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No regional peace without Pakistan: US senator John McCain during Islamabad visit

US President Donald Trump’s administration is exploring hardening its approach towards Islamabad over Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in Afghanistan, two US officials told Reuters last month.

world Updated: Jul 03, 2017 20:47 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
US Senator John McCain speaks at the opening of the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany.
US Senator John McCain speaks at the opening of the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany.(REUTERS)

US Senator John McCain has said that Pakistan plays a significant role in the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“Peace and stability in Afghanistan is not possible without Pakistan’s help,” McCain, who chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee told state-run Pakistan Television on Sunday during his visit to Islamabad.

McCain arrived in Islamabad on Sunday leading a five-member delegation from the US.

Others in the delegation were Lindsey Graham, Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren, and David Perdue.

To a question, John McCain said Kashmir issue should be resolved in a peaceful way through negotiations. He said that US wants end to violence in Kashmir.

He said the US will continue its policy regarding the Kashmir issue and no change has been made in this regard.

McCain also met foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz as well as army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“Our relationship is more important perhaps than ever before,” McCain told Pakistan TV.

US President Donald Trump’s administration is exploring hardening its approach towards Islamabad over Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in Afghanistan, two US officials told Reuters last month.

Aziz said that the strategic partnership between Pakistan and the United States was “was critical to achieve peace and stability in the region and beyond”.

US officials say they seek greater cooperation with Pakistan, not a rupture in ties, after the review the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, due in mid-July, where some 8,800 US troops remain to support the Western-backed government.

Experts on America’s longest war say militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents a place to plot attacks in Afghanistan and regroup after ground offensives. Critics say Islamabad is not doing enough to crack down on militants such as the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network.

Pakistan argues that it has done a great deal to help the US in tracking down terrorists and points out that it has suffered hundreds of deaths in Islamist militants attacks in response to its crackdowns.

Pakistan last week also reacted sharply when the US State Department on June 26 designated as a terrorist Syed Salahuddin, leader of the largest Kashmiri militant group fighting against Indian rule, accusing the US of acquiescing to the wishes of visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Aziz made a point on Sunday of mentioning what the foreign ministry called “gross human rights violations by the Indian security forces in Kashmir” and the international community’s “silence”. (With inputs from Reuters)