Talks to be held with US on ‘equality basis’: Abbasi

Says no compromise on sovereignty, Cabinet approves agenda items

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The Nation. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told his cabinet members on Tuesday that Pakistan would hold the upcoming talks with the United States on “equality basis”.

A federal minister who attended the cabinet meeting here told The Nation that the premier was confident of reviving the Pak-US ties.

“As the PM [who chaired the meeting] has said earlier, Pakistan is no longer solely dependent on the US. The PM told us [the ministers] Pakistan should go with confidence into the talks and make it a partnership rather than a one-sided affair,” the cabinet member said.

Pakistan is expecting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis – in the coming days to discuss the future of relationship.

The Pak-US ties, already tense, were tested by President Trump in his first formal address to the nation as commander-in-chief on August 21st, where he asserted: “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists.” He also warned that the military and other aid to Pakistan was at stake, if Islamabad did not clamp down on extremists.

Later, Prime Minister Abbasi and Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif held meetings with the US leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last month, which helped improvement in the relationship.

Days later, Asif again visited Washington this month for meetings with Rex Tillerson and other officials.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal also left for the US to participate in the annual session of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank on October 11.

The cabinet member told The Nation that Pakistan was fully prepared for the US talks and the premier had discussed the dialogue process with his team.

“The cabinet agreed with the PM that Pakistan should try to improve ties with the US and must not compromise on the integrity and sovereignty of the country,” he added. Other sources said that the cabinet discussed the country’s economy and the possible challenges.

“The interior minister will discuss Pakistan’s economic issues with the IMF and the World Bank. There is no plan yet to seek more loans,” said a participant of the meeting.

An official statement issued after the meeting said that the cabinet deliberated on “The Welfare of Senior Citizen Bill 2017” aimed at facilitating senior citizens and catering to their needs.

The cabinet, it said, approved signing of the “Negotiated Draft Visa Abolition Agreement” between Pakistan and Italy for holders of diplomatic passport.

It granted approval to amend the existing convention between Pakistan and Sri Lanka for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for updation of article of exchange of information.

The cabinet approved a proposal to amend the existing convention between Pakistan and Nepal for the double taxation, and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for updation of article of exchange of information.

It approved a proposal to amend the existing convention between Pakistan and France for the double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for updation of article of exchange of information.

The cabinet granted approval to amend the existing convention between Pakistan and Tunisia for the double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for updation of article of exchange of information.

The meeting granted approval to amend the existing convention between Pakistan and Morocco for the double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for updation of article of exchange of information.

It granted approval to amend the existing convention between Pakistan and government of Portugal for the double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for updation of article of exchange of information.

The cabinet approved signing of the memorandum of understanding on scientific and technical cooperation in the field of agriculture research between Pakistan Agriculture Research Council and Agriculture Academy of Bulgaria.

It approved appointment of member (administration) Capital Development Authority, Establishment Division.

Change in nomenclature of Ministry of Port and Shipping to Ministry of Maritime Affairs was also approved, the statement said.


THE NATION

 

 

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