cause political instability in that country.
“Pakistan has extended full support to the process of reconciliation in Afghanistan by creating an enabling environment so that Afghans can determine their own destiny,” he added.
On the request of the government of Afghanistan, Pakistan freed Afghan detainees including Mullah Baradar, he said, adding Afghanistan's members of High Peace Council then met and held talks with Mullah Baradar.
When asked by Senator Sughra Imam about Afghanistan's influence on Pakistani Taliban, Aizaz said, "We have stated that anti-Pakistan elements should not be given sanctuaries in Afghanistan."
The committee led by its chairman Senator Haji Adeel also discussed the US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel's visit to Pakistan and his meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif.
Senior officers of Foreign Minister led by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry briefed the Senators about the US Secretary's visit and issue of Pakistanis detained in foreign jails especially in Middle East.  ­Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Senator Rafique Rajwana attended the meeting.   
The committee directed the Foreign Office to provide it details of the support given to the detainees by embassies and missions of Pakistan.
The committee was informed that teams of embassies undertake monthly visit to jails for consular access to Pakistani prisoners, to check the possibility of appeal in the higher courts, reduction of penalties in their cases or chances of their release.
The senators also took up the issue of kidnapping of two Czech women. It was decided that the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee would write a letter to Czech Senate committee assuring them of support on the issue.  When Senator Mushahid raised the issue of downsizing in Pakistan's foreign missions, the secretary replied that a committee formed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was working on restructuring of the ministries and abolishing of some posts was part of that process. The committee was informed that Kuwait had decided to give more visas so that Pakistani professionals can get more jobs.  The committee also discussed the situation in Bangladesh, and stressed that Pakistan wanted to improve its relations with it. The committee chief directed that foreign missions should facilitate parliamentary delegations during their visits abroad.
The committee deferred discussion on complaints of Senator Sehar Kamran against Consul General of Pakistan in Jeddah and complaint of Senator Babar Khan Ghauri against Consul General, New York, as the two senators were not present.

on epaper page 5
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