US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday expressed concern over increasing tension between Pakistan and India along the Line of Control.
In a meeting with Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi, Blinken also appreciated efforts made by Pakistan to promote peace and stability in South Asia.
He noted that Pakistan’s participation in the Heart of Asia Conference held in India on December 4, and its earlier pledge at the Brussels conference to provide $500 million for development projects in Afghanistan were concrete and positive steps reflecting Pakistan’s commitment to peace and prosperity of its western neighbour.
Blinken also praised Pakistan’s generosity in hosting millions of Afghan refugees for over four decades and expressed appreciation on the recent decision to extend the deadline for the repatriation of refugees.
Fatemi briefed Blinken on the frequency of ceasefire violations by India in recent weeks with particular reference to targeting of civilians across the LoC.
The massive and systematic human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir were resulting in hundreds of casualties and debilitating injuries to the civilians, including women and children, he added.
Blinken reiterated the US position on the need for reducing tension in South Asia and promoting closer cooperation and dialogue between the two largest countries of the region.
The meeting reviewed the bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United States, with the two sides expressing satisfaction on several achievements in areas of peace and security, counterterrorism, defence and economic cooperation.
It was agreed that Pakistan-US relationship was important to regional as well as global peace and security and should continue to be strengthened under the next administration.
Fatemi voiced hope the two sides would resume their regular engagement on the bilateral track after the completion of ongoing transition process.