Pak must ‘redouble’ its efforts against terrorists: US Defence Secy Mattis

Islamabad: US Defence Secretary James Mattis has urged Pakistan to redouble its efforts to confront terrorists operating within the country.

A US embassy statement issued after Mattis met with Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister of Defence Khurram Dastigir Khan, said the US Defence Secretary reiterated that Pakistan must redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists operating within the country.

He emphasised the vital role that Pakistan can play in working with the United States and others to facilitate a peace process in Afghanistan and bring back stability and security to the region.

He also met Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Lt. Gen. Naveed Mukhtar.

Mattis, who held talks with the Pakistani civil and military leadership on Monday, said the purpose of his visit was to find common grounds in order to create a positive, consistent and long term relationship with Pakistan.

He also underscored the importance of continuing and deepening cooperation for the common objective of eliminating terrorism from the region.

Recalling the longstanding relationship with the United States, Abbasi underlined the need for a broad based engagement to strengthen partnership and enhance cooperation between the two countries.

He agreed with Secretary Mattis that both Pakistan and the US have common stakes in securing peace and security in Afghanistan for the long term stability of the broader region.

Earlier, Mattis arrived on Monday for his maiden visit to Pakistan since taking charge of the Pentagon.

He was received by the officials from the defence and foreign ministries at the Nur Khan Airbase, Chaklala.

Mattis’ visit came days after the release of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan following which the US had strongly condemned Islamabad and called for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution.

The White House, in a statement, had said: “The United States strongly condemns the release of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) leader Haft Saeed from house arrest in Pakistan and calls for his immediate re-arrest and prosecution.”