Revival of Pak-US ties, effectively highlighting Kashmir, anti-terror efforts, credit to PM’s US visit

931

NEW YORK, Sept 24 (APP): From putting strained Pak-US
ties back on rails, to demanding the United Nations to appoint
a special envoy on Kashmir, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
forcefully highlighted Pakistan’s successes against terrorism
and its openness for global investment during his five-day visit
to the United States.
Though the main agenda of the prime minister’s visit to
New York, from September 18 to 22, was to address the 72nd
session of the UN General Assembly, he cashed in on the occasion
to meet the world leaders, think-tanks and business community to
apprise them of a changed Pakistan that had successfully restored
peace on its soil by crushing the terrorist elements.
Besides raising Indian sponsoring of terrorism in Pakistan,
Prime Minister Abbasi urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
and the UN to play their role against the ethnic cleansing of
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Of his 27 back-to-back engagements included his speeches
at the UNGA, OIC Contact Group, media interactions and meetings
with leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, Jordan,
Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Sri Lanka, but also to present Pakistan’s
case better to the world.
Moreover, his other engagements included meetings with
the heads of World Bank, World Economic Forum, UN Secretary-
General, besides interaction at the Council of Foreign Relations.
In his debut address to the 193-member world body, the
prime minister called for expeditious steps towards the
implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions on
Kashmir with the appointment of a Special Envoy to promote a
just and peaceful settlement of the festering dispute.
“The international community must act decisively to
prevent the situation from a dangerous escalation,” he said.
In his wide-ranging address, the Prime Minister also
spoke about Pakistan’s desire for peace in war-torn
Afghanistan, its counter terrorism efforts and sacrifices,
the Middle East situation, UN reforms, climate change and
the country’s economic stability and consolidation of
democracy.
He also made it a point to speak of Islamabad’s desire
for peace with its neighbours, saying Pakistan remains open
to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India to address
all outstanding issues, especially Kashmir.
He urged the United Nations Secretary-General and the
High Commissioner for Human Rights to send an inquiry
Commission to Occupied Kashmir to verify the nature and extent
of India’s human rights violations, secure the punishment of
those responsible and provide justice and relief to the
victims.
The Prime Minister said India frequently violates the
ceasefire along the Line of Control in Kashmir to divert the
world’s attention from its brutalities.
Spelling out Pakistan’s stance in clear terms, Prime
Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said his country was not prepared
to fight the Afghan war on its soil.
“Nor can we endorse any failed strategy that will
prolong and intensify the suffering of the people of
Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other regional countries.”
“It is especially galling for Pakistan to be blamed for
the military or political stalemate in Afghanistan,” he said.
“We are not prepared to be anyone’s scapegoat. Taliban
`safe havens’ are located not in Pakistan but in the large
tracts of territory, controlled by the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
“To end all cross-border attacks, we ask the Afghan
government and the Coalition to support and complement
Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to strengthen border controls and
monitor all movement across it.”
He said that Pakistan believed that the urgent and
realistic goals in Afghanistan should include concerted action
to eliminate the presence in Afghanistan of Daesh, Al-Qaeda
and their affiliates, including the TTP and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar,
which was recently declared a terrorist organization by the
Security Council.
“We took the war to the terrorists. We have paid a
heavy price,” Abbasi said and pointed out that over 27,000
Pakistanis, including 6,500 military and law enforcement
personnel, had been martyred by the terrorists while 50,000
injured, including 15,000 army personnel, many of whom lost
their limbs.
He said that Pakistan had fought the war against terror
from its own resources with economic losses estimated at over
US$120 billion.
Rising racism and religious hatred – manifested in
xenophobia and Islamophobia – was erecting physical walls
and psychological barriers between nations and peoples even
as our world becomes increasingly interdependent.
“The ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas is not just an
affront to all norms of humanity but also challenges our
collective conscience.”
The Prime Minister had a brief meeting with US President
Donald Trump at a reception hosted by the US leader for the
world leaders, in what he said, “President Trump was very
positive about Pakistan.”
He reiterated before Trump that Pakistan was committed
to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
One of the crucial interactions of the prime minister
was with Vice President of the United States of America Mike
Pence that helped put the Islamabad-Washington relationship,
strained by the controversial US policy on Afghanistan “back
on rails”, as both the sides agreed on continuing dialogue to
address their concerns.
“It was a good meeting,” Foreign Secretary Tehmina
Janjua told reporters after 45-minute long meeting held
at the request of the United States.
Terming the meeting as an “ice-breaker,” the foreign
secretary said it was agreed that the United States would
send a delegation to Pakistan in October to continue the
talks.
The US Vice President greeted Prime Minister Khaqan
Abbasi on behalf of President Donald Trump and said the
United States values its relationship with Pakistan, a
long term partnership for security in the region.
Responding to another question the Foreign Secretary
said that the Prime Minister expressed concern over the
greater role that the new policy advocated for India.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, “We have made
our contributions, we fought a very difficult war, we suffered
casualties and have suffered economic losses and that is the
message that we bring to the world,” he said.
In his first talk at the Council of Foreign Relations,
the Prime Minister said Pakistan had a fully secure, reliable
and robust nuclear command and control system under a full
civilian oversight.
“Our Command and Control system is as secure as anyone
else has,” he told the participants and added “let there be no
doubt about that”.
He said Pakistan was a responsible nuclear State and has
a track record of ensuring that it’s nuclear assets do not
fall into wrong hands.
In his address, the Prime Minister conveyed to OIC
Contact Group meeting the deep concerns of Pakistan over the
grave situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and urged upon
the 57-member OIC to play a leading role, and a “voice of
conscience” for Rohingya Muslim brothers and sisters.
On the sidelines of the UNGA, the Prime Minister met
with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and discussed
ways to enhance economic cooperation and agreed to work
together for early finalization of the Free Trade Agreement
for boosting their bilateral trade.
During a meeting between Premier Abbasi and President of
Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena, the two countries emphasized
to explore new avenues for enhanced cooperation while noting
their huge potential for deeper and broader ties in defence,
trade and economic ties.
In his bilateral meeting with Iranian President Muhammad
Hassan Rouhani, the Prime Minister stressed for maintaining a
positive trajectory in bilateral relations for promoting trade
and economic cooperation with Iran.
While meeting Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Prime Minister Sher
Bahadur Deuba underscored his country’s commitment to make
SAARC a constructive forum for the region and to support
Pakistan for the holding of the next SAARC Summit in
Islamabad.
In his meeting with Nobel Laureate and education
activist Malala Yousafzai, the Prime Minister appreciated
the resolve of Malala Yousafzai for promotion of education
in Pakistan.
Among others, whom the Prime Minister met during his
five days visit included Co-Chairman Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation, Bill Gates, Executive Chairman, World Economic
Forum Klaus Schwab, John Rice, Vice President of General
Electric, CEO World Bank Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, UN
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The Prime Minister also handed over to the secretary-
general a dossier documenting human rights violations in the
Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
Later, the Prime Minister left for London on Friday on
conclusion of his visit, in what Pakistan’s ambassador to
the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi told APP that the Prime
Minister was “fully satisfied” with his visit as it helped
put the estranged ties with the United States back on track.