US says will look for ‘ways to advance’ partnership with Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday that Washington was looking for ways to advance its partnership with Islamabad. The political and diplomatic observers say that after toppling the government of Imran Khan, Biden administration is showing deep interest with the present set-up to flourish the relations closer. “Though the present regime is uncertain and time-limit, but is considered by President Joe Biden government, a set-up with which can be adjusted and friendly”, the observers commented.

NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken in New York on 18 May, 2022.

US-Pakistani ties have deteriorated over the past few years under the government of former prime minister Imran Khan, who was a strident opponent of America’s war on terror and Pakistan’s role in it. 

After Khan’s ouster in a no-confidence vote in April, Pakistan’s new government has indicated it would seek a new engagement with the US.

Last month, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York, where he participated in a United Nations Security Council meeting on food security.  

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price

“Secretary Blinken had an opportunity to sit down with his Pakistani counterpart to meet him face-to-face in his position for the first time. It was a very good, constructive discussion,” Price said in a press briefing.

“Pakistan is a partner of ours, and we will look to ways to advance that partnership in a manner that serves our interest and our mutual interests as well.”

In an interview after the meeting, Bhutto-Zardari said his country must “continue to engage with the United States at all levels.”

He told the Associated Press that the Pakistan-US relationship in the past had been “too colored by the events in Afghanistan, of the geopolitical considerations, and it’s time for us to move beyond that to engage in a far broader, deeper and more meaningful relationship.”

Afghan and Pak-US ties were main agenda

Afghan issue and Pak-US relations were among main topics which were discussed between US President Joe Biden and Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington.

The ambassador met the US president at the White House on Wednesday which is considered as a major break-through in relations between the two countries., a Pakistani TV channel reported.

WASHINGTON: Pakistan envoy to Washington Masood Khan (left) and US President Joe Biden. (Photo released by Embassy of Pakistan in USA)

In a statement, the Pakistani embassy confirmed the meeting, during which Khan highlighted the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. He added the two sides would continue to work on the shared objectives of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

The ambassador said the two countries agreed on efforts for averting a humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON: A picture taken on Wednesday; October 23, 2013 shows the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meeting with the then US Vice President Joe Biden for breakfast. (Photo released by Embassy of Pakistan in USA.)

According to reliable sources, Joe Biden expressed Washington’s desire to build a strong basis for the US-Pakistan ties forward.

The American president conveyed this desire to Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sardar Masood Khan, who visited the White House on Tuesday to meet and greet President Biden and have an official photograph with him which is an established tradition in Washington DC for newly-appointed envoys.

During the ceremony, the US president and the Pakistani ambassador had a brief conversation on building a strong basis for moving the US-Pakistan ties forward, said a press release issued by the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.

Forty-six other ambassadors were also there to have official photograph with the US president one by one. They too had not been able to call on the president for more than a year because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Ambassador Masood Khan arrived in Washington DC on 25th March, 2022. On that day his credentials were received by the US Chief of Protocol and he was designated as “Appointed Ambassador”.

WASHINGTON: A picture taken on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 shows the then Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari discussing bilateral issues in Islamabad.

On April 19, 2022, Ambassador Masood Khan’s credentials were formally accepted by President Joe Biden. The official photograph completes all formalities.
Relations between Islamabad and Washington— once allies who enjoyed close security and defense cooperation since the Cold War era— became strained when the Taliban seized Afghanistan in August 2021.
Ties between the two countries further took a hit over the last few months when former prime minister Imran Khan accused Washington of backing a campaign to oust him from the government in April. The US has vehemently denied the allegations.
The Pakistani embassy in the US said Khan visited the White House to meet and greet Biden for an official photograph, adding that it is an established tradition for newly appointed envoys in Washington D.C. to do so.
“During the ceremony, the US President and the Ambassador had a brief conversation on building a strong basis for moving the US-Pakistan ties forward,” the Pakistani embassy in the US said in a statement.