The statement by former US Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel that despite ups and downs in their relationship, the US as a global power cannot ignore Pakistan which is an influential Muslim country and an emerging democracy with a powerful military is quite welcome indeed.

According to the reports I the media, the former US diplomat has said this while participating in a discussion at the International Institute for Strategic Studies , a London-based international think tank. She pointedly mentioned that Pakistan now feels more confident of itself because of its burgeoning relationship with China and growing ties with Russia though still Pakistan needs US.

She has also quite rightly underscored the dire need for US and Pakistan to collaborate in an efforts to promote a settlement to end the war in Afghanistan and regretfully stated as a diplomat that the overall efforts to deal with the Afghan war is somehow more focused on a military solution rather than through a diplomatic process.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations Dr Maleeha Lodhi speaking on the occasion also emphatically stated that peace can only be restored in Afghanistan through a negotiated settlement which is also the firm consensus of the international community expressed repeatedly and forcefully by the Security Council at the UN adding that immediate challenge for both US and Pakistan is to find a common approach to Afghanistan crisis though both agree that stability and security of Afghanistan is the shared interest.

She is also reported to have said that Pakistan quite importantly believes that the most immediate and realistic goals in Afghanistan should be concerted action to eliminate presence in Afghanistan Daesh, remnants of Al-Qaeda and their affiliates including Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

Both Robin Raphel and Maleeha Lodhi have surely and certainly made quite welcome and realistic statements which should duly be taken notice by Washington, Islamabad and Kabul to end the ongoing long war despite presence of US led NATO forces in Afghanistan to usher in stability, security and peace there at the earliest, please.

ASMAAR BILAL,

Lahore, November 20.