Presence of US senator’s guard during meeting with PM Khan irks Pak Senate panel
Islamabad: The unusual presence of the personal security officer of top US Senator Lindsey Graham during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan here has irked a Pakistani parliamentary panel, which termed it a disgrace to the country.
Republican Senator Graham from South Carolina met Khan here on Sunday amid reports that Islamabad is pressing for a meeting between the Prime Minister and President Donald Trump to reset bilateral ties and help revive negotiations to end the 17-year brutal war with the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Senate Standing Committee on Interior chairman and former interior minister Rehman Malik said the members wanted to know why Senator Graham’s personal guard was allowed to remain present during the meeting with Prime Minister Khan and directed the interior secretary to submit details on the matter, Dawn newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Malik said the presence of the US guard during the meeting with Khan was a disgrace to the country.
Graham reiterated the war in Afghanistan needs a political solution and suggested a meeting “sooner rather than later” between Trump and Khan to find a resolution to the Afghan conflict.
“I’m going urge him (Trump) to meet with prime minister [Khan] as soon as practical. I think they will hit it off. Similar personalities,” Graham was quoted as saying by Voice of America.
Graham also blamed Pakistani hesitance to fully cooperate with the US on the “terrible” trust deficit between the two countries.
“The day Pakistan sees us as a more reliable strategic partner, the day they’ll do more,” he said.
The US has long complained Pakistan provides sanctuaries to the leadership of the Afghan Taliban. It has also long claimed Islamabad could do more to bring the Taliban to the table for negotiations. PTI