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PM Sharif visits Pentagon; meets US defense Secretary

WASHINGTON:  On Thursday, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif visited the Pentagon, which is the headquarter of the United States Department of Defense on the invitation of Ashton Carter the US defense Secretary.

Defense Secretary lauded the progress achieved by Pakistan in degrading the terrorist networks, recognizing the sacrifices that Pakistan has made and it’s military, law enforcement personnel and the civilians.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister Office, “He noted that Pakistan has been at forefront of fighting terrorism.”

He also lauded, “the government’s efforts to achieve a national political consensus on fighting terrorism.”

Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, interior minister NIsar Ali Khan, Finian Minister Ishaq Dar, Defense Mnister Khawaja Asif, special assistant Tariq Fatimi, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani were along with the Prime Minister.

Nawaz Shareef expressed, “satisfaction that bilateral defense cooperation had continued to grow over the past two years” during the meeting.

The role of Pakistan-United States security cooperation in bolstering Pakistan’s counter-terrorism capacity,” Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef appreciated.

The Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef and President Barack Obama met earlier; they have also agreed tp take effective actions against all the terrorist groups including the Lashkar e Taiba.

Pakistan also agreed to ensure that all Taliban groups, including the Haqqani Network, are unable to operate from the soil of Pakistan,” according to the joint statement issued after the meeting.

Obama urged Pakistan to “to avoid developments in its nuclear weapons program that could increase risks and instability” at the time of the heightened tensions between the armed rivals India and Pakistan.

Islamabad will not accept limits to its weapons program and argue that smaller tactical nuclear weapons are needed to deter a sudden attack by India,” Pakistani officials have said.

A white house statement said that, “In reference to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, Obama stressed the importance of avoiding any developments that might invite increased risk to nuclear safety, security, or strategic stability.”

Both leaders said in a joint statement that, “all sides should act with restraint and work toward strategic stability in South Asia.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef and President Barack Obama have also expressed the concerns over the violence along the Line of Control and noted that, “support for confidence-building measures and effective mechanisms that are acceptable to both India and Pakistan.

However Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef said earlier that, “We will protect the national interests of Pakistan during my meetings with US leadership.”

He added that, “We should not forget who the prime minister was in 1999 when we became a nuclear power.”

He also stated that, “concrete evidence regarding India’s sponsoring of terrorism has been forwarded to relevant people and organizations, and expressed hope that Pakistan’s concerns would be addressed.”