Maiden US Visit

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari arrived in New York this week to participate in a ministerial meeting and debate at the United Nations Security Council on food security, besides holding a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Given how our relationship has been strained with the US in recent times—further exacerbated by the regime change conspiracy—this visit is being viewed as an opportunity to reset ties so that cooperation can be pursued in multiple realms of mutual interest.
First up on the agenda is the Global Food Security Summit which will bring together a diverse group of countries, including those most affected by food insecurity and those with the resources to address these shared global challenges. This is an extremely important forum to lay out our position and seek cooperation with partners considering our ongoing food shortages.
FM Bhutto will also participate in an open discussion at a UN Security Council meeting and he is also likely to meet with the UN secretary-general and the president of the UNSC. It is imperative that we use these platforms of engagement in a positive and constructive way to raise key issues of concern for Islamabad. Pakistan’s vision of regional economic cooperation should be leveraged and it should be made clear that it does not want to be part of any conflict or camp formations. We need to engage extensively bilaterally and multilaterally with everyone, even with those with whom we might differ on certain issues. At the same time, it is also important to share our perspective on key regional and global situations such as the unabated human rights abuses in IIOJK, and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
Both Pakistan and the US have a lot of potential to work together on shared areas of interests, especially when it comes to food security and climate change. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also indicated that the US will support Pakistan stabilise its economy and will look to find ways to expand bilateral investment and trade opportunities. This is an encouraging statement but none of this can materialise without the support of the IMF. Therefore, it is imperative that we undertake the requisite reforms that will create a conducive environment for international lenders and creditors to work with us again. All in all, the hope is that this is a fruitful visit where ties can be reset without the burden of “doing more” being imposed on Islamabad.

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