ISLAMABAD: United States Senator John McCain has assured former president Asif Ali Zardari that a bill currently before the US Senate for branding Pakistan a “sponsor of terrorism” will not succeed.

According to a press release issued by the PPP media centre on Saturday, the US senator talked to Mr Zardari by phone and both leaders discussed bilateral and international issues, including those related to the current situation as a result of a war of words and hype in Indian propaganda against Pakistan.

US lawmakers Ted Poe and Dana Rohrabacher have moved a bill in the Congress seeking designation of Pakistan as a “state sponsor of terrorism”. The bill titled ‘The Pakistan state sponsor of terrorism designation act’ termed the country an “untrustworthy ally which has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years”.

Mr Zardari, who has been living abroad for over a year, is in London these days.

Talking to him, Senator McCain emphasised that the legislation should not be seen as a deterioration of the US-Pakistan relations since the sponsors of the resolution were a small minority within the Senate.

The US senator acknowledged the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.

Mr Zardari said Pakistan itself was the victim of extremism and terrorism and would never support terrorism. The PPP and the entire country and nation condemned all forms of extremism and terrorism, he said.

Both leaders agreed that Pakistan was part of the solution to this problem and it was in the interest of peace and stability that it continued to play its part in the fight against the global threat of terrorism.

Discussing the regional situation, Mr Zardari said the hype in Indian propaganda against Pakistan was intended to hide from the world the atrocities against innocent Kashmiris.

He said Pakistan wanted a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue through dialogue and in accordance with the wishes of the people of the region.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2016

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