ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi said yesterday that Pakistan and the United States needed regular parliamentary exchanges to dispel misperceptions in the US Congress, especially regarding terrorism.

Speaking to US Congressman Eric Swalwell who called on him here, Fatemi said the timing of Congressman Eric Swalwell’s visit to Pakistan was propitious as it provided the two sides a useful opportunity to take note of each other's perspectives on issues of mutual interest and concern.

He hoped that during his stay in Pakistan, Congressman Swalwell would be able to arrive at a holistic view of the history of Pakistan's meaningful cooperation with the US on a host of critical issues, including against terror outfits in the country, ongoing peace process in Afghanistan and improvement of relations with India.

During the meeting, the PM’s special assistant briefed Swalwell in detail about Pakistan's successful efforts under the Zarb-e-Azb operation to uproot various terrorist networks, including Al-Qaeda, Taliban and the Haqqani Network from the Pakistani soil.

A Democratic Party member from California, Congressman Swalwell serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and is the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on the Central Intelligence Agency, responsible for the oversight, policy, activities, and budget of this organization.

He also serves on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, where he addresses issues related to climate change and advocates for renewable energy. He was accompanied by US Ambassador David Hale.

“Matters related to the peace and reconciliation efforts by the QCG in Afghanistan, which had received a serious setback following the US drone strike in Balochistan, on 21 May that killed the Tehrik-e-Taliban, Afghanistan leader (Mullah Akhtar Mansour), were also discussed,” said a Foreign Ministry statement.

In his remarks, Congressman Eric Swalwell noted that Congress recognized the efforts and sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan and its armed forces in the fight against terrorism.

He added that the visit had provided him the opportunity to arrive at a deeper understanding of the Pakistan-US bilateral cooperation in a host of important issues, including the joint efforts by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group in restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Yasmin Qureshi, Member of the British House of Commons, paid a call on Tariq Fatemi. He was accompanied by Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Self-Determination Movement for the UK and Europe, Raja Najabat.

Both the sides exchanged views on Pak-UK bilateral relations. There was an understanding that the leaderships of the two countries had contributed significantly in strengthening bilateral relations.

Both expressed satisfaction at the current positive trajectory of relations between the two sides and agreed to further strengthening of these ties, including through enhanced parliamentary exchanges, said a statement by the foreign ministry.

The Special Assistant briefed the MP about the vision of the Prime Minister for a peaceful neighbourhood and Pakistan's desire for regional stability and prosperity.

He stressed that democracy was firmly entrenched in Pakistan and despite challenges, Pakistan had made significant progress in the economic sector.

Other issues of bilateral and regional importance also came under discussion during the meeting, added the statement.

Members of the European Parliament Amjad Bashir and Jan Zahradil also called on Tariq Fatemi. Both MEPs conveyed their good wishes and expressed hope for the complete and speedy recovery of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Another statement by the foreign ministry said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon paid rich tributes to Pakistani peacekeepers on the occasion of the Pakistani Peacekeepers Day.

“Since its first deployment to the Congo in 1960, Pakistan has been one of the most consistent and reliable contributors to United Nations peacekeeping. Through the decades, Pakistan has deployed more than 150,000 personnel to 41 peacekeeping missions in 23 countries,” he said in a message.

“Today, more than 7,000 uniformed personnel from Pakistan are serving in seven peacekeeping missions, making it our third largest troop- and police-contributor, Ki-moon said.

“As we mark that service, we also remember the 142 military, police and civilian peacekeepers from Pakistan who made the ultimate sacrifice and laid down their lives in the cause of peace,” he said.

“In my travels, I have had the privilege of seeing first-hand the professionalism and commitment of Pakistani police and military personnel,” the UN chief said.

“Pakistan also played a leading role in the development of the UN Military Aviation Unit Manual for Peacekeeping Operations,” he said.