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January 16, 2021

Pakistan, US in crucial ties due to changed dynamics: Moeed

National

January 16, 2021

KARACHI: A webinar was held on reset of the US-Pakistan relations under the auspices of Karachi Council on Foreign Affairs (KCFR), while Moin Fudda, Member Board of Governors, KCFR, moderated the event.

Special Assistant to the PM on National Security and Strategic Planning Moeed Yousuf mentioned that both the countries were in crucial relationship due to the changed dynamics, while focusing on having peace in Afghanistan, besides on partnership rather than monetary assistance. He said for the Afghan peace process, it was important to reach the finish line for controlling the bilateral damages, also mentioning that Pakistan has no issues with USA-India partnership as long as there is objectivity and there is no negativity initiated by India. Cameron Munter, former US-ambassador to Pakistan, stated that Pakistan must engage US President-elect Biden’s administration early to create a positive impression, focusing on economic and diplomatic fronts. Quite a few staff in the US administration on Afghan and other foreign policy matters will be willing to resolve multilateral issues and there is a need to explore new business areas like IT, etc, through private sector engagement. Dr Daniel Markey, senior research professor, John Hopkins University, USA, emphasised that the bilateral mechanisms needed to be developed and new ways should be adopted. Dr Markey said the opportunity areas are pandemic response, climate change, clean energy and nuclear diplomacy (Iran), while highlighting the US-India relationship, it would be derived from India’s minority protection approach and the strategic competition with China. He added that only a responsible approach could avoid the India/Pak crisis in future and business relationships needed to be visited with new commercial venues by unleashing the power of youth in Pakistan and having partnerships and connectivity. In her analysis, Prof Huma Baqai, IBA Karachi, said President-elect Joe Biden would have to walk on a tight string as he has to undertake the damage control due to recent events under the Trump’s presidency. There is a need to have a ‘new relationship’ with specific actions and Pakistan should not be paired with China. There is a mismatch on certain strategic issues between the USA and Pakistan, which needed to be addressed and Pakistan should not be considered a ‘contingent partner’. In his concluding remarks, Chairman KCFR, Ikram Sehgal, said Pakistan wanted to have a neutral stance on both KSA and Iran issues, and does not consider Sunni and Shia differences a matter of conflict.