At a seminar held in Washington on Thursday, Pakistani and US representatives came face-to-face with high expectations from each other. Pakistan urged the US to restore military financing and sales, which were suspended by the Trump administration, while the US advised Pakistan to prioritize its economy and meet the terms set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The bilateral relationship between the two countries has been uncertain since the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has been further complicated by intensified US competition with China and Pakistan’s deteriorating economy. However, there have been recent diplomatic engagements and dialogues between the two countries focusing on various sectors such as trade, energy, education, health, and defence.
During the seminar, Pakistan’s envoy in Washington, Masood Khan, stressed the need to revitalize the once-close relationship between the US and Pakistan and requested Washington’s assistance in easing tensions between India and Pakistan. Ambassador Khan also mentioned the role Pakistan can play in bringing stability to Afghanistan, noting that the stability of Afghanistan is essential for the well-being of its people and for the region. Responding to a question, Ambassador Khan confirmed that Pakistan had placed its first order for Russian oil in consultation with the US government.
On the other hand, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Elizabeth Horst, emphasized the need to help Pakistan rebuild its troubled economy and urged Islamabad to work with the IMF to do so. She acknowledged the importance of the US-Pakistan relationship in a key strategic region and urged both countries to work together on economy, trade, investment, regional stability, and global challenges like climate and health. Ms Horst also noted that both the US and Pakistan want a region free from terrorism and borders that are respected.
In conclusion, the seminar focused on how the US-Pakistan relationship can be improved amid multiple challenging developments. Although there are still uncertainties, the recent increase in high-level diplomatic engagements and dialogues is a positive sign for the future of this bilateral relationship.