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April 26, 2017

Dar discusses economic ties, war on terror with two top US officials


April 26, 2017

WASHINGTON: Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar met two top US official here to discuss enhanced economic ties but situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s war on terror overshadowed the conversation.

Dar who is considered a powerful minister owing to his close ties with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, secured meetings with top level officials in President Trump’s administration. 

After his meetings with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Acting Deputy Secretary of State Tom Shannon, the minister was schedule to meet US National Security Advisor Lt Gen McMaster at the White House.

Treasury Secretary asked the minister about efforts being made by the government to control terrorist financing. Dar apprised him of measures being taken by Pakistan to enforce legal controls to prevent use of banking channels for funding terrorist organisations, according to official statement issued by Pakistan Embassy after the meeting.

The minister highlighted Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism and shared the details of operation against terrorists. He said the government is spending huge sum of money not only on the operational side but also to rehabilitate internally displaced persons. 

He informed his US counterpart about recent turnaround witnessed by the Pakistan’s economy highlighting that the country, for the first time in its history has completed an IMF Programme which has put economy on solid footing. 

Dar further said that Pakistan was looking forward to working with the new US Administration not only in economy but also in other areas.

The Treasury Secretary appreciated the recent turnaround and efforts made by the government to control terrorist financing. He observed that both the countries should work together to curb this menace.

Meanwhile in his meeting with Tom Shannon, the minister said Pakistan would continue to make efforts to build on the already existing mutually beneficial elements in the bilateral relationship to further solidify the relations with the Trump Administration. “We would continue to work for a relationship based on mutual respect and mutuality of interests”, observed Dar.

Reiterating Pakistan’s strong resolve to combat terrorism and extremism in the country, the Finance Minister briefed the Acting Deputy Secretary about Pakistan’s sustained counter-terror operations all over Pakistan. “We are conducting these security operations with the unwavering belief that ridding the society of the scourge of terrorists and extremists is in Pakistan’s national interest. People of Pakistan are backing our security forces in their operations as a result of the national consensus achieved by the people and the institutions of Pakistan. There is no other country which has sacrificed more in human life and material terms than Pakistan in the global fight against terrorism,” conveyed Dar.

He told the US official that the economic turnaround in the country was an indication of the improved security situation as well as a result of the highly liberal economic policies pursued by the government of Pakistan. He assured the US official that the government would not relent the pressure on the elements engaged in terrorism and extremism in the country till the objectives set out in the National Action Plan for secure and prosperous Pakistan were achieved.

The Finance Minister welcomed the US National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. McMaster’s recent visit to Pakistan, terming it a strong and timely indication of the US’s desire to partner with Pakistan in achieving the common objectives of peace and security in Afghanistan and the larger South Asia region.

Highlighting the concerns in Pakistan over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, Dar observed that the only long-term resolution of the problems in Afghanistan was political and use of military means should only be to facilitate an Afghan owned and Afghan led reconciliation process.

Tom Shannon conveyed to the Finance Minister the Trump Administration’s commitment to engage Pakistan for a broad based bilateral relationship and to partner with Pakistan to achieve regional peace and security in South Asia.