US senator lauds Gen Raheel, urges action against Haqqani network

Published July 8, 2016
US Senator McCain says General Raheel is a fine leader with good grasp over military and civilian matters. ─John McCain Twitter profile
US Senator McCain says General Raheel is a fine leader with good grasp over military and civilian matters. ─John McCain Twitter profile

Chairman of US Senate's Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain on Friday said that he is deeply impressed by Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif's leadership skills and hopes that the general continues to lead Pakistan.

In an interview with ARY News, the US senator who recently visited Pakistan said that the General Raheel is a fine leader and a man with "a good mind and good grasp over military as well as civilian matters".

"I saw him how he interacts with other officers in the army. In one meeting, he also brought the ISI chief to discuss issues with us. Our dialogue with him was regarding Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan and how we can improve ties between US and Pakistan," said McCain.

McCain, termed the situation in Waziristan agency satisfying and lauded the armed forces for clearing Miranshah off terrorists.

"I and my fellow senators spent several hours there in Miranshah and met the military leadership. We were surprised to know that 6,000 Pakistani soldiers lost their lives and 16,000 were injured, which is a very very heart breaking number," said McCain.

'Haqqani network shouldn't have a safe haven'

McCain answered a number of questions about US-Pakistan relations and Afghanistan issue with the demand that Pakistan should take action against the Haqqani network "involved in killing a number of US soldiers and citizens in Afghanistan".

"Haqqani network should not have a safe haven in Pakistan," the senator said.

He maintained that there is clear and convincing information that the network is operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan and US wants action against this common adversary and betterment of relations between the two countries.

He, however, dodged the question about Mullah Fazlullah's presence in Afghanistan and instead reminded the interviewer about Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden's presence in Pakistan and Pakistan's presumed inaction against Haqqani network.

"Now there is an act of Congress which says that the president has to certify that government of Pakistan will take action against Haqqani network before sending money in aid, the president could not certify," claimed McCain, adding that he wants US to help Pakistan in rebuilding infrastructure in its tribal areas for Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) — facilitating their return towards respectable lives in their areas.

The Haqqani Network was founded by Afghan warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani and is now being run by his son Sirajuddin. The group has been blamed for some of the most heinous attacks on US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan. It was designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States in September 2012.

'Modi most effective leader'

He negated the impression that US is moving towards India or abandoning Pakistan and maintained that US government is not taking sides, adding that the fundamental principle of US diplomacy is that the country wants improvement in relations between Pakistan and India.

"There is no doubt that Modi is probably the most effective leader that India has had in a long time and the relations between US and India have improved because Modi is co-operative," said McCain.

McCain maintained that US has no intention to sacrifice its relationship with Pakistan to benefit its relationship with India rather it believes that the good relationship with Modi will make US role in normalising ties between the two countries "more effective".

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