A welcome statement

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A delegation of US senators separately met Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Saturday, declaring America wants to maintain ‘stable and broad-based’ ties and strengthen diplomatic cooperation with Pakistan.

This is a welcome statement, as Pakistan has always desired for a close partnership with the United States despite many ups and downs in bilateral relations.

There is also a valid impression in Pakistan that Washington only uses Pakistan for its own vested interests and abandons it when is no more required.

This has happened especially in the context of Afghanistan.Though no Pakistani was involved in 9/11 incident, yet, we joined the US war on terror and provided it all out support.

As a result of this Pakistan suffered immense losses both human and material, however, in return, the US is now trying to scapegoat Pakistan for its own failures in Afghanistan forgetting also the role played by us in Doha peace process.

In our view, this mistrust in relationship must come to an end and this can be achieved by promoting engagement at different levels.

As also stated by PM Imran Khan during meeting with the US Senators, the visits by US Congress would help strengthen mutual understanding between the two countries.

Our engagement has often been narrowly framed, dictated either by short-term security interests or the imperative to deal with a common challenge.

We need to break this pattern now.For Pakistan, the US remains an important partner, as it is still our largest export market and a major source of foreign remittances.

Our youth continue to gravitate towards American college campuses and Silicon Valley incubators.

There is a need of a paradigm shift in this relationship and the focus should be trade, investment, economic relations and people to people exchanges.

The relationship should be built on mutual respect. Both the sides in fact can also work through the Development Financial Cooperation to generate economic activity along Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Similarly, the Pakistan-US-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan quadrilateral could be leveraged to support Afghanistan’s post-war reconstruction.

 

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