In telephone conversation, Antony Blinken and Shah Mehmood Qureshi discuss bilateral ties, the Afghanistan peace process and Daniel Pearl murder case
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday talked with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi via telephone, and urged him to ensure accountability for Omar Sheikh and his co-accused in the kidnapping and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl.
“Spoke with Shah Mehmood Qureshi on ensuring accountability for convicted terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and others responsible for Daniel Pearl’s murder,” he said in a posting on Twitter after their call. “The foreign minister and I underscored the importance of continued U.S.-Pakistan cooperation in supporting regional stability,” he added.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office, in a readout of the conversation released to media, said the two had discussed bilateral ties, the Afghanistan peace process and the Daniel Pearl murder case. Qureshi, it said, congratulated Blinken on assuming the office of U.S. secretary of State and underscored Pakistan’s commitment to forging a comprehensive partnership with the United States based on convergence of interests on a whole range of issues.
Highlighting a so-called “transformation in Pakistan,” Qureshi stressed that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan had “a new vision that placed premium on forging an economic partnership, building a peaceful neighborhood and enhancing regional connectivity.”
The foreign minister also noted that peace in Afghanistan through a negotiated political settlement was one of the “fundamental convergences” between the two countries. “It was essential to have a reduction in violence that could lead to a ceasefire in Afghanistan and to work towards securing an inclusive political solution in the war-torn country,” the Foreign Office cited Qureshi as telling Blinken, adding that Islamabad had facilitated the Afghan peace process and was committed to working with the U.S. as a partner for peace.
During their conversation, per the Foreign Office, Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s resolute measures and sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. Secretary Blinken, likewise, recalled U.S.-Pakistan cooperation in various spheres, and noted that the two countries had a range of areas to engage on. He acknowledged the sacrifices of the people of Pakistan in the war on terror.
The foreign minister assured Blinken that the Daniel Pearl case was “important” and it was in both countries’ mutual interest for justice to be served through legal means. He conveyed the steps being taken by the government to ensure that the case against primary accused Omar Sheikh would be pursued till it conclusion.
Both officials agreed to remain engaged and work together on advancing their respective nations’ bilateral agenda and promoting common interests in the region and beyond.