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Pakistan in no mood to budge on Dr Shakil

23 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will not budge on the question of the case against Dr Shakil Afridi who has a criminal record and facing due process of law. The United States has the right to agitate any matter of its choice but Pakistan will not compromise on its stated position in the matter since the doctor in question is a citizen of Pakistan not that of the US.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz will have a comprehensive review of the strategic dialogue between the two countries when he will be co-chairing with US Secretary of State John Kerry meeting in this regard in the presence of representatives of five working groups of the two countries constituting strategic dialogue. The review talks will take place in the State Department starting Monday next in Washington.

Sartaj Aziz will be leaving for the United States tomorrow (Friday) while the members of the senior officials of the working groups are already in the process of leaving for the US capital. The possibility of discussion about the case of former military ruler (Retd) General Pervez Musharraf couldn't be ruled out during the review of the overall situation in informal talks on the brinks of the dialogue.

Highly placed diplomatic sources told that the Foreign Office was preparing working paper for the dialogue review and it would help bringing the focus back on the bilateralism of the ties between Islamabad and Washington since Kabul's relevance must be minimized in the two way relationship for future course of action. Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry is hopeful that the focus would be reverted to bilateral nature of the relationship.

Islamabad has already categorically made it clear through its public stance with regard to Congress plea for assistance to be provided to Pakistan as it must be string free. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told that the ministerial meeting is expected to review progress achieved in the five working groups and discuss concrete proposals and opportunities for partnership in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation, including strategic stability, defence, energy, economic growth, law-enforcement and counter-terrorism. Pakistan hopes to use the opportunity to highlight priorities for economic development, including expansion of trade and investment, he added.

The Pakistan-US Strategic dialogue provides a framework for discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest and focus on enhancing cooperation on issues of mutual concern, the foreign secretary said.

The revival of the dialogue after long pause could become possible in the wake of the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the United States in October last. He undertook the visit on the invitation of US President Barack Hussain Obama.

End.

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