US-Pakistan pledge to take engagement to higher levels

Islamabad, Feb 4 (IANS) Senior Pakistani and US officials, while reviewing bilateral ties here, have expressed confidence that the momentum built over the past years would be taken to higher levels under the Donald Trump administration, the media reported on Saturday.

Special Assistant to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and United States Ambassador David Hale reviewed Pakistan-US relations during a meeting here on Friday, Dawn said.

“Fatemi and Hale discussed prospective engagements in the coming months as the new US administration settles down in Washington, with the two leaders expressing confidence that the momentum built over the past years would be taken to higher levels,” it said.

“They pledged to deepen engagement between the two countries in the economic and security realms,” the report said quoting the Pakistan Foreign Office.

In their first meeting after Pakistan detained Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, the Pakistan Foreign Office said: “By continuing to work together, the two countries would be able to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism and promoting peace and security in the region”.

Hafiz Saeed was detained by the Pakistan police apparently under diplomatic pressure from the US.

“They noted that the bilateral strategic dialogue mechanism provided the requisite framework for constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation,” the report said.

The two officials said the framework of engagement would comprise of six working groups on law enforcement and counterterrorism; economy and finance; education, science and technology; energy, security and strategic stability; non-proliferation; and a defence consultative group.

Pakistan has been trying to build stronger ties with the US after Donald Trump took over as the 45th President on January 20.