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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Amjad_Malik
Full Name: Amjad Malik
User since: 15/Jun/2007
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Sharif to Obama ,a frank discussion

By Barrister Amjad Malik

 

Prime minister of Pakistan deserves applause on a very successful on target Presidential meeting with Barrack Obama on 22 October 2015. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's meeting with President Obama as civilian chief executive of Pakistan in itself is a big event and joining with interior , finance, foreign and defence minister is further to strengthen civilian rule in Pakistan. Joint communiqué is self evident of his success furthering the cause of Pakistan avoiding any damage to its interests and advancing on economic defence and social cooperation as an added mile.

 

President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif held wide-ranging discussions at the White House on 22 October 2015. The two leaders expressed their conviction that a resilient U.S.-Pakistan partnership is vital to regional and global peace and security and reaffirmed their commitment to address evolving threats in South Asia. It’s a partial victory to civilian rule when President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif expressed their desire to expand the bilateral relationship in areas outside the traditional security realm in recognition of the multifaceted issues facing both countries, including: trade and investment; education, science and technology; clean, efficient and affordable energy; efforts to counter climate change; economic growth; regional integration; rule of law; people-to-people and cultural ties; and support for democratic principles.

 

Trade not aid is the long held mantra of  Sharif. The leaders reaffirmed that the United States and Pakistan have a mutual interest in expanding bilateral trade and investment. Prime Minister Sharif reiterated the importance of market access for Pakistan as the most effective, mutually beneficial, and durable form of bilateral economic partnership. When Both leaders acknowledged that strengthening Pakistan’s trade and transit ties with its neighbors is needed to promote prosperity in Pakistan and the region, that shows Pakistan is heading towards the right direction.

 

Education and research in science and technology was not missed. In the near term, the two governments intend to double joint funding for a new round of research grants under the U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement. Building on important cooperation in basic education to date, the Leaders welcomed the launch of the Let Girls Learn Initiative in Pakistan, a global effort led by the United States, which will provide 200,000 Pakistani girls access to education and the tools they need to succeed in life.

The President Obama commended Prime Minister Sharif’s doubling of Pakistan’s higher education budget since 2013 and the government’s goal of doubling expenditures for education from two percent to four percent of gross domestic product by 2018.

 

Realizing Pakistanis energy needs, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to strong cooperation in the energy sector. The leaders announced the formation of a new U.S.-Pakistan Clean Energy Partnership, based on the initial work of the April 2015 Energy Working Group under the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue. Through the Partnership, the United States and Pakistan will cooperate to: attract local and international investment; develop an investment plan for expanding the role of clean energy systems; expand transmission capacity through selected infrastructure projects; and mobilize development financing to help attract private sector investments in hydropower, wind, solar, and natural gas projects. President Obama expressed support for Pakistan’s efforts to secure funding for the Diamer ­Bhasha and Dasu dams to help meet Pakistan’s energy and water needs. To me, that was a further advancement towards meeting energy needs and possible civil nuclear assistance in near future. Both leaders discussed the importance of enhancing measurable capability of Pakistan to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases.

 

President Obama condemned the December 2014 terrorist attack by the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in which 140 school children were killed. The Peshawar attack has set Pakistan on a new course against terrorism, terrorist organizations, its financiers, supporters, man hunters and masterminds and its forces are making progress all across the state of Pakistan.

The leaders discussed the importance of continued cooperation against terrorists and violent extremist groups. President Obama affirmed Pakistan’s role as a key counterterrorism partner and recognized the sacrifices that Pakistani civilians, military, and law enforcement personnel have made over the years as they confront terrorism and militant groups. Acknowledging the ongoing critical counterterrorism efforts that have driven the robust U.S.-Pakistan security cooperation since September 11, 2001, both leaders affirmed that this security relationship has been and will continue to be integral to regional stability.

 

Pakistan is taking enemy head on and operation Zarab e Azam is succeeding in first phase to physically threaten and demolish  the infrastructure. Its second phase to end sanctuaries and safe heavens from Fata , Baluchistan , Karachi and interior Punjab will be crucial part and later final stage of changing the mind set winning hearts and minds where national action plan truly kicks in through nectar and reforms legal, social as well as religious by introducing fairness and preaching tolerance will be the true victory. Both countries renewed their common resolve to promote peace and stability throughout the region and to counter all forms of extremism and terrorism. It is a recognition of the work initiated by civil military cooperation on national action plan and physical output by operation ‘zarab e azab’.

 

On India the charge sheet was long. Pakistan tried to convince that border skirmishes with India and hostile environment will contribute to divert Pakistan’s focus and attention against terrorists, and I think Pakistan succeeded in convening the message that dialogue resumption as soon as possible on all keys issues including ‘Kashmir’  is the way forward than ‘tit for tat’ hostile actions and speeches. Both stressed that improvement in Pakistan-India bilateral relations would greatly enhance prospects for lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

 

Later on, Wonderful handling of premier with Pak media in Urdu to sell his  success story snatching the prime air time and an opportunity of criticism which is wise and timely and well advised. It’s always good to talk to our own people which matters, in the end. Mariam Nawaz Sharif's address on ‘Let Girls Learn Initiative ‘ proved as an icing on the cake at the reception hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. In conclusion, “The two leaders affirmed their common resolve to continue working together to address the issues of greatest interest to both nations”. Sharif has successfully managed to convey country’s priorities and issues of continuing fight against terrorism, spinning the economic wheel and energy performance is a hall mark of his administration and has successfully avoided any apprehensions on ‘nukes’ whilst maintaining the threat to India through it, and offering the dialogue in a carrot and a stick situation. To me, job well done, though there is always a room for improvement but there is always next time IA.

 

Barrister Amjad Malik is a chair of Association of Pakistani Lawyers UK and has done LLM on national security Law

 

23 October 2015

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