Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Former Senator Enwer Baig fetes Alice Wells

ISLAMABAD, JAN 20 (DNA) -Alice G. Wells, the Acting US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, has said the United States was keen to transform its ties with Pakistan from aid relationship to trade relationship adding tings were moving in the right direction.

She expressed these views while speaking during a reception hosted by former Senator Enver Beg. The dinner reception was attended by several retired generals, diplomats, and prominent journalists.

She said during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with President Trump both sides had agreed on transforming this relationship with special emphasis on cementing trade and economic ties.

Ms. Wells further said “I have the fondest memories of serving in Pakistan back in late 90s and glad to see a number of friends around tonight”.

She said Pakistan offers huge business opportunities and many US companies are already engaged in Pakistan and many more want to come here for business purposes.

“The US is eager to increase the trade potential between our two nations. Wells was  of the opinion that agriculture was one sector where immediate progress can be made.

The senior US diplomat also appreciated Pakistan’s role in the ongoing peace talks in neighboring Afghanistan and said that Pakistan and United States have seen unprecedented cooperation in the context of Afghan peace talks.

Alice Wells further said US-Pakistan relationship is important one adding she was pleased to be part of further developing and strengthening this relationship.

She added, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has played a vital role in the Afghan peace process and reiterated on several occasions that peace in Afghanistan is very important for Pakistan and the country would continue its efforts to bring peace and stability in the region.

The Taliban have recently agreed to a reduction in violence, and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi last week had said that the announcement by the group was an essential step towards a peace agreement in Afghanistan.

Ambassador Wells also met with Brig (r) Ijaz Shah, the Federal Minister for Interior. Among other issues, both officials held talks about stopping illegal immigration to the United States, streamlining the verification of passports and travelling documents.

The visiting US delegation was also given a detailed briefing by officials at the Pakistani interior ministry about the progress regarding the Financial Action Task Force.

Enwer Beg’s and his family accorded warm welcome to the Ms. Wells and her delegation when they arrived at the Jehlum house on the outskirts of Islamabad. Senator Beg, during his remarks, said that he had the pleasure of knowing Ambassador Wells since 1999 when she served as the political head at the US Embassy in Islamabad. He said that he hoped the visiting diplomat would have constructive meetings with the officials in Islamabad, and the relationship would move forward.

ISLAMABAD, JAN 21: Alice Wells US Asstt Secretary of State interacts with Pakistani think-tank during a reception hosted by former Senator Enwer Baig. DNA PHOTO

ISLAMABAD, JAN 21: Alice Wells US Asstt Secretary of State interacts with Pakistani think-tank
during a reception hosted by former Senator Enwer Baig. DNA PHOTO

Senator Baig further said Ms. Wells is a great friend of Pakistan and the Baig family adding her visit will contribute greatly towards further strengthening of Pakistan, US reactions. He said she knows most of the political leaders of Pakistan and genuinely wants to bring both countries closer.

Among the other notable guests were General (r) Ehsan Ul Haq, the former Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staffs Committee, Lt Gen (r) Asif Yasin Malik, the former Secretary of Defense, Riaz Hussain Khokar, the former foreign secretary, Ambassador Abdul Basit, Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan, former advisor to the finance ministry, Lt. Gen ® Tariq Khan former Corps Commander Mangla Corps.-DNA