FO rebuts claims of allowing US to set up regional drone hub in Pakistan
Spokesperson says no such topic was discussed in recently held dialogue with US on counterterrorism
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Pakistan has rejected claims that it had allowed the US to set up a regional “drone hub” in the South Asian country as part of the counterterrorism measures.
Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the rebuttal during her weekly press briefing on Thursday when a reporter asked that "it is being said in some circles, that preparation is underway to make Pakistan a drone hub in the region. What is your response on this?”
In reply, Ms Baloch said there was no discussion “on the topics that you have referred to, it was not on the agenda and it was not discussed, and therefore, there is no need for speculation in that matter”.
She said Pakistan was very encouraged with the dialogue on counterterrorism that took place earlier this week in Islamabad with the United States. It was a good opportunity for the two sides to discuss counterterrorism issues, as the challenge of terrorism is a challenge for the entire world, she added.
“The topics that we covered included cooperation at multilateral forums, cyber security, countering violent extremism. Of course, the discussion was also held on capacity building matters, especially in anti-money laundering,” the spokesperson said.
Pakistan has already developed a very robust mechanism following the FATF process to curb money laundering and financial flows to terrorist organizations, she said.
Replying to another question, Ms Baloch said: “I would like to say that Pakistan and the United States are old friends and our engagement with each other continue on all matters that are of interest to both our countries and includes counterterrorism matters”.
Next week, two important dialogues will be held between Pakistan and the United States. These include the Energy Security Dialogue and the Climate and Environment Working Group to be held in Islamabad.
Energy Security Dialogue is scheduled for 15 March 2023. The US Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources Assistant Secretary Geoffery Pyatt will lead the US delegation. Secretary Power and Secretary Petroleum will lead from the Pakistan side. Discussions will be held on energy priorities, advancing the renewable energy transition, and economic and commercial opportunities in the energy sector.