Senior US official holds talks on ties during visit

ISLAMABAD: The United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Todd D Robinson concluded his four-day visit of Pakistan after holding discussions with Pakistani authorities on expanding Pakistan-US partnership, highlighting the 75th anniversary of bilateral relations.

Robinson visited Pakistan from June 29 – July 2 and met with senior government officials to discuss US-Pakistan cooperation on several topics, including counter-narcotics, gender issues, transnational crime, and border security, said US Embassy in a statement .

Assistant Secretary Robinson also took part in celebrating the 75 years of U.S.-Pakistani relations and INL’s 40-year partnership with Pakistan under the theme “justice, security, and prosperity.”

it added that the Assistant Secretary participated in the groundbreaking of the Anti-Narcotics Force Academy (ANF) construction and training project, valued at $2.2 million (451.7 million PKR), hosted by implementing partner United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Ministry of Narcotics Control Minister Shahzain Bugti and ANF Director General Ghulam Shabbir Narejo also attended.

“On behalf of the U.S. Government, I thank UNDP and ANF for their efforts and partnership with INL on our common objectives of combating drugs transiting through Pakistan and promoting the recruitment, retention, advancement, and gender mainstreaming of women police in Pakistan,” the statement quoted Robinson as having said.

The Assistant Secretary also attended a ceremony to celebrate the delivery of $1.44 million (295.7 million PKR) of commodities to the Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a KP provincial agency that has a drug interdiction mandate.

In his remarks, Robinson stated, “The fight against drugs and illicit contraband is a priority for Pakistan, the United States, and the international community, and I recognize that Pakistan faces special challenges because of its neighbourhood. But when we work together, we achieve great things.”

On July 1, it added that the Assistant Secretary joined Inspector General of Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa North Major General Adil Yamin, Inspector General of Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa South Major General Muhammad Munir Afsar, and senior Frontier Corps leadership for an inauguration and agreement signing ceremony for two joint projects worth approximately $10.5 million (2.1 billion PKR).

The inauguration celebrated completion of 45 new structures at FC KP North’s Warsak Training Centre, including accommodation barracks for 500 men and 128 women, classrooms, and facilities for physical training.

Officials also signed an agreement for the construction of women’s facilities at eight existing FC KP South regional headquarters.

The U.S. government-funded project will provide barracks, dining halls, kitchens, and other facilities that will support stationing of up to 128 women Frontier Corps members at each location.

Regarding the women’s facilities, Robinson said, “The United States is pleased to partner with Pakistan to enhance opportunities for women to access justice and to participate in the administration of justice.

Meanwhile, the Embassy stated in a tweet that US Ambassador Donald Blome brought together Pakistani and American businesspersons and industry experts to discuss growing economic ties with the visiting US Special Representative for Commerce and Business Affairs Dilawar Syed.

“Amb. Blome brought together U.S. and Pakistani businesses, officials, & industry experts at the US Embassy to discuss and celebrate our two countries’ growing economic ties with @BizAtState S/R for Commercial and Business Affairs Dilawar Syed,” the Embassy stated.