United States Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Olson and US Senator John McCain on Saturday met Army Cheif General Raheel Sharif at General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi.
General Raheel Sharif:
According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief General Raheel Sharif apprised the US senator about the challenges faced by Pakistan in the ongoing war on terror and how they get multiplied when met with ineffective border management with Afghanistan.
Senator McCain, while acknowledging Pakistan’s successes in Zarb-i-Azb, said Pakistan army’s achievements in counter-terrorism operations are phenomenal and reflect the country’s determination to eliminate terrorism.
Stressing upon the need for better Pak-US relations, the senator said that Pakistan and United States need to cement relations in all dimensions and must strive for greater coordination for peace in the region and world at large.
A congressional delegation including senator Lindsey Graham and senator Joe Donnelly accompanied Senator McCain.
Earlier, the army chief met Special Representative Richard Olson and discussed matters relating to regional security.
High-level consultation mechanism
Olson also met met Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and was briefed about creation of a high-level consultation mechanism between Pakistan and Afghanistan to address border management and other security issues.
The US ambassador appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan and stated that the US supported Pakistan’s efforts on border management.
Emphasising the early repatriation of Afghan refugees, the foreign secretary said Pakistan wanted the return of refugees to take place with dignity and honour.
The international community including the US and UNHCR should lend their due support to these efforts, he added.
On Afghan reconciliation, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) as an effective forum to facilitate Afghan-owned and Afghan-led reconciliation process.
US envoy lauds recent economic achievements
Olson also called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and lauded the minister for over on his recent economic achievements, including record tax revenue collection and the highest level of Forex reserves.
While discussing matters relating to the Afghan refugees, Olson said Pakistan’s contribution in hosting the Afghan refugees was acknowledged and commended by the international community.
He said safe, early and permanent repatriation of refugees to their homeland was a priority. He expressed support for efforts aimed at strengthening Pak-Afghan bilateral relations.
Ishaq Dar said it was imperative to agree on a detailed road-map for safe and honourable repatriation of Afghan refugees.