WASHINGTON –Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington Sherry Rehman has urged the United States Congress on helping realise greater market access for Pakistani products to the American market, emphasising that the long-sought step would contribute vitally to forging enduring bilateral relations.Sherry Rehman drew attention of the new US Congress to democratic accomplishments of the country, stating in an opinion posted on The Hill Congressional daily that Pakistan would make history by going to the polls for the first peaceful and Constitutional transfer of power in its history.Apart from addressing longstanding Constitutional and political issues that threatened the Federation, she wrote, the democratic government has taken full ownership of the fight against terrorism and given the people of Pakistan a stake in it.At the same time, she reiterated Islamabad’s clear-cut stand on the drone strikes as being counter-productive.“I appreciate US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson’s words that al Qaeda has largely been eliminated in the region due to joint Pak-US efforts, and hope that this will trigger a more meaningful conversation on ending US drone strikes in Pakistan.”Pressing her argument for enhanced trade access, she noted that think tank studies have shown that the impact of greater market access to Pakistan on US jobs will be negligible while the economic impact on the Pakistani side will be incalculable.“As we turn the bend in our relations to a better space, and five bilateral working groups conclude productive sessions, we seek greater market access to the US,” she wrote as newly elected American lawmakers began their fresh terms on the Capitol Hill.“It will spur economic activity, generate employment, give the country’s enormous youth cohort an avenue to earn a living, and above all, give ordinary Pakistanis a stake in an enduring Pakistan-US relationship.” The US Congress has a leading role to play in this effort, she said. Highlighting Islamabad’s anti-terror commitment, she recalled that in an historic joint session, the Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning terrorism.“Soon after, with the full support and force of the government and people of Pakistan, our military forces went into Swat, and subsequently into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), to flush out terrorists.”She underscored to the US Congress the fact that substantive progress in the anti-terror fight has been made under the democratic government.In the regional perspective, she said, the democratic government is also leading Pakistan through a regional policy pivotal in South Asia.“Legitimately concerned about its own security, under President (Asif Ali) Zardari’s specific initiatives, Islamabad is determined to send clear signals that bolster the security of others. It is, therefore, reaching out to all countries in the region, reassessing its own strategy and hoping to foster peace among others. Specifically, Pakistan is proactively moving ahead to build confidence based on opening sustained trade and dialogue with our immediate neighbors, Afghanistan and India.”In the case of Afghanistan, as it makes an important security and political transition, Pakistan is working with the US to facilitate an Afghan-owned and led reconciliation process.Sherry Rehman wrote that despite progress on many fronts, Pakistan continues to face challenges at home.“Democratic gains must be consolidated, and regardless of high global oil and food prices, we have to begin making a positive and visible impact on the quality of life of the ordinary Pakistani. Above all, the fight against terrorism must continue to be waged and won. Since we signed up to fight this battle, 46,000 civilians and soldiers have been martyred. It is now our battle”.“US friendship and support are essential in these endeavours. We certainly appreciate US assistance to Pakistan in all its manifestations, even though the promised legislation on ROZs never materialised. And we realise that the long-term solution to our difficulties lies in enhanced trade, not aid”, she added.