WASHINGTON: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the notion that Pakistan being a part of the problem vis a vis Afghanistanis wrong, and needs to be corrected.
In an hour long meeting at Capitol Hill, Foreign Minister Khar, accompanied by Ambassador Sherry Rehman, met members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, including the Chairperson Senator Dianne Feinstein, Vice Chairman Senator Saxby Chambliss, Senator Burr, Senator Risch and others.
A Pakistan Embassy press release described the meeting as a “candid exchange of views” with the Senators. The Foreign Minister, the hand-out said, told US Senators that “Pakistan attached great importance to its relationship with the US and the people of Pakistan wanted their contributions and sacrifices in fighting terrorism recognised and appreciated.”
Khar said it was important thatPakistan’s priorities, concerns and constraints were better understood by the US. This is the reason she was in Washington, to have in-depth discussions on how best to deal with the challenges in the bilateral relationship and to build on the recent positive momentum in strengthening the special relationship between Pakistan and the United States.
On Afghanistan, Khar said that Pakistan wanted to have a genuine dialogue on the country with the US, and highlighted their commitment to use the “trilateral mechanism” to promote an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process.
“Instability in Afghanistan threatens Pakistan more than any other nation on earth.”
Khar reiterated that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is central to Pakistan’s short and long-term interests.
The press release added that the Senators posed questions to her on regional security, counterterrorism efforts and the Afghanistan reconciliation process.
FM Khar is scheduled to meet members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.
USAID’s operational difficulties in Pakistan
USAID Administrator Dr Rajiv Shah has urged the Government of Pakistan to address the operational difficulties facing USAID in Pakistan.
In a meeting with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC, the USAID administrator said removal of these difficulties would help ensure “smooth and effective delivery of the assistance.”
According to a press release issued by the Embassy of Pakistan, the two officials reviewed the state of economic collaboration and USAID work and assistance projects in Pakistan. The meeting was also attended by Alex Thier from USAID, Pakistani Ambassador Sherry Rehman and other embassy officials.
FM Khar also said that large signature projects “could be important symbols of the good that Pakistan-US partnership has brought to the people of Pakistan.”
The press release added that the foreign minister “also stressed the desirability for timely “on budget” release of funds and the need for greater coordination and synergy in project implementation between USAID and the Pakistan government.”
Khar went on to say that Pakistan wants an early convening of the Working Groups between both countries on subjects of energy, trade, etc.
The embassy handout said that the FM also thanked Dr Shah for US assistance to Pakistan. “She also thanked for the timely and generous US humanitarian support during the floods in Pakistan in 2010 and 2011.”
Terming the US assistance as an investment in the future of the relationship, Foreign Minister Khar particularly appreciated USAID projects in the energy sector and road infrastructure,” said the press release.