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Homeland Security

Pakistan objects to new US screening law

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, Jan 13, IRNA -- Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Wednesday raised objections to new screening laws for Pakistanis traveling to the United States and said it would have bad impact on relations.

Addressing a joint news conference with US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Hoolbroke, the foreign minister said that despite positive gestures he apprised the US Special Envoy of some of the steps taken which have negative fall out on relationship and one of them is enhanced security screening in the US.

“The people of Pakistan feel that we are partners and allies and are working for share objectives and innocent being are being looked at as terrorists.”

The U.S. envoy said that enhanced security measures put in place after a catastrophe was foiled when a Nigerian tried to blow up an American passenger plane on Dec 25th.

“As result of that investigation certain actions were taken,” he said adding these were necessary for security. He said these are discriminatory for Pakistan and other countries have also been asked they will face screening.

“I am sorry for inconvenience it has caused to the people,” Halbooke said.

Qureshi said The United States has agreed with Pakistan's proposals to further enhance strategic dialogue between the two countries to working levels.

“We are very attentive to the needs of Pakistan on bilateral basis and our policies vis-a-vis Pakistan should not be viewed in the strategic context alone.”

The US special envoy said Pakistan- US relations have improved during the last one year and the US believes that these are better than they were. He acknowleged that there are some obvious and public issues between the two countries and said friends can disagree.

He also said the US is committed to complete the BIT investment treaty with Pakistan. Besides, the trade transit agreement reached between the two countries last year, is also near completion.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi thanked the US Secretary of State for her interest in upgrading the strategic dialogue and making it result oriented.

He said next round of strategic dialogue will be held between the two countries next month and Pakistan will identify the areas to be discussed.

The Foreign Minister said a lot has been achieved since the new US administration came into office. He said economic and security assistance has been enhanced for Pakistan. United States, he said, is also helping Pakistan in its energy needs.

Referring to the drone attacks he said Pakistan feels that expansion in these attacks will undermine our relationship. He said there is also a perception in Pakistan that despite our very good relations, the United States has not paid sufficient attention to Pakistan's security concerns viz a viz India.

Mr. Qureshi said that Pakistan is best placed for reconstruction of Afghanistan. It is willing to play its role including to train Afghan Army, Police training.

**1412

End News / IRNA / News Code 896018



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