ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman on Friday his country wanted a meaningful and broad relationship with the United States during a meeting in Rawalpindi that focused on the prevailing situation in Afghanistan.
The US diplomat arrived in the country on Friday, only a day after her trip to India where she told an audience the administration in Washington did not see itself building a “broad relationship” with Islamabad.
She held a meeting with Pakistan’s national security adviser Moeed Yusuf and foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi before visiting the army chief in the evening. She was also expected to meet
Prime Minister Imran Khan, but the meeting did not take place for some reasons.
According to an official statement circulated by the military’s media wing, ISPR, Gen Bajwa “emphasized to maintain meaningful bilateral engagement for an enduring multi-domain relationship between the two countries.”
COAS said that Pakistan is committed to making all-out efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan and supports an all-inclusive Afghan government. COAS emphasised to maintain meaningful bilateral engagement for an enduring multi domain relationship between the two countries.
The same demand was also made by the country’s foreign minister who sought a “a broad-based, long-term and lasting relationship” with the US that was grounded in economic cooperation and mutual promotion of peace in the region.
However, Sherman had already announced her trip to Pakistan was aimed at accomplishing a “specific and narrow purpose.”
“We [US] don’t see ourselves building our broad relationship with Pakistan and we have no interest in returning to the days of a hyphenated India, Pakistan,” she reportedly told a gathering in Mumbai. “That’s not where we are, that’s not where we are going to be.”
Wendy Sherman was expected to meet Imran Khan
but the meeting did not take place for some reasons
However, the ISPR handout said the US diplomat “appreciated Pakistan’s role in Afghan situation, [especially] the assistance in successful evacuation operations and pledged to continue working with Pakistan for regional peace.”
The US diplomat told a group of journalists in Islamabad that her country had “a long history of security cooperation” with Pakistan which was pivotal to the joint counterterrorism efforts between the two sides.
She also backtracked, according to Dawn newspaper, when asked about her statement made in India, saying Washington had “decades long standing relationship with Pakistan around a broad range of issues.”
Last month, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said Pakistan had “multiplicity of interests” some of which were in conflict with Washington’s, adding it was time for his country to reassess its relationship with Islamabad.
“This is one of the things we’re going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead — the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years but also the role we would want to see it play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that,” he said.
However, foreign minister Qureshi sought a “process of regular and systematic dialogue between Pakistan and the United States” during Sherman’s visit, adding it was “essential for the promotion of our mutual interests as well as common regional goals.”
The US deputy state secretary was expected to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan during her visit, though the meeting did not take place.
Asked about US President Joe Biden’s decision not to call the Pakistani premier, she said that such communication was expected to take place sooner rather than later.