The Embassy of Pakistan hosted a New Year Luncheon for Washington based correspondents of US print and electronic media. The event was very well attended by correspondents from CNN, AP, LA Times, WSJ, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Reuters, Fox News, WP, Washington Diplomat, USA Today & BBC.
Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani welcomed the mainstream US correspondents and briefed them on the state of play in Pak-US relations emphasizing that Pakistan and United States had a historic nature of relationship spanning over 07 decades. Ambassador Jilani underscored that Pakistan looked forward to working closely with the new US administration. Pakistan had a very comprehensive and meaningful discussion with the outgoing Obama administration. Those people who had been designated in the new US administration, knew Pakistan very well. There had been a better realization of the problems Pakistan was facing in the region. Moreover, there was a convergence of interests between the two countries on number of issues likely to strengthen the bilateral relations in future, he added.
While answering a question, Ambassador Jilani remarked that Pakistan had successfully launched a campaign of historical proportion to address the menace of terrorism. He expressed the hope that Pak-US cooperation would be further strengthened in the fight against terrorism by revisiting sale of F-16s and Coalition Fund issues. Over the last few years, the terrorist incidents in Pakistan had reduced significantly, approx. by 70% with a positive impact on economy. Pakistan Stock Market had surpassed the other markets in the region. There had been a surge in the number of visitors from US to Pakistan which symbolized a renewed interest in Pakistan.
Ambassador Jilani stressed Pakistan’s firm belief in having a closer cooperation in the region. He contended that the emergence of extremist and violent organizations was the outcome of instability & violence all over the world. While responding to a question, Ambassador reiterated that Pakistan had not seen any organized presence of ISIS in Pakistan. However, Pakistan was concerned about the growing influence of ISIS in Afghanistan.
On Indus Water Treaty, Ambassador Jilani said Pakistan had requested the World Bank to play the role of an administrator in terms of the legal and technical objections raised by Pakistan on Kishan Ganga and Ratle hydro-power projects in India. However, India had requested for appointment of neutral expert. Pakistan believed that the mandate of the neutral expert was limited. The technical expert would tend to focus only on technical aspects whereas legal aspects would not be considered. He reiterated that Pakistan would like to engage in a sustained, meaningful dialogue with India in order to resolve all the outstanding issues peacefully.
January 13, 2017