LAHORE: Foreign diplomats have started taking interest in forthcoming elections in Pakistan and UK high commissioner and the US ambassador held meetings with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Saturday in Lahore and UK high commissioner with Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi.
US Ambassador Donald Blome discussed with Nawaz Sharif the current political and economic landscape in the country, with a specific emphasis on his party’s preparations for the upcoming elections.
Blome’s meeting with Sharif was one of several liaisons with politicians, which included PPP’s Yusuf Raza Gilani and Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) chief Jahangir Tareen as election season picks up.
The meeting between the top PML-N leader and the US envoy coincides with Nawaz’s series of public gatherings leading up to the elections next year, following his return to the country on October 21.
According to a statement issued by PML-N, the US envoy called on the party leader, and their discussion centred on the importance of Pakistan’s relations with the United States, among other matters.
The statement noted that Nawaz shared his views on the political and economic situation in Pakistan, with a specific focus on his party’s readiness for the upcoming elections.
In his discussion with the US envoy, the former premier conveyed to him that “the people of Pakistan would once again place their trust in the PML-N to navigate the country through the numerous challenges it currently faces”.
The two leaders also delved into bilateral ties and collaboration on mutual multilateral concerns between Pakistan and the US.
The statement highlighted that both leaders “acknowledged the significance of a steadfast and robust partnership between the two countries.”
They emphasised the importance of exploring opportunities to enhance cooperation and building upon the successful outcomes that underpin the strong bilateral relationship between the US and Pakistan.
The discussion between the duo also encompassed various domains, including trade, economy, climate change, security, and regional stability.
Nawaz also raised the issue of the “plight of innocent Palestinians who are being mercilessly killed by the indiscriminate Israeli bombardment and imposition of siege around Gaza”. He called for an immediate end to hostilities and urgent provision of humanitarian and medical assistance to war-hit people.
The US embassy released a statement about the meetings with “political actors” in Multan and Lahore. “In the course of his engagements with a broad range of Pakistani political actors, US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald A. Blome met in Multan with representatives of various political parties at a gathering hosted by former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, and in Lahore with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) founder Jahangir Khan Tareen.
“They discussed the importance of free, fair elections and the right of the Pakistani people to choose their future leaders. They also discussed the strengths of the US-Pakistan trade and investment relationship and the development of the US-Pakistan “Green Alliance” framework.”
Ambassador Blome meets IPI chief Tareen
Later, US Ambassador Blome also held a meeting with Jahangir Tareen, the chief of the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPI), in Lahore during which the two spoke about Pak-US relations, economic reforms, and upcoming general elections in the country. The US envoy extended his determination to strengthen mutual relations with Pakistan at the occasion.
In the meeting with Blome, Tareen said his party was ready for the upcoming general elections, informing him that electoral and political activities have started in full swing. IPI leaders Ishaq Khakwani and Aun Chaudhary were also present during the meeting.
British envoy Marriott meets Asif Zardari
Meanwhile, UK envoy Jane Marriott also held a meeting with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi on Saturday during which the two discussed the promotion of bilateral relations between the two countries.
In the high-level meeting, former president Zardari felicitated the British envoy on King Charles III’s birthday. He also conveyed his wishes for the newly-appointed British Foreign Minister David Cameron last week.
During the meeting, the PPP senior politician insisted Britain play a conciliatory role in ending Israel’s aggression in Gaza.
PPP leaders including Senator Saleem Mandviwala and Dr Asim were also present at the occasion.