WASHINGTON - Terming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's four-day visit to the United States successful, Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz yesterday said it has laid the foundation of multidimensional and broad-based partnership between the two countries.

Talking to reporters here after the culmination of the visit, he said Pak-US bilateral ties have improved during the last two years, comparing the past when there had been some hiccups in the bilateral relations that also caused suspension of strategic dialogue.

He said six working groups were already working to improve the Pak-US ties; however, it was needed to address each other’s concerns through such an interaction.

He said the joint statement issued after the meeting between Prime Minister Sharif and US President Barack Obama had dispelled the negative impressions being created in the media about the bilateral ties vis-à-vis Pakistan’s nuclear programme and action against militancy.

He said Pakistan has successfully convinced the US authorities that its nuclear programme was meant to maintain minimum deterrence what he said was also essential for stability in South Asia.

Sartaj Aziz who was accompanied by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani told media persons that the international community has recognised safety and credibility of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

He averred the US has lauded Pakistan’s bold action against terrorists besides acknowledging the sacrifices the country rendered during this course. He stated due to the effective implementation of the National Action Plan, terrorist attacks have decreased by around 60 to 70 percent, adding 190,000 Pakistani troops had been deployed in tribal areas to fight the menace.

About the US concern regarding action against Haqqani Network, he said Pakistan had made it clear that indiscriminate action would be taken gradually against all the groups involved in terrorism.

He asserted the prime minister has reiterated his stance that Pakistan will not allow the misuse of its soil for cross-border terrorism, though Zarb-e-Azb operation has already weakened the terrorists to a great extent.

The foreign adviser maintained Pakistan’s concerns were mainly about India, including hostile statements, ceasefire violations and increased intervention in Pakistan.

He said Pakistan was ready for dialogue, but India was putting pre-conditions. He affirmed the joint statement has clearly called for steps to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, besides setting up a mechanism to end aggression at the Line of Control.

He said both Pakistan and the US have agreed to make concerted efforts to revive the peace process in Afghanistan that had been disrupted by some elements by breaking the news about death of Mulla Omar.

He claimed this visit would help broaden the Pak-US ties beyond security issues to education, economy and defence cooperation.

About the new initiatives decided between Pakistan and the US, he asserted both the countries have agreed for a clean energy partnership to produce 3,000 megawatts of electricity. Besides, an education corridor would be established, introducing modern facilities and capacity building in the education sector.

Aziz said access to the US markets, Pakistan’s participation in bidding process of US defence contracts, Shale gas and defence production cooperation are among the initiatives in the pipeline.

The adviser said dossier containing the evidences of Indian involvement in Pakistan have been handed over to the US authorities as part of process to raise international reaction on the issue. He claimed inclusion of Kashmir as dispute in the joint statement is a major achievement of Pakistan that rejected the old Indian stance. He said Pakistan had urged the third force to play its role for resolution of Pak-India issues which could not be addressed bilaterally.

To a question, Sartaj Aziz said the durable peace in Afghanistan could only be achieved through talks, adding Pakistan would try to help resume the peace process but first Afghan government would have to show its willingness in this regard.

He stated as the summer season was getting over, hostility would decrease in Afghanistan during the winter, so the next three to four months would be of utmost importance for peace process.

The foreign affairs adviser said the United States had committed to providing US $900 million under the Coalition Support Fund. He asserted the United States representative had acknowledged that situation in Pakistan was conducive for investment and that they would hold a conference which would follow another moot on Bhasha Dam.

To a question, he said work on Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline would start once sanctions on Iran are lifted. Sartaj Aziz made it clear that Pakistan felt compelled to take similar action when its adversary tried to create imbalance of power in the region and reiterated that its nuclear programme was to ensure the very equilibrium.

He averred both Pakistan and India were candidates to become part of the Nuclear Supplier Group and would join it simultaneously.

Responding to a question, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said the US side had expressed concerns about peace and security in Afghanistan. “In this regard, we made it clear that Pakistan is already striving for the same in its own interest and as moral obligation,” he concluded.