mabad (Online) US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke Wednesday reiterated the commitment of the US Government to help Pakistan in mitigating the losses suffered by it during war against militants
He expressed these views during his meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr. Ambassador Holbrooke was accompanied by Anne W. Patterson, US Ambassador in Islamabad, and senior US officials. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, M Salman Faruqui, Secretary to the President, Hina Rabbani Khar, Salman Siddique, Secretary to the President Malik Asif Hayat and Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar were also present during the meeting.
Matters relating to Pak-US bilateral relations, security situation in the region, war against terror and Pak-US strategic dialogue were discussed in the meeting. Briefing the media, Farhatullah Babar said that the meeting was part of the consultative meetings that Ambassador Holbrooke has been holding with Pakistans political leadership and state authorities. Progress on sectoral track meetings that were recently held in Islamabad for the preparation of the 5th round of Pak-US strategic dialogue scheduled in the third week of July also came under discussion during the meeting besides issues relating to regional situation and ongoing fight against militants.
Ambassador Holbrooke during the meeting reiterated US long-term commitment to the strategic partnership with Pakistan and said that the US administration was conscious of the need for creating opportunities for the people in the conflict-hit areas in order to win battle of hearts and minds. He said that US administration was conscious of providing humanitarian assistance of life-saving health services and relief to the displaced persons by assisting them in provision of food and essential household items. President Asif Ali Zardari appreciating the US humanitarian assistance said that the people of Pakistan, especially the displaced persons, have paid a heavy price in terms of both human and material losses in fighting militancy and we owe our successes to these people who not only supported our efforts to root out militancy but also faced immense hardships for the peace of the region. The President said that overpowering and neutralising the extremist elements in affected areas must be accompanied with the creation of an environment so that militancy is not allowed to rear its head. This, he said, can only be materialised through creation of opportunities for the people so that their energies could be utilised for creative and developmental purposes. He said Pakistan had made huge human and material sacrifices to overcome the challenges of terrorism and militancy and its contribution towards counter terrorism is unmatched. The Government, our security forces and our people are determined to eliminate this menace at any cost, the President emphasised.
He said that the Government looked forward to international assistance in meeting the challenges faced by it. He said Pakistan needed trade and market access for its product in order to set its economy on the path of stability and prosperity.
Talking about ROZs, the President hoped that the legislation would be expedited and counter productive labour provision would be softened. The President also emphasised on early reimbursement of arrears in Coalition Support Fund (CSF).
Talking about the regional situation, the President said that Pakistan being a responsible country is aware of its obligations and responsibilities. We are committed to the peace and stability of the region and we welcome efforts for promotion of peace and stability in the region, he said. The President said Pakistan has always called for synergizing the efforts of international community in Afghanistan for restoration of peace, stability and prosperity of a country that has been ravaged by wars for a long time. He said that Pakistan would support all efforts in this regard and is ready to provide all assistance for capacity building of the Afghan institutions.
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said that the US is committed to help out and assist the people and the Government of Pakistan in all possible manners and is committed to build long-term, multidimensional and sustainable relationship with Pakistan and its people.