ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi yesterday said Pakistan was mindful of the United States’ priorities regarding Afghanistan. Addressing a seminar on ‘Pakistan-US Relations: Way Forward’ organized by the Islamabad Policy Institute here, the minister said Pakistan and the US must realize common objectives of peace and security in the region and bring prosperity to the people of South Asia.

He said that it was natural for Islamabad and Washington to work for broader engagement from Afghanistan to bilateral economic cooperation and trade cooperation to peace and stability in South Asia.

He expressed the confidence that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s upcoming visit to the US will help in ushering an era of stability and prosperity in South Asia and the broader region. He said Prime Minister Khan will highlight his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.

Qureshi said Pakistan had been facilitating the US-Taliban talks in good faith, underscoring that it remains a shared responsibility.

The minister said the convergence in Pakistan and the US policies on Afghanistan had rekindled the hope for resolution of the protracted Afghan conflict. FM Qureshi said that under the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf-led government the US policy of coercion towards Pakistan is gradually transforming into one of cooperation.

He said both the countries were gradually moving towards a mutually beneficial, constructive and cooperative approach in bilateral relations.

Qureshi said US had appreciated Pakistan’s key role in facilitating the process of intra-Afghan and regional dialogue. The second session delved into four key aspects of the Pak-US relations that encompassed diplomatic, security and economic dimensions of the bilateral ties.

Former Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry analyzed the diplomatic aspect, former Secretary Defence Lt. General Asif Yasin Malik (retd) reviewed the security relations while Mohammed Kamran Nasir, Chief Executive Officer of JS Global Capital Ltd evaluated the economic dimension of the relations. Former Secretary National Security Division Mohammed Sadiq, who chaired the session, deliberated on Pak-US cooperation for peace in Afghanistan and prospects of peace deal. Aizaz Chaudhry stated that US perspective towards Pakistan is shaped by the Afghanistan lens and increasingly from the Chinese lens.

“Therefore, it is important for Pakistan to impress upon US leadership that Islamabad’s relations with China are not poised against any other State. Both the countries must attempt to revive and sustain bilateral dialogue process to deepen the relationship,” he added.

Asif Yasin Malik said that Pakistan’s future policy towards the United States must be guided by history. He said foreign policy must advance economic interests as the main guarantor of national security. “Military to military relations should not be the main driver of the bilateral relationship with US,” he maintained.

Kamran Nasir stated that Pakistan must build an export-led economy but that will require major structural reforms. China-Pakistani Economic Corridor, he noted, represents investment in communication and energy sectors by China but a significant part of technical support is coming from US companies like Caterpillar and General Electric.

Islamabad, he said, can benefit from the American technology in the agriculture sector for improving crop yields and significant export opportunities in the IT and telecom sectors.

In his concluding remarks Syed Mohammed Ali said Pakistan must pacify the US leadership that its relationship with China is not against the United States. In contrast, Washington’s Indo-Pacific policy is both unrealistic towards India and dangerous for South Asian strategic stability and peace. US policy towards South Asia deserves a timely review in order to ensure lasting peace, security and stability, which is in Washington’s interest. 

Earlier, Executive Director IPI Professor Sajjad Bokhari said that for a meaningful change in the complexion of bilateral ties, US needed to review its Indo-Pacific Strategy, address Pakistan’s security concerns, and stop seeing China-Pakistan relations, particularly, CPEC as a challenge.