A rare positive development in tense Pakistan US bilateral relations
WASHINGTON - Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense has acknowledged Pakistan’s support in fighting terrorism and said that the United States was fully aware of its contribution in the war on terror and valued its friendship.
He made these remarks while speaking as the Chief Guest at a function to celebrate Pakistan Defense and Martyrs Day at the Pakistan Embassy late on Thursday. The Day was celebrated with traditional fervor and solemnity to pay tributes to all those who rendered sacrifices in defending the country over the past seven decades and during the war on terror.
Mr. Schriver, who is the top official for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs paid rich tribute to all those who offered the ultimate sacrifice, and particularly appreciated Pakistan for extending full cooperation to the US to start operation against the terrorists.
The Assistant Secretary recalled Pakistan’s prompt and critical support in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and said that Islamabad was a friend, a supporter and a key partner and would continue to be a partner. He said that the US was fully cognizant of Pakistan’s valuable contribution in the war on terror and emphasized that the US did not take those sacrifices lightly. He further stated that the US “value this relationship and we value the partnership.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dunford this week visited Pakistan, the first top US officials to visit the country after the new government headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan took over after winning the 2018 general election. The two officials spoke about “re-setting” bilateral ties which have been strained after US cut all security aid to Pakistan.
Assistant Secretary Schriver remarked that both the countries may have differences in few areas but would continue to promote quality interactions – particularly at the realm of defence and security. Every interaction brought hope and would help in promoting shared interests, he added.
Ambassador Ali J. Siddiqui welcomed distinguished guests and highlighted heavy loss of precious lives in a war on terror that Pakistan has suffered as in the global war on terrorism. He said that Pakistan had emerged victorious against all the odds.
The Ambassador underscored the role of Pakistan’s Army being among the largest contributor to the United Nations peace keeping missions in various conflict ridden areas around the globe. He said that Pakistan’s Army had always been the first to respond and last to leave in natural disaster and the whole nation was proud of the armed forces.
On the Pak-US relations, the Ambassador said that strong and robust military cooperation between Pakistan and the US has always been pivotal to strengthening relations between the two countries. Regular interactions and high level exchanges would ultimately serve the interest of both the countries, the Ambassador emphasized.
Speaking on the occasion, Defence Attache Brig. Kamal Anwar Chaudhry said that Defence Day marked commemoration of the resolve and commitment of the Pakistani nation and the armed forces who withstood and surmounted all the external and internal challenges in defending the homeland.
Recalling the horrific terrorist attack on Army Public School, Peshawar in 2014, he highlighted the high cost paid by the whole nation in blood and treasure while standing behind the armed forces in guarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan. A short documentary was also played on the occasion to highlight the professionalism and quality of preparedness of armed forces of Pakistan.