APP12-08 WASHINGTON: December 08 - Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi interaction with a select gathering of foreign policy experts and govt. representatives at US Institute of Peace. APP

WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (APP): Efforts to normalize relations with India
and reach out to Afghanistan for peace and stability are the center-piece of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s vision of a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi said in Washington.

Speaking to a select gathering of foreign policy experts and US government representatives at the United States Institute of Peace, Fatemi, however, regretted the absence of any reciprocal desire on the part of some of Pakistan’s neighbours.

During his interaction, Fatemi highlighted the achievements of the government in bringing economic stability and domestic peace to Pakistan.

He dispelled any misconceptions about the China Pakistan Economic
Corridor, and said it was an economic initiative, which was open to all interested countries.

On Pakistan-US relations, the SAPM emphasized that Pakistan attached great importance to its ties with the US.

“US is an important strategic partner in both the security and economic domains for Pakistan and we look forward to building on the existing
convergences in the relationship as well as addressing mutual differences if any, through continued engagement in the weeks and months ahead as President Trump’s Administration takes charge in January next year,” Fatemi observed.

He termed encouraging some of the recent pronouncements by the President-elect indicating US willingness to play its part in helping with certain important issues facing the South Asian region.

Vice-President elect Mike Pence in a recent interview has stated that Trump intends to be fully engaged with South Asia and that his administration intends to be fully engaged with both Pakistan and India to advance peace and security.

Dilating upon Pakistan’s sacrifices and achievements in the fight against terrorism, Fatemi stated that since June 2013 the writ of the government had been established in large parts of the tribal areas and social and economic activities taking place in those areas were a testimony to this fact. This, he stated, had come at a huge cost for Pakistan.

The country had sacrificed thousands of lives of both civilian and security personnel in the fight against terrorism but its resolve to eradicate the menace remained strong as ever.

Highlighting the various steps that the government had taken to restore the country’s economic outlook, he stated that the crippling power shortages that had beset Pakistan for years, would be a thing of the past by the end of the next year.