WASHINGTON: Blaming Pakistan for strategy failure in Afghanistan is unfair, said Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, and called for a closer cooperation between Islamabad and Washington to help restore peace and stability in the war-torn country.
Delivering a lecture on the current state of Pakistan-U.S. relations at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, the Ambassador emphasized the significance of strong ties between Pakistan and the United States.
He expressed the hope that both countries would be able to work together in future to achieve common objectives such as peace in Afghanistan. “Each time Pakistan and the U.S. had worked together, they had been able to benefit both countries,” he added.
Ambassador Chaudhry said that recent violence in Afghanistan and continued erosion of territorial hold indicated that the situation in the country was rapidly deteriorating.
He reiterated Pakistan’s strong desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan. He said in such circumstances, it was unfair to blame Pakistan for strategies that did not work well in Afghanistan.
Instead, he believed that Pakistan and the U.S. must set aside their differences and continue to encourage the Afghan government and the militants towards political reconciliation. “Relying solely on military strategy would never bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.”
The Ambassador categorically stated that any militant safe havens had been eliminated from Pakistan due to highly successful military operations in the tribal region conducted in the last three years which have forced to the militants to flee and take refuge across the border in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan has made a remarkable sacrifice in blood and treasure in the fight against terrorism.
He added that relations between Pakistan and the U.S. had always been broad-based and multifaceted. Citing
examples of cooperation in diverse areas such as trade, agriculture, energy, water, health and education, Ambassador Aizaz said that Pakistan has much to gain by working with the U.S. and vice versa.
However, he added that relations between the two countries must be based on mutual trust and mutual respect.
He observed that even when relations between both governments were under stress, people to people contacts and private sector engagements remained strong and robust.
During the Q&A session, the Ambassador responded to queries related to Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts, its relations with Afghanistan, Iran, India as well as the situation in South Asia.
To contextualize his lecture, the Ambassador shared an overview of the rapidly evolving geo-strategic and socio-economic situation that presented new challenges for which every country needs to be prepared.
Participants at the talk included faculty and students of USC and members of the Pakistani American community. Abdul Jabbar Memon, Consul General of Pakistan, Los Angeles also attended the event.—APP