ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said it sought a broad-based, long term and sustainable relationship with the United States for the promotion of economic cooperation and regional peace.
In a meeting with United States’ Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who arrived in Islamabad on a two-day visit late Thursday night, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said a regular and comprehensive dialogue between the two governments was important to promote bilateral ties and to secure mutual interests.
He said both the United States and Pakistan shared an understanding of Afghanistan.
The foreign minister expressed the confidence the new government in Kabul will work for peace and stability as well as for the betterment of its people. He further noted a representative and broad-based Taliban government could be a trustworthy partner for the international community.
He said the international community should positively engage with Afghanistan and provide humanitarian and financial assistance and resources to it. He stressed concrete steps should be taken to build a sustainable economy in Afghanistan and address the difficulties of the Afghan people.
Sherman arrived in Pakistan after completing an official India visit where she affirmed Washington’s aim to expand the strategic partnership with New Delhi in the backdrop of expanding China influence in the region and beyond.
Pointing to the gross rights abuses in Indian-occupied Kashmir during the meeting, Qureshi called for the resolution of the longstanding dispute to secure durable peace and stability in the South Asian region.
Sherman expressed her deep grief and sorrow over the loss of life and material in the Thursday earthquake in Balochistan.
‘WORLD MUST ENGAGE WITH TALIBAN’
Before Qureshi, National Security Advisor Dr Moeed Yusuf met Sherman and told her the world should engage with the newly-formed Taliban government of Afghanistan.
During the meeting, both leaders discussed bilateral issues and the changing situation in the region. They also held talks on economic cooperation, trade and the security situation in Afghanistan.
“The international community needs to talk and engage with Afghanistan’s new interim government,” Yousaf said.
According to a Radio Pakistan report, the visiting delegation appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to evacuate foreigners from Afghanistan and the help it extended to refugees from that country.
Since the Taliban’s take over Afghanistan, Islamabad has been urging to recognise the interim government in the troubled country.
Yusuf also said that blatant human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir also posed a threat to regional peace.
FIRST VISIT SINCE TALIBAN TAKEOVER
Sherman, after Central Intelligence Agency chief William J. Burns, is one of the first high-level officials under President Joe Biden to visit Pakistan — and after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August.
She is expected to call on senior civilian and military officials in Islamabad.
The trip comes as India, one of the top allies of the Western-backed Ashraf Ghani government of Afghanistan that collapsed in the face of Taliban offences, as well as the US, ramps up a propaganda campaign to scapegoat Pakistan for the collapse of the Ghani regime.
Pakistan was one of the backers of the 1996-2001 Taliban regime and has been accused by US officials of keeping the insurgents alive through covert support.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an opinion piece published last month in The Washington Post, called his country a “convenient scapegoat.”
“In Afghanistan, the lack of legitimacy for an outsider’s protracted war was compounded by a corrupt and inept Afghan government, seen as a puppet regime without credibility, especially by rural Afghans,” he wrote, elaborating on themes in his address to the UN General Assembly.
He urged the world to engage the Taliban government “to ensure peace and stability.”
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