PML-N President Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has urged the Obama Administration to shift the focus of its relationship with Pakistan away from aid to one based on trade, investment and greater people to people contacts.

The former Prime Minister made this remark during the course of the courtesy call on him by Senator Robert Menendez, the newly elected Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, who called on him in Raiwind on Friday.

During the course of their warm and friendly meeting, the two sides were able to have a comprehensive exchange on a number of issues of mutual interest to the two countries.

The former Prime Minister congratulated Senator Menendez on his election to this important office, while recalling that his predecessor, Senator John Kerry, who has been appointed as the new Secretary of State, had played an important role in promoting US-Pakistan relations.

He added that he was confident that under his guidance, US policy towards Pakistan would be based on the principle of mutual trust and mutual interest. He emphasized that Pakistan was an important country in a sensitive region, whose contribution to confronting terrorism and promoting peace and security in South Asia should be recognized and appreciated. He emphasized that given the complexity of the situation in the region, it was important that our two countries work closely and in an atmosphere of trust and understanding.

Senator Menendez thanked the former Prime Minister for the meeting and remarked that the US had deep respect for him and for his contribution to strengthening of democracy in Pakistan. He added that the US was following closely developments in Pakistan leading up to the forthcoming elections.

This would be an important event, as it would mark the first peaceful transition from one elected government to another elected one, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Senator added. The Senator also expressed his admiration for the mass transit system introduced recently in Lahore and added that coming from the State of New Jersey, he recognized and appreciated the importance of an efficient mass transport system.

The meeting was attended by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Ch Nisar Ali Khan, while the US Senator was accompanied by the US Ambassador Richard Olson.