Pakistan sets-up special
group to boost relations
with US Congress

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ISLAMABAD: In a bid to streamline and boost the relations with the USA, Pakistan has set-up a special parliamentary contact group. Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, said about this special group on Tuesday that a special parliamentary contact group has been formed to foster Islamabad’s ties with the US Congress.
Asad Qaiser expressed Pakistan’s willingness to promote interparliamentary relations during a meeting with Angela Aggeler, chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Islamabad, to discuss US-Pakistani relations and the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD: Ms. Angela Aggeler (US Charge d’Affairs) meeting with speaker of Pakistan National Assembly Asad Qaiser at the Parliament House on Tuesday.

“He informed that he had established a contact group comprising senior Parliamentarians Asad Umar, Hina Rabbani Khar and Khurrum Dastagir Khan to interact with their US counterparts for promoting parliamentary friendship,” the National Assembly said in a statement. Umar is Pakistan’s current planning minister, while Khar and Khan are former ministers of foreign affairs.
Qaiser and Aggler’s meeting came a week after Pakistan hosted a special session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to call on Muslim and other countries and international institutions to come in aid of Afghanistan. US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West had also attended the OIC moot.

During the meeting, they discussed matters of mutual interest, including regional, Afghan and international issues.

Speaking on the occasion, Asad Qaiser said Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the United States. He stressed the need to promote parliamentary interactions between the two countries to further expand bilateral relations.

The Speaker said Pakistan desires resolution of all outstanding issues peacefully through dialogue as per relevant UN resolutions. He said peaceful Afghanistan is imperative for progress and prosperity of the region. He said Pakistan has always played a positive role for peace in Afghanistan. He said the people of Afghanistan are facing difficult economic situation after the emergence of new administration in their country.

Talking about recently held extraordinary session of the council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Islamabad, the Speaker said the OIC foreign ministers emphasized on promoting religious harmony.

The Chargé d’Affaires said her country gives immense importance to Pakistan’s efforts for durable peace in the region. She said Pakistan rendered unmatched sacrifices in the war against terrorism. She also lauded Pakistan for successful organizing the OIC session.
Aggler “appreciated the Pakistani leadership for holding the OIC Conference in Islamabad,” the National Assembly said, adding that US-Pakistan parliamentary engagement “would strengthen existing bilateral relations.”
“Ms. Angela termed relations between US and Pakistan based on trust and cooperation. She appreciated Pakistan’s role in comity of nations.”

ISLAMABAD: Ms. Angela Aggeler (US Charge d’Affairs) and speaker of Pakistan National Assembly Asad Qaiser discussing issues of bilateral concern at the Parliament House on Tuesday.

Pakistan-US relations have been strained since Afghanistan’s Western-backed administration collapsed in mid-August as US-led forces withdrew and the Taliban took control. In September, Republican senators pressed for legislation back home that called for sanctions on Pakistan for providing safe haven for the Taliban — Islamabad denies this.
The move has raised hackles among Pakistan’s leaders, who have slammed Washington for what they say is unjust blaming of Pakistan for America’s losses in Afghanistan — especially after seeking and receiving Islamabad’s help in the protracted peace talks with the Taliban last year.