Peace in Afghanistan main focus of ties with US: Moeed Yusuf

Special Assistant to the PM on National Security and Strategic Planning Moeed Yusuf highlighted that we were now in a very different world due to the changed dynamics. He was speaking at awebinar under the Auspices of Karachi Council on Foreign Affairs on “Reset of US-Pakistan Relations.” Other speakers included Ambassador Cameron Munter (Former US Ambassador to Pakistan), Dr. Daniel Markey (Senior Research Professor John Hopkins University, USA), Dr.Huma Baqa (Professor IBA Karachi) and Mr. MoinFudda. He said the key elements for Pak-US relationship should be focused on having peace in Afghanistan, besides internal support and role of India due to security concerns in the region. “That our relationship should focus on partnership rather than monetary assistance and focus on mutual assistance for improvements in all area by leaving the past behind. For the Afghan peace process, it was important to reach the finishline as everything has been spelt out and milestone driven,”Moeed Yusuf said. He added that Pakistan has no issues with USA- India partnership as long as there is objectivity and negativity / crisis is not initiated byIndia. There is a need to engage US private investors and a starting point can be the experience of MNC’s operating in Pakistan. In addition, all Pakistan foreign missions arebeing requested to improve business to business private sector engagements. Ambassador Cameron Munter stated that it is important to engage the President elect Mr. Biden’s administration early to create a positive approach with a new style. There are quite a few staff in the US administration on the Afghan and other foreign policy matters and will be willing to solve multilateral matters. On the global issues, engagement can be on E-Governance, Pandemic etc. India presently has issues which will be evaluated viz.a. viz. China and US/Australia/India/Japan. On the private sector engagement, there is a need to have new business areas like IT etc. instead of the traditional ones like Textile which were quota driven. Pakistan’s focus should be on playing the role of an economic and diplomatic player. Dr. Daniel Markey emphasized that bilateral mechanisms need to be developed. He stated that new ways need to be adopted. Some opportunity areas to be considered, which should be Pandemic response, Climate Change, Clean Energy and Nuclear diplomacy (Iran). He highlighted that USA-India relationship will d be derived from India’s minority protection approach and the strategic competition with China (vs India). Furthermore, there is a need to have a responsible approach in order to avoid an India / Pak crisis in future. On the private sector engagement, business relationships need to be made in new commercial areas by unleashing the power of the youth in Pakistan and having partnerships and connectivity. Textile quota enhancement bills in US parliament etc. are not relevant. In her analysis, Huma Baqai spelled out that President elect Mr. Biden would have to do a Tight Rope walking as he has to undertake a damage control due to recent events under the Trump Presidency. There is a need to have a “new relationship” with specific actions and Pakistan should not be paired with China.”. Chairman KCFR Ikram Sehgal, in his concluding remarks, thanked the all the participants for an intensive, candid and fair-minded discussion; especially from the USA side. Pakistan wants to have a neutral stance with both KSA & Iran, as we do not consider the Sunni & Shia differences as an issue. He emphasized that the US private sector can make a lot of money in Pakistan as there is untapped potential in the South along the coast from Karachi to Gwadar which presents a golden opportunity.

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