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Through building mutual trust, Pak-US relations can grow better: Senator Mushahid

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed has observed that with uncertainties removed from both sides, Pakistan US relations can continue to grow better.

“There is a ‘glimmer of hope’ in US-Pak Relations and with cautious optimism on both sides, things will get better,” he said during a public hearing held by the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on ‘Pakistan-American Relations: After Foreign Minister’s Washington Visit’ here at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Studies in Islamabad.

He also said regional connectivity via the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) could promote regional cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The public hearing was attended by a standing room only, packed audience from diplomatic community, civil and military experts, parliamentarians, academia, students and journalists.

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Former Ambassador to the United States and Former Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jillani while addressing the participants said that at this unpredictable juncture of US-Pakistan relations, building trust is very significant for re-engagement between both sides.

He said the US needed to appreciate and understand our legitimate security concerns vis a vis India and Afghanistan and measures for retaining goodwill are needed.

He also said that resettlement of US-China relations was of key importance to the stability of the region for which Pakistan would continue to play its role. He said that recent interactions between the US and Pakistan were on a positive line and Washington now understood that some areas of its earlier policy towards Asia were not workable.

Vice President of United States Institute of Peace, Washington, Moeed Yusuf remarked that as of today Pakistan and the US did not enjoy a bilateral relationship independent of Afghanistan and all our mutual conversations were revolving around Afghanistan.

He said that to make Pakistan-US relations better there was a need to dispel the negative perception in the US that always sees Pakistan as part of the problem and not the solution. However, he acknowledged that presence of a full time foreign minister who was well-known in the US had been taken positively and the recent visits on both sides had helped the cause well.

Moeed Yusu said that there was a glimmer of hope in stabilizing the relationship and both sides needed to understand that they had no other options but to work together. He proposed having focused conversations, deliberating upon a common vision, and utilising Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace process.

He said that a broken US-Pakistan relationship affects China-US relationship, hence making it better was all the more important while also taking measures to recreate space to cooperate on our own bilateral relationship.

Senator Sherry Rehman who has also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to US and Dr. Rasool Bakhsh Raees, a professor of political science also addressed the public hearing.

Senator Sherry Rehman said that both the US and Pakistan needed to make their rationales clear. She said that Pakistan had always sought to be seen as a serious and useful interlocutor for the peace process in Afghanistan and it is high time that US understands this.

Dr Rasool Bakhsh Raees observed that the stalemate in the relationship has something to do with Islamabad and something to do with the US. He said that both sides needed to understand that it’s a forty year old war that we are talking about and it cannot be hurried to just any imprudent solution. He said that the only viable solution to Afghan problem is talking to the right party.

The addresses were followed by an interactive question answer session wherein students participants from civil and military background and students from Quaid-e-Azam University, National University of Sciences and Technology and Institute of Strategic Studies put forward questions to the panellists regarding the US-Pakistan Relationship and the way forward for diplomacy.

The hearing was attended among others by Amassador of France, Ambassador of European Union, Lt. Gen. (R) Talat Masood, Lt. Gen. (R) Asad Durrani, Irashadllah Khan, Dr. Ashfaq Hasan Khan, Senators Lt. Gen. (R) Abdul Qayyum, Dr. Mehr Taj, Asif Kirmani, Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, Javed Abbasi, Sitara Ayaz, Atta-ur-Rehman, Dr. Shahzad Waseem, Dr Ghous Niazi and Dr.Shaheen Butt.

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