Pakistan and the US yesterday vowed to continue cooperation in counter-terrorism and to commence a formal strategic partnership dialogue, without, however, signing any new agreements on bilateral cooperation.
The reaffirmation came after formal talks between US President George W. Bush and his Pakistani counterpart General Pervez Musharraf, during which the war against terrorism topped the agenda, with Bush saying "a lot needs to be done to take this fight forward."
"It is important for all of us to defeat terrorism, we will fight and win this war together," Bush told reporters after talks with Musharraf.
Bush also underlined the need for greater intelligence sharing and the need for the Pakistani forces to move quickly, and said his government would endeavor to provide more equipment to Pakistan.
When asked if the US could offer civilian nuclear cooperation to Pakistan the way it has done in the case of India, Bush said "I am aware of Pakistan's energy needs, but Pakistan and India are different countries with different needs and history," Bush said.
He however promised that his secretary for energy would soon visit Islamabad to assess Pakistan's energy needs.
A joint statement issued after the talks said Pakistan and US will form a joint working group to meet Islamabad's growing energy needs and strengthen its energy security.
"The two countries will work together to develop public and private collaboration on a broad range of energy sources," said the statement.
It said the two leaders also decided to build a robust defense relationship and deepen bilateral collaboration in the fields training, joint exercises, defense procurement and technology transfers.
Bush reiterated Washington's commitment to a "broad and lasting" strategic partnership and dialogue with Islamabad, which began with close cooperation in the war on terror, the continued focus of US-Pakistani cooperation.
"Pakistani foreign secretary and the US undersecretary of state for political affairs will represent their respective countries at the [dialogue forum]," the statement said.
Bush's visit comes just a day after a US diplomat and three other people were killed in a car bomb suicide attack in the city of Karachi.
Meanwhile, police detained former cricket star Imran Khan at his Islamabad home and arrested dozens of supporters from his opposition party to block a rally yesterday against Bush's visit, police and witnesses said.
Among the few who gathered to join the protest march to Islamabad from the nearby city of Rawalpindi, police beat and arrested at least 16 people who were chanting slogans against Bush and Musharraf.
Police ordered a handful of other demonstrators to go home or face arrest.
In Karachi, a total of about 500 people gathered at small rallies, chanting, "Killer of Afghans -- George Bush," and "Killer of Iraq -- George Bush."One banner read, "How much more blood you want Uncle Sam?"
About 100 Islamists held a peaceful rally in the eastern city of Multan, and about 50 Shiite Muslims gathered in Lahore.