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The visiting US Senators Christopher Van Hollen and Margaret C. Hassan called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday. The senators are visiting Pakistan to have first hand information and an in-depth assessment of the evolving situation following India's illegal and unilateral actions in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) in violation of the UN resolutions and international law. The visit also provided an opportunity to exchange views on strengthening Pakistan-US ties, and the Afghan peace and reconciliation process, says a press release issued here. The Prime Minister appreciated the continued active interest of the U.S. Congress, including of the two Senators, in the volatile situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister said that the ongoing lockdown in the occupied Kashmir for over two months, refusal of Indian authorities to lift the curfew, and acute shortage of basic necessities including medicine and food to the people incarcerated in the largest prison on earth were grave violations of the fundamental human rights and international humanitarian law. It was critical for the international community to raise its voice for respect of the rights and freedoms of the people in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister added that the international community must also take cognizance of the grave consequences of Indian actions for regional peace and stability and should act immediately.

The Prime Minister said that the relationship between Pakistan and the US was based on mutual trust and partnership for peace.

The Senators affirmed that they would work for a broad-based and long-term relationship with enhanced trade ties between the two countries.

Discussing the regional situation, the Prime Minister noted that both Pakistan and the US had a shared interest in advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Reiterating Pakistan's continued commitment to facilitation of a political solution in Afghanistan; the Prime Minister underlined the importance of earliest resumption of the US-Taliban peace talks.

Senator Christopher Van Hollen, who visited Miran Shah on 5 October, appreciated the development work in the area. He also acknowledged the sacrifices of Pakistani soldiers and civilians as part of its successful drive against the menace of terrorism.

The two Senators, who visited Azad Jammu and Kashmir on 6 October 2019 and held meetings with President and Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said that they shared concerns on the current humanitarian situation caused by Indian actions. They expressed their resolve to continue to remain engaged on the issue.-PR

Nuzhat Nazar adds: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has appreciated the US understanding and support for resolving Kashmir issue as well as Pakistan's efforts for Afghan peace.

The US Senators Christopher Van Hollen and Maggie Hassan called on General Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) at General Headquarters (GHQ) on Monday.

During the meeting, issues of mutual interest and overall regional security situation including Afghan reconciliation process and Kashmir issue were discussed.

The visiting dignitaries acknowledged Pakistan's efforts for regional peace and stability. The Army Chief appreciated the US understanding and support on all the need for resolving Kashmir issue and for Pakistan's efforts in Afghanistan.

Both sides stressed upon importance of strong bilateral relationship between US and Pakistan in and beyond security cooperation. Earlier on Sunday last, the congressional delegation of the United States flew into the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) capital Muzaffaraabad to see the ground situation and gauge public sentiment following the August 5 Indian actions in Occupied Kashmir, officials said. During the visit, Senators Hollen and Hassan called on AJK President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider. They attended a briefing by a senior army official on the current situation along the Line of Control (LoC).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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