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Polls, economy top agenda at Nawaz-Blome meeting

US envoy also met with IPI chief Jahangir Tareenp, while British envoy Jane Marriott meets Zardari in Karachi

November 18, 2023 12:21 pm

US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome (left) and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. — X/@pmln_org
US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome (left) and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. — X/@pmln_org

Islamabad: General elections and Pakistan’s struggling economy came under discussion as the United States’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome called on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif in Lahore.

The meeting between the senior politician and American envoy was held at the former’s residence in Lahore on Saturday.

On Thursday, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan Jane Marriott also arrived at the PML-N supremo’s home, where his daughter and party’s Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz was also present.

As the general elections in Pakistan approach, Nawaz — the country’s three-time prime minister — is being seen as the most in-demand leader by top diplomats residing in Islamabad.

According to a The News report, about 60 diplomats, including ambassadors and high commissioners, are looking to interact with him and ascertain his views on sensitive and important international issues and bilateral subjects of their respective interests.

The interest in meeting the PML-N leader came following his return to Pakistan after spending four years of exile just months before the general elections slated to take place on February 8, 2024, with the likelihood that he may again clinch the top executive post.

During the meeting with Blome, Nawaz emphasised the significance of Pakistan’s relations with the US, particularly recalling his various interactions with the American leaders where both sides had always acknowledged the importance of Pakistan-US ties, according to a PML-N statement.

US Mission Spokesperson Jonathan Lalley, in a statement, said the envoy met also met with representatives of various political parties at a gathering hosted by former prime minister and PPP leader Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in Multan.

In the course of his engagements with the country’s political bigwigs, Ambassador Blome and the politicos discussed the importance of free, fair elections and the right of the Pakistani people to choose their future leaders.

“They also discussed the strengths of the US-Pakistan trade and investment relationship and the development of the US-Pakistan “Green Alliance” framework,” the mission’s statement read.

The senior politician also shared his views on the political and economic situation in Pakistan, particularly in the context of his party’s preparations for the upcoming elections.

He expressed “confidence” that the people of Pakistan would once again repose their trust in the PML-N to lead the country out of the myriad problems confronting it today.

They also discussed the enduring bilateral ties and cooperation over multilateral matters of mutual interest between Pakistan and the US. Both leaders acknowledged the importance of a steadfast and sturdy partnership between the two countries.

They recognised the importance of exploring avenues to boost cooperation and building on the successful outcomes that underpin the robust bilateral relationship.

The US ambassador and Nawaz Sharif deliberated over several diverse domains, including trade, economy, climate change, security and regional stability.

Regional developments were also discussed.

The PML-N supremo raised the issue of the plight of innocent Palestinians who were being mercilessly killed by the indiscriminate Israeli bombardment and imposition of siege around Gaza. He called for an immediate end to hostilities and urgent provision of humanitarian and medical assistance to the people.

Ambassador Blome shared US priorities with the PML-N leader and thanked him for a frank and cordial exchange of views during the meeting.

Blome meets Jahangir Tareen
Later, US Ambassador Blome also held a meeting with Jahangir Tareen, the chief of the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPI), in Lahore during which the two spoke about Pak-US relations, economic reforms, and upcoming general elections in the country.

The US envoy extended his determination to strengthen mutual relations with Pakistan at the occasion.

In the meeting with Blome, Tareen said his party was ready for the upcoming general elections, informing him that electoral and political activities have started in full swing.

IPI leaders Ishaq Khakwani and Aun Chaudhary were also present during the meeting.

British envoy meets Asif Zardari

Meanwhile, UK envoy Jane Marriott also held a meeting with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi today during which the two discussed the promotion of bilateral relations between the two countries.

In the high-level meeting, former president Zardari felicitated the British envoy on King Charles III’s birthday. He also conveyed his wishes for the newly-appointed British Foreign Minister David Cameron last week.

During the meeting, the PPP senior politician insisted Britain play a conciliatory role in ending Israel’s aggression in Gaza.

PPP leaders including Senator Saleem Mandviwala and Dr Asim were also present at the occasion.

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