Washington: Pakistan must take action against all militant groups without discriminating, the US said Thursday soon after President Barack Obama held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
"We welcome Pakistan's commitment as part of the national action plan not to discriminate amongst terrorist groups. We have been very clear with the Pakistani government that in implementing that commitment, Pakistan must take action against all militant groups without discriminating," White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters as the two leaders wrapped by their more than 90-minute meeting.
"Pakistan's continuing significant military operations have had significant impact. They've targeted terrorist sanctuaries and have restored government control to parts of Pakistan that have previously been safe havens for terrorists," Schultz said when asked to respond to accusations that Pakistan continue to shelter Taliban leaders.
He said US-Pak relationship has made progress after President Obama met Sharif in the Oval Office two years ago.
"That was just after Prime Minister Sharif took office. And at the time, the two of them committed to getting the US-Pakistan relationship on more solid footing," he said.
"I think we now know today that has happened; that the relationship has progressed since the last time the Prime Minister was here two years ago. And we see this visit today as an opportunity to further advance a more sustainable, broad-based partnership," Schultz said.
"I know, and for good reason, the counter-terrorism linkage gets a lot of attention. But for the President, our approach to deepening those relationships is broader than just the counter-terrorism.
We see opportunity in areas of mutual interest like economic growth, trade, investment, clean energy, global health, climate change and nuclear security," the White House Press Deputy Secretary said.
In the joint statement issued by the two leaders after their talks at the White Office's Oval Office, Sharif apprised Obama about Pakistan's resolve to take "effective action" against United Nations-designated terrorist individuals and entities, including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its affiliates, as per its international commitments and obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.
Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and Afghanistan-based dreaded Haqqani network are not banned in Pakistan. India has been pressing Islamabad to take action against Saeed who has been spewing venom against India and the US.
Pakistan has, however, ruled out the possibility of banning JuD and maintained that there is no evidence to link it with terrorism and the outlawed LeT.