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Pakistan role in bringing Taliban to negotiation table appreciated by US President: Fawad Chaudhry

29 January, 2019

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Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that Pakistan’s role in bringing Taliban to the negotiation table has been appreciated by US President Donald Trump.

During an interview with Gulf News on Sunday, Chaudhry said that Trump appreciated Islamabad’s role in the Afghan peace talks so much that he has reviewed and changed his policies against Pakistan.

The information minister stated that a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Trump is on the cards but it will be possible only after the Afghan peace talks. “We are waiting to see this happen,” he added.

Chaudhry said Pakistan is playing its role at a fairly advanced level for the Afghan peace dialogue. “Frankly, we expect a positive outcome from the negotiations between the US and Afghan Taliban,” he said.

Regarding reports that the US may offer Pakistan a free trade agreement (FTA) in return for its assistance in ending the Afghan war and that US Senator Lindsey Graham discussed the idea with Pakistani officials during a recent visit to the country, Chaudhry said, “I know about the FTA offer but cannot comment on this at this stage.” The minister said before the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s coming to power, Pakistan relations with the United States had deteriorated. Now Imran Khan was the best bet for bringing stability in the region as said by US Senator Graham, her added.

The information minister further said stability and peace in Afghanistan is not just in the US’ interests but Pakistan will also greatly benefit from this.

Stating that it is not the right time to hold a dialogue as Indian politics is currently in turmoil because of the upcoming elections, the information minister said, “We have delayed our efforts to hold talks with India because we do not expect any big decision from the present Indian leadership,” Chaudhry said.

“It is useless to talk to them [India] now unless there is some stability. We will move forward once the new government is formed after the elections,” he added.

Chaudhry said the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan in November last year is a remarkable development between the two countries because it will not only help the Sikh community but also benefit Indo-Pak relations.

When asked which Indian leader will suit Pakistan more when it comes to peace talks – Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi, the information minister said it does not matter for Pakistan. “We will respect any Indian leader and the party elected by the Indian people. And, we would like to move forward to hold dialogue with whosoever comes into power in India,” he upheld. On being asked who calls the shots in Pakistan when it comes to foreign policy, Chaudhry said: “Of course Prime Minister Imran Khan.”

Federal Minister also expressed the hope that the upcoming edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) would be the last one to be played in the United Arab Emirates.

“We want to shift the cricket gala to Pakistan,” he said while addressing the opening ceremony of “Maidan Sajana Hai, Pakistan ki Shaan Barhana Hai”, campaign in connection with the PSL-4 in Dubai.

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