Trump, Pakistani leadership share views on counter-terrorism operations

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WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister
on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi has said that US President-elect
Donald Trump’s views on counter-terrorism operations align with those
of Pakistan’s leadership, and Islamabad is looking forward to work
closely with the new administration.
Tariq Fatemi, in an interview with Washington Times, said,”We want people from the Trump administration to come to Pakistan and see for themselves the areas that have been cleared of terrorists.
“If you are engaged in militancy and terrorism, there is no place
for you in Pakistan. We will eliminate you. It is as simple as that.”
Members of President-elect Donald Trump’s national security team
“know Pakistan paid a heavy price in terms of the successes of the
United States” in the region, including Islamabad’s backing of the
US mission to push the Soviet Union from Afghanistan in the 1980s and the post 9/11 era, the Washington Times quoted him as saying during the interview.
Fatemi observed that the Trump administration must ensure that the relationship “stay on an even keel and continue to progress gradually”
to successfully deal with the serious challenges facing Pakistan and
the US in South Asia.
Fatemi is here to meet with ranking lawmakers ahead of the administration change as Trump prepares to assume the presidency on
January 20.
The Special Assistant said that Pakistan would work closely with
the administration. “We believe Mr Trump’s business background and
strong interest in economic ties match the vision and policies” of
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he was quoted as saying.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President-elect Trump had productive discussions over the phone last week and the US leader had indicated
his intention to be fully engaged with the South Asian region and help resolve issues between Pakistan and India.
Fatemi said that after years of tension and inconsistency in
bilateral ties, there was an element of normalcy and predictability
within the relationship since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took over the charge in 2013. He said that volatility that plagued US-Pakistani
relations under previous regimes in Pakistan had subsided.
According to the Washington Post report, Fatemi rejected reports
that Pakistan’s emerging military relationship with Russia was in
response to India’s closer military ties with Washington. He, however,
added that “whatever or whenever America engages in these types of [actions], it has to bear in mind what kind of impact it will have on
the region.”
“Virtually all our weapons systems are American-made, which is what
we would want,” Fatemi was quoted as saying, but, he added, the blocked F-16s sale and other scuttled arms deals with Washington had forced the Nawaz Sharif government to consider its options.
“Our first preference would be to obtain weapons from the United States…We hope the administration will look at our request, with an
eye toward what those weapons systems can do in terms of promoting peace and stability in a difficult part of the world.”