Pakistan should redouble efforts against militants: US defence chief

BYYasir Rehman


Visiting United States (US) Defence Secretary, retired Gen James Mattis has urged on Pakistan’s political and military leadership that Pakistan must redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists operating within the country.

In his day long first visit to Pakistan, Gen James Mattis met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa separately.

“Secretary [Mattis] emphasised the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the United States and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan that brings stability and security to the region,” in his meetings with Pakistani officials, said a brief statement issued by the US Embassy issued after the meetings.

“The Secretary reiterated that Pakistan must redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists operating within the country,” it added.
PM Abbasi received Mattis at Prime Minister House for their official meeting where ministers from Foreign, Interior and Defence and Director General ISI also joined them.

“General Mattis informed the Pakistani leadership that the purpose of his visit was to find common grounds in order to create a positive, consistent and long-term relationship with Pakistan, said a statement issued by Prime Minister House.

A statement issued by ISPR, military media wing said that during meeting between US Defence Secretary and Army Chief was Meeting was focused on regional security with particular emphasis on Afghanistan as well as other matters of mutual interest.

Military statement said that Gen Mattis assured that US is ready to play its role in addressing Pakistan’s legitimate concerns, saying that his aim is not to make demands but find common grounds to work together.

On Saturday, Secretary Mattis had told reporters that he would look for “common grounds” between America and Pakistan during his time in Islamabad.

Asked if he was going to press the government to take more action against militants, Mattis said: “That’s not the way I deal with issues. I believe that we work hard on finding the common ground and then we work together.”