Wells appreciates Pakistan's efforts against illegal US immigrants

January 20, 2020

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Wells also appreciates Pakistan's progress on dealing with FATF's reservations. — AP/File
Wells also appreciates Pakistan's progress on dealing with FATF's reservations. — AP/File

Chief US diplomat for South Asian affairs Alice Wells on Monday said that the issue of illegal Pakistani immigrants in the United States has been resolved to a great extent.

She made the comment during a meeting with Interior Minister retired Brig Ijaz Ahmad Shah.

"We appreciate the Pakistan government's cooperation on the matter," Wells said, while adding that her government wants to come up with a strong system [for dealing with illegal immigrants] that can be used in the future.

Welcoming the idea of developing a system to deal with illegal immigrants, Shah said that a stronger system to verify travel documents has already been created. He further told Wells that a system has also been created for the monitoring of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs). "The organisations that we have reservations about are given the chance to present their perspective," Shah said.

The two sides also discussed Pakistan's progress on matters raised by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). "It is heartening to see that Pakistan's government has made significant progress on these matters and that too in a short time," Wells said.

Wells arrived in Islamabad on Sunday — after wrapping up her tour of India and Sri Lanka — for a four-day visit to Pakistan centred around talks on bilateral issues.

Although Wells' visit comes immediately after Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's trip to Washington, her trip had been planned prior.

Sources say that Wells is expected hold further meetings with representatives from Pakistan's political and military leadership to talk about several issues, including Pak-US ties, the Afghan reconciliation process, ongoing tensions in the region and Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

She will also speak at a think tank and engage with members of civil society on what the US State Department calls “issues of bilateral and regional concern”.

According to a diplomatic source, the US diplomat is expected to follow up on the foreign minister's discussions in Washington where he met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser Robert O’ Brien, and Under Secretary of Defence John Rood.

The foreign minister recently concluded a three-day visit to the United States — the third leg of his mission to defuse tensions in the Middle East — after having already visited Tehran and Riyadh as part of Pakistan's diplomatic efforts to ease tensions in the region.