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A new day


January 22, 2021

The United States has successfully entered into a new democratic era with the historical swearing-in ceremony of newly elected President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

On this occasion, I would like to extend heartfelt congratulations and best wishes from the people of Pakistan to Joe Biden for being elected as the 46th President of the United States of America. It is also a matter of excitement that Ms Kamala Harris, being of South Asian origin, has succeeded to become the first female vice president, the highest-ranking female elected official in American history.

This year, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic forced to ensure limited audience during the ceremony, and introduced modern features such as virtual performances and waving flags to represent the public.

For the first time in the history of the US, there was a dispute right after the announcement of the election results. Then-president Donald Trump not only refused to accept election results but his supporters also attacked Capitol Hill, the center of American politics. Unlike other former presidents, Trump was not present to attend the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday. No doubt, such unwanted acts damaged the repute of America, known as the champion of democracy.

Today, Trump is no longer in power and the international community is looking towards President Joe Biden. In my view, change of government in the US does not result in changing state policies. In fact, the national interests of the US decides to determine friends and enemies. However, I believe that the new president will immediately review some of the controversial policies of the Trump administration. For example, Joe Biden may consider resolving various international issues related to the Paris Agreement, the WHO, and the Iran nuclear deal, etc.

The slogan 'America is back' tweeted by Joe Biden indicates that he believes in America’s soft power. He is of the view that America's contributions to democracy and the protection of human rights, inventions in the field of science and technology, achievements in space, and innovations in the field of medicine, creations in Hollywood and admissions of foreign students to American educational institutions have made the US an unconquerable global superpower. A major challenge for Biden is also to keep the US united internally.

To my knowledge, newly elected Democratic President Joe Biden has a soft corner for Pakistan. He is well aware of Pakistan’s geo-strategic importance to ensure global peace and regional stability. Biden had already visited Pakistan before becoming president. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, he played a pivotal role in allocating billions of US dollars aid to Pakistan under Kerry-Lugar Bill in 2008. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, he was honored with Pakistan's second-highest civilian award, the Hilal-e-Pakistan. He has recently included Pakistani-origin citizens and Kashmiri women to his team after being elected president of the United States.

I believe that Joe Biden is a good man at heart and feels the pain of humanity. Few people are aware of the fact that his beloved son Beau Biden, lost his life due to cancer, after which Joe Biden, as vice president during the Obama tenure, made significant efforts to fight against cancer. This shared value of serving humanity brings him closer to the current prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, who successfully established the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital after losing his mother to cancer.

Due to his politics and personality, today Americans are quite hopeful that Biden will be able to uplift their socio-economic conditions and once again America will be able to achieve its lost position internationally. Joe Biden, who has suffered the loss of his close relatives, will feel the pain of the innocent people affected by the wars and will play a leading role in the peaceful resolution of global conflicts. I hope that under the Biden administration, Pakistan and the US – two traditional allies – will start a new era of friendship and close cooperation.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani