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US-Pakistan relations gearing up

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (eTN) – After a lull, US-Pakistan relations are achieving a new dimension when, despite stiff opposition of the right wing Islamist political and religious parties, the Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (eTN) – After a lull, US-Pakistan relations are achieving a new dimension when, despite stiff opposition of the right wing Islamist political and religious parties, the Pakistan Army is moving fast to rebuild lost love and confidence between US and Pakistan. Experts believe that Pakistan does not want a vacuum in Pakistan-US relations, which could then be filled by radical forces, like the Taliban, to play their games.

Setting aside widespread protests staged by religious political parties, the left wing political government of Pakistan went for an agreement for resumption of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) supply through Pakistan this week, and Lieutenant General Muhammad Zahir Ul Islam, Director General ISI, is on tour to meet CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) authorities to discuss issues related to ISAF’s (International Security Assistance Force) pull out from Afghanistan. According to experts, Pakistan is seeking some securities from the United States that its interest shall be looked after during and before withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan, and issue of attacks from Afghanistan on Pakistani army check posts is top of the agenda.

Mazhar Tufail, a strategic analyst and sky news Arabia producer in Pakistan, said, when contacted by eTN, that Pakistan invested its 33 years in Afghanistan, and it must not allow radical forces to create misunderstandings between Pakistan and the United States, and give a chance to Islamists to play their games and try to install extremists rule again in the Pakhtun belt of Pakistan, including Federally Administrative Tribal Areas (FATA).

When asked to comment on Pakistan-US relations, Senior Correspondent Shoaib Raja of the daily “The News” was of the view that Pakistan is gaining ground by shunning off misunderstandings, that says its army and government are not supporting radical political and religious parties, although the Pakistan Army had been blamed by the international media for its strong relation with Islamist religious parties under cover.

Today, General John R. Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force, visited GHQ (General Headquarters) and called on General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff. John R. Allen is a United States Marine Corps four-star general. On July 18, 2011, Allen assumed command of International Security Assistance Force as Commander, US Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), succeeding Army General David Petraeus.

This meeting was another in a series of opportunities for the Commanders to continue building upon the growing operational cooperation between the Afghanistan National Security Force, the Pakistan military, and ISAF.

According to an official spokesman of the Pakistan Army, all three parties have many shared interests – including their respective commitments to expanding opportunities for coordinated action against terrorists on respective sides of the border who threaten Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region, and supporting Afghanistan’s security, stability, and efforts towards reconciliation. They also share a responsibility for protecting the brave Afghan and Pakistani soldiers working in the border region.

The future security and stability of the region rests in large part on the strength of the partnership these discussions are forging. The talks also recognized the importance of future opportunities for key ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces), Pakistani military, and ISAF senior leaders to meet, explore means to expand the partnership, and continue this vital work.

During the meeting, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said that the Pakistan-US relationship should be based on mutual trust, respect, and transparency. He said the current meeting has helped towards improving strategic and operational understanding between the Pakistan military and NATO forces.

General John R. Allen said during the meeting: “I look forward to these visits and am pleased with the upward spiral in our relationship they represent. We are making significant progress toward building a partnership that is enduring, strategic, carefully defined, and that enhances the security and prosperity of the region.”

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