Pakistan, US engage at various levels after South Asia strategy stalemate: Aizaz chaudhry

Washington: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Chaudhry said on Wednesday Pakistan and the United States have started to engage at various levels to overcome the stalemate in ties caused by the new South Asia strategy, and hoped the two countries would be able to clear misgivings between them.

“No doubt, the relationship has seen many ups and downs in the past however, both the countries greatly benefited whenever they worked together”, the Ambassador said referring to the current state of bilateral relations that followed President Trump’s announcement of the new strategy.

But, he hoped, that there might be some misunderstandings in the bilateral ties at the moment but eventually both the countries would be able to clear these misgivings through positive and constructive engagements both at political and diplomatic levels.

A number of high level bilateral visits and meetings particularly between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Vice President Mike Pence in New York last month and meeting between Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhamad Asif and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have paved the way to carry forward this engagement. Mr. Tillerson is expected to visit Islamabad soon.

The Ambassador emphasized that Pakistan greatly values its relations with the United States that span over seven decades and would continue to work with it in fighting the menace of terrorism facing the world.

Ambassador Chaudhry was speaking as chief guest in “Ambassador Insider Series” an event organized by ‘The Washington Diplomat’, a US monthly newspaper. The event was attended by a number of present and former Ambassadors, Congress and Senate Staffers, State Department officials and prominent media persons.

In his opening remarks, he briefed the participants about the latest Security and economic situation in Pakistan, particularly after it has achieved numerous successes in its relentless efforts against terrorists during past four years.

Later, during a Question-Answer session, the Ambassador said there were lessons to be learnt from the successes achieved by Pakistan in the war against terrorism.

“We have reversed the tide of terrorism only after rendering tremendous sacrifices, in terms of lives and resources, in fighting the menace effectively,” the Ambassador referring the significant reduction in incidents of terrorism. Improved security situation was having a salutary effect on the country’s economy and all key economic indicators were showing tremendous improvement, he added.

To a question, the Ambassador said it was unfair to see Pakistan through a narrow prism of Afghanistan. Pakistan, he said, have over 200 million population and blessed with abundant natural resources. The country has played and will continue to play the most significant role in bringing peace and stability in the region.

While reiterating Pakistan’s firm commitment in supporting efforts of the international community including USA for bringing peace in Afghanistan, Ambassador said that since Afghanistan is not a military problem, there is no military solution to it.

A holistic regional approach aimed at finding a political solution is required and Pakistan will play its due role in any such efforts, he added.

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