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Bilawal calls for ‘reset’ in Pak-US ties

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called for a reset in ties between Pakistan and the United States and said easing tensions between the two nations was in the best interest of both.

In an exclusive interview with an American columnist published in the Washington Post, Bilawal stated that the two countries “agree on far more than we disagree on,” adding that it will not be wise to allow relations between the two to deteriorate further. The two nations, once close allies, have had frosty relations in recent years. The US-Pakistan relationship soured during the PTI government’s tenure because of differences between Islamabad and Washington on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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The young FM said that both nations could learn from their past mistakes, “the way in which this relationship progressed in recent years doesn’t serve the interests of the people of Pakistan, but it also doesn’t serve the interests of the people of America.” During the interview, Bilawal underscored that he believed change should be implemented incrementally through negotiations.

“Even though I’m young and I’m supposed to be a lot more idealistic and revolutionary, because of our [family’s] experience, I actually believe in evolution over revolution,” he said. The minister also stated that the western superpower and Pakistan could improve relations, as they were aligned on Afghanistan. He said that both countries wanted the Taliban to bring stability to the citizens of Afghanistan and encourage the state to improve its image.

He expressed hope that the main point of contention between Washington and Islamabad, the Afghanistan war, would now be an area of cooperation. On May 18, against the backdrop of strained ties between Pakistan and the US, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with FM Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. Blinken assured the FM that the administration of President Joe Biden was looking forward to working with the new government in Pakistan and discussed “expanding partnership” between the two countries. This was the first high-level face-to-face contact between Pakistan and the US since the change of government in Islamabad.

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