US Senator Kerry meets Zardari, Gilani

PakistanIslamabad, Apr. 13 : The Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry met President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani here on Monday.

Officials privy to the talks between Kerry and Gilani were quoted by the Dawn as saying that the Pakistan Prime Minister had told Senator Kerry that Pakistan does not want the US to base its aid on conditions linked to the campaign against militancy.

Zardari on the other hand urged Senator Kerry to expedite the Kerry- Lugar Bill and Reconstruction Opportunity Zones’ legislation and to work out a joint strategy to counter terrorism.

The Democrat introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives that would triple economic assistance for Pakistan to 1.5 billion dollars a year.

Pakistan expects the bill to be passed by Congress ‘by June this year’.

Senator Kerry''s visit comes a week after Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, held talks in Islamabad. (ANI)