Former President and Pakistan People’s Party chairman Asif Ali Zardari has called on the United States to increase cooperation and continue to be partner with Pakistan.
In a article written in the Forbes magazine, Zardari said that US support in the fight against terror is not merely a matter of goodwill but self-interest, as the terrorists who attack innocent Pakistanis are the same who attack Americans aboard.
In fact, Zardari adds that the war is not merely about military action but rather a ‘war of ideas’ which must be confronted with help from partners, which yielded tangible result in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism,
He said that Pakistan has rooted out safe havens of several extremists including Al-Qaeda, but rendered tremendous sacrifices as over sixty thousand lives were lost, and the economic cost exceeds more than sixty billion dollars.
The former president states that it unfortunate the US Congress fails to recognise these hard-won victories and has instead cut off reimbursements to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and blocked sale of F-16 jets, which is a “clear breach of faith” in the partnership.
He said that extremists are taking advantage by slipping over the border, while ‘war-weary’ civilians in Pakistan feel that their sacrifices are undermined. Therefore, he said there is a need to renew common goals and create a streamlined strategy that galvanizes both the military and civilians.
Zardari called on the US to continue to develop Pakistan’s economy which will build public confidence in the institutions. He called Pakistan as one of the greatest success stories in foreign aid with ‘astounding macroeconomic growth.’
He said that stability has been restored in Pakistan after a half-decade of growth, and with the world’s second-fastest-growing stock exchange, the economy is poised for greater advancement in 2017.
“The opportunities for partnership and collaboration beyond the military realm are boundless, holding the promise to bring the whole world forward,” he said.
Zardari hope that the US will invest its faith in Pakistan, which witnessed the first democratic and peaceful civilian transfer of power in 2013. He said Pakistan is still in early stages of democratic growth and continues to create truly democratic institutions.
He said that it is unfortunate that Pakistan did not see a palpable diplomatic commitment to the holistic growth and success under President Obama, which saw discussion on counter-terrorism and aid operations, but little dialogue on grand strategy with both military and civilian leaders.
Zardari calls on the US administration to ‘keep the lines of communication open’ and considers its policy options and financial commitments, and renew commitment to its partnership with Pakistan.