A United States delegation, headed by assistant secretary of state Alice Wells, on Saturday called on Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat and hailed Pakistan’s role in war against terrorism.

According to a statement issued by Punjab Directorate General Public Relations, the US delegation was comprised deputy assistant secretary (treasury) Scot Rembrandt, consul general in Lahore Ms. Colleen Crenwelge, Ms. Alice Wells and others.

Talking to the US delegation, Raja Basharat said that effective measures had been taken by the Punjab government for the elimination of terrorism and added that implementation on the national action plan, as well as the fulfillment of FATF was being especially ensured by the provincial government.

He said that solid steps were being taken by the federal government for the eradication of terrorism and all the provinces had a continuous liaison with each other in this regard.

The law minister pointed out those sufficient efforts had been made to overcome the economic crises created by the previous government through a policy of austerity and simplicity.

It may be noted that United States’ Assistant Secretary for South Asia Alice Wells visited Islamabad for five long days where she held important meetings with top Pakistani leadership, opposition parties, members of civil society, and some journalists during her stay.

Besides, she had extensive agenda to cover: FATF, Afghanistan, opposition leaders’ arrests and complaints of media curbs.

Reportedly, Miss Wells was particularly alarmed after news reports that Pakistan might link Afghanistan’s cooperation with India’s behaviour in IOK. At the moment, the bread and better issue for the US is security and Afghanistan. Pakistan’s role to support and facilitate Afghan peace and reconciliation is what the US is seeking to achieve the end goal to exit or draw down its forces from Afghanistan. In her interactions, the top US diplomat was reportedly pleading with Pakistani leadership not to withhold or reduce cooperation with the US, after the crisis on IOK by India.

In her meetings with the Foreign Office and the Army leadership, Miss Wells was reportedly very anxious to dispel the impression that Indian move to modify the status of Jammu and Kashmir, had a nod from the US or it was with their consent. Indian media was claiming that Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar had actually taken into confidence, his US counterpart, Mike Pompeo in Bangkok, a week before the BJP government’s annexation of J&K.

But the US top diplomat was at pains to clarify US position saying Washington was not taken on board by the Indian leadership on scraping article 370. Hence the State Department issued a clarification on her behalf, to this effect, to calm nerves in Islamabad. It was a degree of rebuke of reports from India.

However, many in Islamabad doubt that Washington’s strategic partner (i.e. India) could cross a redline without the prior US knowledge at some level even suspecting a degree of complicity. The Trump  Administration is dove on India militarily but hawk on Delhi’s trade.

FATF was another very important agenda item she discussed threadbare with finance ministry. PM’s Sepcial Economic Advisor Hafiz Shikh explained Pakistani efforts so far Islamabad has taken or partiality  taken or in the process of taking. Overall, she was reportedly satisfied with the work being in place by relevant departments to curb money laundering and concerning capacity building. The September meeting likely to be held in Paris will review grey listing of Pakistan’s status.

During her five days stay, Miss Wells also interacted with some members of media, civil society and opposition leaders in particular PML-N’s General Secretary Prof Ahsan Iqbal and later PML-N’s Focal person for foreign affairs, Mohmmad Mehdi; in addition to PPP leadership. Pakistan’s internal political situation was also discussed.