ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday conveyed Pakistan’s deep concerns over continuing US drone strikes on the country’s territory and demanded an end to these, Dispatch News Desk reported.
The premier made the demand to the US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in a meeting held at the Prime Minister House.
Hagel arrived in Islamabad earlier on Monday to discuss US-Pakistan security partnership with Pakistani leadership.
His visit, the first visit by a US defence secretary in nearly four years, came at a time when renewed tensions have emerged over US missile strikes as well as interruption of US military shipments out of Afghanistan through the main border crossings into Pakistan.
During the meeting, both the prime minister and Hagel agreed to work together to strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States and advance the shared interest of a stable‚ secure and prosperous Pakistan and the region.
The two sides reaffirmed the importance of Pakistan-US strategic partnership for peace and stability in the region.
They noted the substantial progress made in the bilateral relationship in recent months and acknowledged that the recent high-level exchanges including the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington‚ meetings of the Working Groups on Energy‚ Defence and Security‚ Non-proliferation and Disarmament‚ have greatly helped in building trust and strengthening the relationship.
Both sides also reviewed the current state of bilateral defence and security cooperation and explored ways of further expanding cooperation in it.
The prime minister stressed the importance of establishing a long-term and broad-based defence cooperation with the US on the basis of mutual interest.
During the meeting, the prime minister conveyed Pakistan’s deep concern over continuing US drone strikes‚ stressing that drone strikes were counter-productive to our efforts to combat terrorism and extremism.
The prime minister also stressed the importance Pakistan attaches to a peaceful‚ stable and united Afghanistan and reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the Afghan peace and reconciliation process.
The meeting between the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the US Defence Secretary was also attended by Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins.
Hagel meets army chief
Earlier, US Secretary of Defence called on Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and discussed US-Pak cooperation in the region.
The sources said that security situation on Pak-Afghan border and the Afghan peace process also came under discussion.
The US Secretary of Defence was accompanied by US Ambassador in Pakistan Richord Olson and US Acting Assistant Secretary of Defence Dr Peter Lavoy.