Pakistan committed to cement its ties with US: FM

Mariana Baabar
Wednesday, Nov 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday said it was committed to preserving and strengthening its ties with the United States (US), which are much valued and mutually beneficial.

“Suffice it to say that we are cognizant of the importance of the US and want to conduct our relations in a pragmatic and non-emotional manner. We want to enhance understanding of our constraints and perspective with the US side”, said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while addressing the participants of the National Security and War Course, at the National Defence University (NDU).

The minister’s remarks come at a time when both countries have decided to send new ambassadors to Washington and Islamabad.

Earlier, last month Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had remarked that, “Pakistan desires to maintain the tradition of bilateral engagement and wishes for an enduring relationship with the United States. It desires long-term and multi-domain enduring relationship,” when the US Charge d’affaires to Pakistan Angela Aggeler had called on him.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had been critical about the United States, specially its role in Afghanistan and publicly told an American TV channel that, “I think the US has really messed it up in Afghanistan”.

Bilateral relations had been stressed and Islamabad was clearly annoyed when US Secretary of State Jonathan Blinken, testifying before Congress on the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee that his administration would soon be reassessing its relationship with Pakistan as it has a “multiplicity of interests, some that are in conflict with ours”.

“It is one that is involved hedging its bets constantly about the future of Afghanistan, it’s one that’s involved harbouring members of the Taliban. It is one that’s also involved in different points of cooperation with us on counterterrorism,” Blinken had said.

Pakistan after clarifying that this was not the case added, “On Pakistan’s relation with the United States, we believe that both countries have a history of close cooperative relations, which have served our shared interests,” the spokesman at the Foreign Office said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office, while releasing the text of the address of the Foreign Minister at the NDU, said that he had pointed to relative predictability of the unipolar world which has given way to rivalries that are more complex and potentially more dangerous. “Multilateral mechanisms are not living up to their promise of mediation and conflict resolution. The UN system, never ideal to begin but immensely important for developing countries like Pakistan, is continually undermined by the very powers that crafted it”, he said.

Pakistan, he added sees CPEC as a game changer not only for itself but for the region as well. “Gwadar Port is one of the vital components of the CPEC framework. It is the world’s only natural deep-sea port, secondly, it links the BRI and the Silk Road projects, thirdly, being the shortest route to Central Asia and Afghanistan it is suited to act as a gateway for the region and fourthly, it is a potential regional trade hub from Europe to Eurasia”, he said. Commenting on the recent role of Pakistan on Afghanistan, Qureshi said that post August 15th, it has facilitated evacuation of more than 30,000 diplomatic and NGO staff and media persons of 37 countries and international organizations. “Pakistan believes that the biggest opportunity right now is the convergence of the international community on the need for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, spoilers are once again busy in efforts to shift the narratives against Pakistan”, he said. Speaking of spoilers in the region, the greatest threat to the region and global security emanates from the Hindutva ideology that drives Indian officialdom. “Indian belligerence in February 2019 pushed South Asia to the brink of war. Our response was to Confront, Deter and Douse the fire. We were able to achieve all three objectives. We exercised our right to self defence and demonstrated our capacity to foil any misadventure”, he added.

Pakistan is now unlike in the past focusing more on Africa and under the Engage Africa Initiative, it’s opening up fresh avenues for economic diplomacy and win-win collaboration with our African friends. “Pakistan has opened up 5 new missions in Africa in Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda along with up-gradation of missions in Niger and Tanzania to ambassadorial level”, he concluded.