Oct 25, 2013, 6:38 PM
News Code: 80874152
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Pakistan says PM Sharif’s US visit to boost ties

Islamabad, Oct 25, IRNA -- Pakistan on Friday termed as 'highly successful' Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to the United States and said the prime minister conveyed the country's position on drone attacks in categorical terms.

The Prime Minister has wrapped up his October 20-23 first official visit and was scheduled to return home on Friday after a brief stopover in London.

'The visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will help rebuild bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect and interests,' Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry told weekly press briefing.

He said the prime minister during his visit raised all the concerns of Pakistan on different issues with the US leadership.

'Cooperation of the US was sought to address the energy crisis. In this regard working group on energy will be meeting next month,' Chaudhry added.

The spokesman said the Prime Minister forcefully took up the drone attacks issue during the visit as pressure is building against the drone attacks both at the international level and within the United States and hoped these strikes will end soon.

He said the government has raised the drone issue bilaterally with the US as well as at the international forums, including the United Nations General Assembly.

Chaudhry maintained that the drone strikes have human rights and humanitarian implications besides these are in violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and international laws and proving counterproductive in the war against terrorism.

When asked about the US demand for the release of Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi who helped the US reach Osama bin Laden, the spokesman said the issue also came under discussion and the US was told that Dr. Afridi has committed violation of Pakistan law and Pakistani courts will take a final decision in his case.

The spokesperson said the United States has appreciated Pakistan's role in Afghan reconciliation process. He said Pakistan, US and Afghanistan need to work together to carry forward this process.

As regard tensions with India, the Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed serious concerns over recent ceasefire violations on the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir by India and said Pakistan does not want escalation.

Chaudhry pointed out that the Indian troops have, in recent days, intensified unprovoked shelling on the working boundary and targeted twenty seven Pakistani posts that resulted in the death of two civilians and one security personnel.

'Despite these violations, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has extended a hand of friendship to India and he has repeatedly expressed Pakistan's desire to have good neighborly relations with India,' he said.

The spokesperson said India should respect the ceasefire violations and reciprocate to Pakistan's sincere efforts for peace and stability in the region.

When asked about reports that Pakistani troops also resorted to attacks on Indian posts, the spokesperson clarified that 'we have no intention to create agitation'.

Pakistani troops follow a policy of not indulging in firing first and they only retaliate when they are fired upon, he said.

About the US demand for trial of the Pakistani suspects in Mumbai attacks case, the spokesperson said Pakistan needs more evidences from the Indian side to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice.