WASHINGTON - Pakistan is looking forward to working closely with the Trump administration in an effort to further strengthen US-Pakistan multi-faceted relationship, Aizaz Chaudhry, the new Pakistani ambassador in Washington, has said.

“I will search more friends for Pakistan, we have a long history of bilateral ties, and I will endeavour to strengthen the relationship,” he said in his first interaction with Washington-based Pakistani journalists on Friday.

Chaudhry, a veteran diplomat, has taken charge of his post at a time when the Trump administration has not clearly defined its policy towards South Asia, much less towards Pakistan.

He also said that improving Pakistan’s image, harnessing the potential of vibrant Pakistani-American community as bridge-building force and removing misperceptions in parts of the American media, were among his top duties.

Chaudhry, who was until recently Pakistan’s foreign secretary, also said he would strive for a greater understanding of Pakistani national security concerns in South Asia. “That precisely will be my duty,” when questioned about security problems stemming from the Afghan and Indian sides.

Ambassador Chaudhry stated that the improved security situation and the economic reforms have led to a revival of Pakistan’s economy which is now growing at the rate of 4.7 percent. All economic indicators are pointing upwards. Energy deficit would soon be a matter of the past. The resurgence in the economy was attracting investors from all across the world. The recently held Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Summit was a clear message that Pakistan stands for connectivity and regional cooperation for shared prosperity.

Referring to a question regarding relations with Afghanistan, Ambassador Chaudhry mentioned that peace in Afghanistan remains a high priority for the government and people of Pakistan. Pakistan believes that governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan need to cooperate to stop cross-border movement of terrorists.

He underscored the importance of effective border management which is in common interest of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. “We want peace and stability in Afghanistan because instability in Afghanistan hurts Pakistan the most. We are ready to work with the United States and other countries toward that objective,” Chaudhry said, stressing that all Pakistani institutions want peace in the western neighbouring country.

He underscored the importance of effective border management which is in common interest of both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan wants to have good relations with the United States, China and Russia, he said, when questioned about Islamabad simultaneously developing close ties with the United States and other major powers.

Chaudhry cited convergence of interests between Pakistan and the United States but also noted that as is the case in a relationship between any two countries, Islamabad and Washington do not see eye-to-eye on all issues.