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COAS, US special envoy call on PM

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December 6, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had an important meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan here at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday. They discussed matters relating to the armed forces and overall security situation. The 34 words press release didn’t give any elaboration of the discussion between the civil and military leaders but sources are of the view the meeting has conspicuous significance in the backdrop of ongoing visit of special envoy of the US Secretary of State for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad who is on eight countries visit with reference to his mission and on first leg of the trip he was in Pakistan.

Khalilzad had some important meetings including with the prime minister here and he is believed to be in process of interacting with the Taliban leaders.

Interestingly, US President Donald Trump has written to Imran Khan for seeking Pakistan’s assistance for a negotiated settlement of Afghan imbroglio. Khalilzad reached Islamabad on the following day of his president’s letter. The prime minster and army chief had evolved strategy to deal with the development, the sources observed. It was first meeting of the PM and army chief after opening of Kartarpur corridor and they have also discussed follow up actions in this regard, the sources pointed out.

The Army has planned to undertake winter exercises. General Bajwa is believed to have briefed the prime minster regarding the preparations for the same, the sources said.

According to the PMO, Khalilzad paid a courtesy call on the PM. Conveying the good wishes of President Trump to the PM, Khalilzad said the US leadership looked forward to working with Pakistan in furthering the shared goal of peace through a political settlement in Afghanistan.

The prime minister reiterated Pakistan’s abiding interest in achieving peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan through political settlement. Recalling his long personal commitment to the cause of peace in the region, he welcomed President Trump’s letter and the US assurance to work with Pakistan on this shared objective. The prime minister also emphasised the importance of intensifying regular engagement on priority areas in the bilateral context, particularly trade, investment, education, health and social sector development.

Meanwhile, Kentaro Sonoura, National Security Adviser (NSA) to the Prime Minister of Japan, called on Imran Khan.

Kentaro Sonoura expressed desire to further strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and Japan. He underscored Japanese high respect for Pakistan in fighting terrorism.

The prime minister welcomed Sonoura and members of his delegation. He appreciated the positive momentum of bilateral relationship between the two countries. The prime minister also praised the impressive warmth, vigour and pioneering spirit of the Japanese people.

Acknowledging the importance of Japan as a development and investment partner, Imran Khan expressed satisfaction over the cordial relations between the two countries. He said was looking forward for greater level of cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the area of trade, investment, infrastructure and human resource development. The prime minister encouraged Japanese investment in Pakistan which has immense economic potential, having young population and unexplored mineral wealth.

JETRO survey on Japanese business in Asia has declared Pakistan as the top country for positive sale profits and future business expansion.

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