Old allies, new resolve
Prime Minister’s visit to US has been quite satisfying and successful. There is now a mutual resolve to make a fresh start.
Pakistan and US despite their differences on certain issues cannot afford a rupture in their relations or allowing them to slide down to the lowest ebb. They need each other in taking the war on terror to its logical end, settlement of Afghan tangle and working together for promoting regional and global peace. The parleys between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President rightly reaffirmed continued partnership between the two countries in these areas. President Obama acknowledging the contribution and sacrifices made by Pakistan in the war on terror, extended the assurance that while concluding any settlement of the Afghan issue, US would address Pakistan’s concerns about Afghanistan once the US pulls out.
Prime Minister Nawaz was able to elicit US support for his initiative of dialogue with the Taliban as a first priority, which considering US aversion to any such move previously, does indicate a diplomatic gain.
President Obama also gave the assurance that the United States would strongly support efforts to enlarge and strengthen Pakistan’s economy, particularly in the energy sector, as this sector could play a critical role in ensuring the well-being and prosperity of the people of Pakistan. Hopefully the follow up action in these areas will not only widen the canvas of relations between the two countries but would also put them on the upward curve on a long term basis.
Considering the fact that no significant announcement or signing of some substantive agreements was expected and that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before embarking on his visit had also expressed guarded optimism about the outcomes of the visit, the advancement made in rebuilding relations, eliciting US support for tackling energy crisis and help in other areas of the economy testify to the success of the visit. The visit undoubtedly was not a ‘get to know’ or photo-op as perceived by certain quarters.
US and its European friends are our major trade partners and source of direct foreign investment in Pakistan that it vitally needs for the revival of its economy and kick starting a process of sustained economic growth, more so for tiding over the energy crisis. The process of much needed recalibration of relations between the two countries in the backdrop of the emerging realities has indeed been set rolling.
Both sides reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen the recently resumed Strategic Dialogue between the two countries with reference to the forthcoming ministerial-level moot in this regard scheduled to take place in March 2014 and decided on the priorities for the working groups under its umbrella pertaining to law enforcement and counter-terrorism, economics and finance, energy, security, strategic stability and non-proliferation and defence and consultative group. President Obama appreciated Pakistan’s internal and regional security challenges and affirmed that a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Pakistan was an essential partner for the United States in the advancement of shared goals of peace, security, and socio-economic development in South Asia.
Reaffirming the strong relationship between the two countries, they stressed that our enduring partnership is based on the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. They expressed their conviction that an enduring Pak-US partnership is vital for regional and international security and recognized their shared interest in Pakistan’s economic growth and mutually determined measures to counter terrorism. The President gave the assurance that the US would strongly support efforts to enlarge and strengthen Pakistan’s economy, particularly in the energy sector, as this sector could play a critical role in ensuring the well-being and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.
Hopefully the follow up action in these areas will not only widen the canvas of relations between the two countries but would also put them on the upward curve on a long term basis.(Malik Muhammad Ashraf )