WASHINGTON - Pakistan's new Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani met with Dana Rohrabacher, the controversial congressman who as an advocate of self-determination for Balochistan had made some strong anti-Pakistan statements in 2012.  A press release of the Pakistan Embassy said that Pak-US relations were discussed at the meeting, as part of Ambassador Jilani’s outreach to the US Congress.

Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, also sponsored a bill in the House of Representatives along with two other congressmen a couple of years ago, saying that the Baloch nation has a historic right to self-determination. In addition, he calls Dr Shakeel Afridi, who helped CIA in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a ‘hero’ and has been advocating his release from prison.

During the meeting, Jilani briefed the Congressman on the positive developments that had taken place in Pakistan "with systems and the society changing in fundamental ways and democracy and rule of law taking root.”

In this context, the press release did not say whether the congressman's past statements and positions came under discussion.

Welcoming the ambassador, Congressman Rohrabacher said that Pak-US cooperation has achieved great results in the past, and that both countries could work together to overcome new challenges including those of poverty and underdevelopment. He emphasised that through dialogue and engagement both sides could build better convergences and reinvigorate the relationship in the new era, according to the press release.

Ambassador Jilani and the congressman also discussed developments in the region. Jilani extended a cordial invitation to the Congressman to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.