British Foreign Secretary Meets With Civil and Military Leadership of Pakistan

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond lauded Islamabad’s role in the fight against terrorism. During his meetings with civil and military leadership here in Islamabad on Tuesday he reaffirmed Britain commitment to support Pakistan in war against terrorism. He said Pakistan is the victim of terrorism and we assured Pakistan that Britain will  remain partner of Pakistan against terrorism.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond urged Indian and Pakistan to not allow non-state actors to derail the peace process; he was addressing a joint press conference with Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister’s Special Adviser for Foreign Affairs on Tuesday. Philip Hammond Britain Foreign Secretary said, “I urge both Pakistan and India not to allow non-state actors and other pressure groups to derail the peace process. Settling the Kashmir issue should not be a precondition for starting the dialogue process,” Hammond said while addressing a joint press conference with Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad.

Commenting on the January 2 attack on India’s Pathankot air base in northern Punjab British foreign secretary advised Pakistan to speed up the investigation which India has blamed on Pakistan-based militant groups Jaish-e-Muhammad.

Meeting with Prime Minister

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Philip Hammond, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs & Commonwealth Affairs called on Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at PM House on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister said that fighting the war against terrorism is the moral obligation of Pakistan, and that his government is leading the war to ensure a peaceful tomorrow for the country and our future generations.  We strongly condemn terrorist activities anywhere in the world whether perpetrated by individuals, groups or States.

Mr Philip Hammond appreciated the Prime Minister for leading reform agendas in various aspects. He admired the Pakistani government for its domestic reform agenda and legislation and national policies to protect women and minorities. You are doing the right thing by reaching out to your neighbours. Your message of peace is in fact reaching to the entire world, which is reassuring, said Mr Philip Hammond.

Meeting with Chief of Army Staff

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British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond also visited GHQ on Tuesday where he laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army presented the Guard of Honour to the visiting dignitary.

According to ISPR During the meeting Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif matters of mutual interest including security situation in the region were discussed. British Foreign Secretary Mr Philip Hammond acknowledged and appreciated Pakistan Army’s sincere efforts and sacrifices in war against terrorism and for stability in the region.

Meeting with Interior Minster

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British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs Philip Hammond called on Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan at Punjab House on Tuesday. Ch. Nisar Ali Khan urged British Foreign Secretary that UK and Pakistan need to work hand in hand for promoting peace, overcoming shared challenges and forging a robust partnership in the area of counter-terrorism, organized crimes and against those who put the peace of the region at stake.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond appreciated the countless sacrifices of the country and the people assured continued assistance to the country and its people in their fight against militancy. He also agreed to the observation of the Interior Minister for the need to make greater and conscious efforts not to let non-state actors hijack foreign policy and dictate their terms to the sovereign states.

Meeting with Chief Minister Punjab

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British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Wednesday both leaders discussed matters of mutual interest, promotion of trade and economic cooperation, health, skill development and security affairs.

On the occasion, the British foreign secretary praised the performance of Punjab Government saying Punjab is marching forward to right direction in development fields. Extraordinary work was being carried out in education, health and other sectors under the leadership of CM Shahbaz, Philip Hammond added.

Meeting with Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

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According to press release of Foreign Secretary office, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond met with the double-Oscar winning Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Philip Hammond told the Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy that I am impressed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s commitment to tackle honour killing and the Punjab Assembly’s recent legislation to protect women.

Commenting on the tour of Pakistan British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, “I am pleased to visit Pakistan again to further enhance our bilateral relationship and to demonstrate the UK’s continuing commitment to the country and its people”.

Britain and Pakistan will remain firm partners in the battle for peace and security in the region. We will continue to work together to tackle terrorism and extremism and to improve living standards and life chances for all, Philip Hammond added.

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