Pakistan wants long-term, stable relations with US

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday stressing on the need for a peaceful solution in Afghanistan said that Pakistan and the United States had convergence of views.

He expressed these views during the meeting with a US delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu also accompanied her.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said that Pakistan wants broad-ranging, long-term and stable relations with the United States to promote economic cooperation and establish peace in the region.

He made the comments during a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman who is on a two-day visit to Pakistan. The two sides discussed bilateral relations, Afghanistan and the regional situation during the meeting, according to a statement from the Foreign Office.

Qureshi stressed that a proper dialogue between the two countries was “necessary” for mutual benefit of the US and Pakistan as well as the promotion of regional objectives, the FO statement said.

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (L) and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (R) discussing issues of mutual concern at the Foreign Office on Friday.

The foreign minister said Pakistan and US had similar perspectives and stressed the importance of a peaceful solution to the situation in Afghanistan.

He further said Pakistan hoped the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan would work for the betterment of all Afghan citizens alongside peace and stability.

“A representative and inclusive [Afghan] government can be a trustworthy partner for the international community. In the current situation, there is a need for proper steps by the international community to ensure positive inclusion, provision of humanitarian aid and financial resources [to set up] a stable economy to solve the problems of the Afghan public,” the statement quoted Qureshi as saying.

The foreign minister also stressed on a solution to the Kashmir dispute for lasting peace and stability in the South Asian region while apprising the US delegation of the human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

He also thanked the US deputy secretary of state for the country’s donation of Covid-19 vaccines to Pakistan.

Foreign Secretary Suhail Mahmood senior officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present in the meeting during which bilateral relations as well as the matters relating to Afghanistan and regional peace were discussed.

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R) and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (L) posing for the phtographers.

The US Secretary of State expressed her grief over the loss of human lives caused by the earthquake in Balochistan.

She also appreciated Pakistan’s assistance for the evacuation of American and other nationals from Afghanistan and the continued efforts for peace in the region.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Pakistan expected the new setup in Afghanistan besides peace and stability in Afghanistan to work for the betterment of all Afghan people.

He said that a representative broad-based Afghan government can be a trustable partner for the international community.

The Foreign Minister said that positive participation, humanitarian and financial

It may be mentioned here that the US Deputy Secretary of State was on a two-day (7-8 October, 2021) visit of Pakistan.

The visit was a follow-up of the 23 September meeting between Foreign Minister Qureshi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.  

According to sources, the Biden administration is focusing on four major points in its talks with Pakistan — recognition of the Taliban government in Kabul, international sanctions on Afghanistan, access to Afghanistan and counter-terrorism cooperation.

The sources say that the United States does not want Pakistan to recognise the Taliban regime before the rest of the international community. Instead, it wants Pakistan to continue its efforts for softening the Taliban position on controversial issues, such as inclusive governance, human rights, girls’ education and allowing women to work.

“We seek a strong partnership with Pakistan on counterterrorism and we expect sustained action against all militant and terrorist groups without distinction,” Sherman had told reporters last week ahead of the visit.

“Both of our countries have suffered terribly from the scourge of terrorism and we look forward to cooperative efforts to eliminate all regional and global terrorist threats,” she had said.

Meeting with NSA

A day earlier, National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf, in a meeting with the US deputy secretary of state, stressed that the international community “must maintain contact” with the interim Taliban government in Afghanistan.

According to a report by Radio Pakistan, during the meeting both sides expressed the desire to promote bilateral relations between the United States and Pakistan.

They also discussed economic cooperation as well as the security situation in the region, it added.

According to the report, the US delegation appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to evacuate foreigners from Afghanistan and the help it extended to Afghan refugees.

In his remarks, Yusuf said that blatant human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir also posed a threat to regional peace.

Sherman and her seven-member team arrived in Islamabad on Thursday for a two-day visit to the country.

She had earlier visited India for a series of bilateral meetings, civil society events, and the India Ideas Summit.

Sherman is the senior-most official in the State Department after Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

She is the highest-ranking US visitor to Pakistan under President Joe Biden since the Taliban’s victory in Kabul.