4-day visit ends: US assistant secretary discusses Pak-US partnership

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ISLAMABAD: Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Todd D. Robinson is in Pakistan to discuss the US-Pakistani partnership and highlight the 75th anniversary of bilateral relations.

US Assistant Secretary Robinson during his four-day visit started from June 29 to July 2, met with senior government officials to discuss US-Pakistan cooperation on several topics, including counternarcotics, gender issues, transnational crime, and border security, said a news release issued here on Saturday.

Robinson also took part in celebrating the 75 years of US-Pakistan relations and INL’s 40-year partnership with Pakistan under the theme “justice, security, and prosperity.”

The US embassy in Pakistan said, on June 30, the Assistant Secretary participated in the groundbreaking of the Anti-Narcotics Force Academy (ANF) construction and training project, valued at $2.2 million (Rs451.7 million), hosted by implementing partner United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Ministry of Narcotics Control Minister Shahzain Bugti and ANF Director General Ghulam Shabbir Narejo also attended.

“On behalf of the US Government, I thank UNDP and ANF for their efforts and partnership with INL on our common objectives of combating drugs transiting through Pakistan and promoting the recruitment, retention, advancement, and gender mainstreaming of women police in Pakistan,” said Robinson.

Assistant Secretary also attended a ceremony to celebrate the delivery of $1.44 million (Rs295.7 million) of commodities to the Excise, Taxation, and Narcotics Control of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a KPK provincial agency that has a drug interdiction mandate.

In his remarks, Robinson stated, “The fight against drugs and illicit contraband is a priority for Pakistan, the United States, and the international community, and I recognize that Pakistan faces special challenges because of its neighborhood. But when we work together, we achieve great things.”

On July 1, the Assistant Secretary joined Inspector General of Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa North Major General Adil Yamin, Inspector General of Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa South Major General Muhammad Munir Afsar, and senior Frontier Corps leadership for an inauguration and agreement signing ceremony for two joint projects worth approximately $10.5 million (RS2.1 billion).

The inauguration celebrated the completion of 45 new structures at FC KP North’s Warsak Training Center, including accommodation barracks for 500 men and 128 women, classrooms, and facilities for physical training.  Officials also signed an agreement for the construction of women’s facilities at eight existing FC KP South regional headquarters.

US Government-funded project will provide barracks, dining halls, kitchens, and other facilities that will support the stationing of up to 128 women Frontier Corps members at each location.

Regarding the women’s facilities, Robinson said, “The United States is pleased to partner with Pakistan to enhance opportunities for women to access justice and to participate in the administration of justice.”