WASHINGTON: Pakistan's Ambassador to US, Sherry Rehman, Wednesday stressed upon Washington that an apology for Salala tragedy would help break the deadlock on Ground Lines of Communication (GLOCs).
Ambassador Rehman said this while talking to Senate Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul here on Wednesday.
According to a press release issued by the Pakistan Embassy in US, both sides agreed on the importance of overcoming the current stalemate in the bilateral relationship urgently and to work for a robust and even-keeled relationship based on mutual respect.
Senator McConnell and Senator Paul in addition to conveying their concerns over the conviction and continued detention of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, urged Pakistan to open the GLOCs to facilitate supplies to US/ISAF and take action against Haqqani Network.
On Shakeel Afridi, Ambassador Rehman briefed the Senators that Dr. Afridi was charged and convicted by Political Administration in Khyber Agency for supporting and working with Lashkar-e-Islam, a terrorist organization responsible for killing innocent civilians and law enforcement personnel.
She told the Senators that an appeals process exists and Dr. Afridi’s lawyers are reportedly appealing against the conviction. She stressed that Pakistan has an independent judiciary which functions pursuant to the Constitution and in accordance with the laws of Pakistan.
Government was, therefore, not in a position to interfere in the judicial process.
In response to the Senators assertion that Afridi helped nab Osama Bin Laden, Ambassador Rehman stressed that Dr Afridi did not even know whether the job CIA contracted him for was meant to capture Osama Bin Laden. Dr. Afridi’s actions had seriously jeopardized Pakistan’s efforts to fight disease and polio, particularly among children. She emphasized that Dr. Afridi’s case needs to be handled in a prudent fashion.
On militant sanctuaries in Pakistan, Ambassador Rehman stressed that Pakistan had zero tolerance for militant groups and our actions in Swat, Bajaur, Mohmand Agency and South Waziristan proved it.
Unfortunately, militants forced out of our territory often found safe havens in Afghanistan.
She recalled that over the last one month, three major attacks were launched from these sanctuaries on Afghanistan side resulting in the martyrdom of 18 of our soldiers.
The continued presence of these sanctuaries in Afghanistan in the face of US, NATO and Afghanistan’s combined military might is beyond explanation, she stressed.