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Pakistan is a very important player in the region:Ambassador Robin Raphel

Lahore: Ambassador Robin Raphel, Senior Advisor for Pakistan, at the Office of the Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, called on Mian Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, former Foreign Minister of Pakistan and PTI’s Senior Advisor on Foreign & Political Affairs & Chairman Task Force on Kashmir, yesterday in Lahore. She was assisted by Ms Nina Fite US Consul General in Lahore and Michael Gray, Political Counselor & Head of the Economic Division.

Kasuri said to her that the only viable way out for Pakistan, United States, Afghanistan & Taliban would be to enter into serious talks on the post 2014 situation in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan keenly desired a negotiated settlement because it had paid a very heavy price because of the civil war in Afghanistan following the Geneva Accords in 1989. He feared that unless the parties concerned reached a negotiated settlement on Afghanistan well in time, the consequences for Pakistan and the United States would be even worse than those following the civil war after 1989.

Ambassador Robin Raphel said that US accepted that Pakistan was a very important player in the region and could make a major contribution to peace and stability in Afghanistan. She said that Pakistan and the United States had begun to talk more positively regarding the situation in Afghanistan.

Mian Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told Ambassador Raphel that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf strongly felt that the drone strikes were counterproductive and the use of drones in the tribal areas was promoting extremism because a large number of innocent civilians were losing their lives as a result of these strikes.

They also discussed the political situation in Pakistan and PTI’s policies for strengthening the country’s economy. Mr. Kasuri said that the masses desperately wanted a change and looked towards the PTI for this purpose. He felt that the situation would improve further from the point of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf after the installation of a genuinely neutral interim government which would be installed prior to the holding of general elections.

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