US supports Pakistan's flourishing democracy: David Hale

US supports Pakistan's flourishing democracy: David Hale

ISLAMABAD: (APP) US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale on Thursday said the United States supported Pakistan's flourishing democracy and believed it on "solid basis" for stability and prosperity in the country.

"We support vigorously Pakistan's flourishing democracy...,I cannot speak about past, but now we do believe in Pakistan's democracy and we believe it on solid basis for stability and prosperity," the US Ambassador said in an interview with a private television channel (Geo News) aired 0on Thursday night.

When asked if the United States fully supported democracy in Pakistan, David Hale said, "Yes we do."

To another question as if the United States could support those who wanted to derail democracy in Pakistan, the US Ambassador categorically stated, "No. Not at all"

David Hale said, as he was a newcomer in Pakistan and since he came to the country he was learning every day and watching and, "I am impressed how lively the politics are here in this country."

"We saw a peaceful transition from one elected government to another elected government (in Pakistan)," the US Ambassador mentioned and expected that the elections in the country would be held in 2018.

To a question about Pak-India relations, he said, the United States encourages the two countries to engage and resolve their issues through dialogue.

About the human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, David Hale said, the United States was concerned over the loss of lives there and believed that Pakistan and India could resolves their differences through dialogue.

To a question about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said, the Unites States welcomed the project and was supportive of any effort that brings about economic growth and development in Pakistan.

About his view on Pak-Iran gas pipeline project after the lifting of international sanctions against Iran, the US Ambassador said, "We do not oppose the pipeline project in anyway."

The US Ambassador said Pakistan was a rich and multi-dimensional country and he had visited Karachi four times and Lahore and Peshawar twice each.

He said Karachi was a vibrant city and also mentioned his recent visit to the city particularly to Karachi Stock Exchange and his interaction with the businessmen there.

The ambassador also expressed his likeness about Pakistani fruits specifically mangoes as well as his eagerness to learn Urdu.

Hale, who had earlier served in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and some Middle Eastern states can speak Arabic well.

About the statement of US Senator John McCain in his article about strain in Pak-US ties, the ambassador said he respected the Senator's views as he was the longest serving senator and knew Pakistan well.

He said the Pak-US relationship was enduring, strong and broad and multi-dimensional.

To a question about McCain's view on the extension in the tenure of Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, the ambassador said he was out of the country during the Senator's visit; he could not speak on such issues.

To another question on the sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan, the ambassador said the issue was not about the sale of the aircraft to Pakistan but the subsidy on the sale.

The US concern was regarding the presence of the safe havens of Haqqani Network in Pakistan, he added.

He said the US had been extending support to Pakistani military in different forms and the sacrifices by the Pakistan's military personnel were extraordinary.

To a question about the drone attack in Noshki killing Afghan Taliban leader that also killed a civilian taxi driver besides other civilian casualties in US drone attacks, the ambassador said the target was the one who had killed various innocent people in callous attacks in Afghanistan.

He was also against peace negotiations, he added.

Pakistan was progressing in multiple fields including its growing economy as well as strengthening democracy and added that he was encouraged about the strong Pak-US security partnership.

He welcomed the mechanism agreed between Pakistan and Afghanistan on border management.

To a question, he said the US also conducted its own operation against terrorists like the one killing of APS mastermind in Afghanistan what he said was a great success.

He said there was a consensus that political solution would be the best to bring peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan's commitment for peace dialogue in the country was impressive.

But he said the problem was that the Taliban did not take interest and there was a need to persuade them to renounce violence, end support to other terrorist organizations and join the peace process for a political solution.

To a question, he said US viewpoint on nuclear weapons was in global perspective, adding that the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group was a very specific and they had a criteria for membership and the matter was decided on merit.

However, the ambassador said the US had concerns about tactical weapons for being higher chances of their misuse or being stolen for being in small size.