British delegation comprising members of House of Common’s Defence Committee meets Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan

Islamabad, October 29, 2013 (PPI-OT): A British delegation comprising members of the House of Common Defence Committee called on Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Interior today to discuss the current and prospective situation in Afghanistan, resultant of the drawdown of the NATO/ISAF force in 2014 and the current state of relations between Pakistan and the UK.

The delegation comprised of Mr. Dai Havard MP (Lab Merthyr Tydfill and Rhymney), Mrs. Madeleine Moon MP (Lab, Bridgend), Mr. Bob Stewart m (Con Backenham), Ms. Gisela Stuart MP (Lab Birmingham, Edgbaston) and Mr. Derek Twigg MP (Lab Halton).

The head of the delegation RT. Hon James Arbuthnot MP Chairman of the Committee said that Pak-UK relations had reached a new level of cooperation and understanding which was based on a long history. He said that the Committee’s task was to improve relations between all regional countries. He expressed his admiration for the new government’s reaching out to the other countries in the region including Afghanistan and India. The British chairing the Committee requested Pakistan to play a positive role in ensuring durable peace in the region.

The Minister, while welcoming the guests from UK said that the relations between the present Government and the British Government are marked by close understanding, which was evident at the highest level.

This was also reflected in the visits of the British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary Rt Honorable William Hague and recently the British Home Secretary RT. Hon. Theresa May. Regarding Afghanistan the Minister said that a “Regional Approach” would be the best way forward. The Minister also said that this being a crucial stage in the history of the region, the Government believed in a frank and honest approach. He said that a commonality of purpose has been attained due to a good civil/military equation.

The Minister desired that UK can play the key role in helping Pakistan in this regional approach due to its unique position and credibility that it enjoys with all regional players. He said that Prime Minister Cameron has been playing an active role in this regard to bring UK and Pakistan together. The Minister also said that the same role should be played in the context of India as Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, has already gone the extra mile to further the cause of peace.

While discussing the response from India on the positive statements from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Minister said that unfortunately the response from India is far from satisfactory and there is constant tendency to drum up the posture of confrontation from across the border.

On the issue of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan, the Minister said that in the after math of 2015 he expected an increase in numbers as it is a continuous problem and “an area that bleeds”. However, the Minister was of the view that Pakistan would be able to address the situation.

On the issue of drones the Minister said that these were not acceptable to the Government at any cost and the military leadership is also on board on the issue, based on understanding of the underlying issues.

The British delegation expressed their satisfaction with the meeting and conveyed their interest in visiting Pakistan again. They also extended an invitation to the Minister for Interior’s to visit to UK.

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