WASHINGTON: The new Democratic administration “will continue to push for an Afghan-led peace process and press Pakistan to deny all terrorists sanctuary on its soil,” says the Democratic Party’s election manifesto released this weekend.

The manifesto, which is called the “party platform” in the United States, shows that the Hillary Clinton administration, if elected, would continue President Barack Obama’s foreign policies, particularly in South Asia.

The 2016 US presidential election is scheduled for Nov 8 and so far Democrats appear ahead of their Republican rivals in the race for the White House.

The manifesto shows that the next Democratic administration, besides pushing Pakistan to do more in the war against terror, would also seek a close strategic partnership with India. Like its predecessor, it will continue to support the government in Kabul, especially in its disputes with Islamabad.

The Republicans have not yet released their election manifesto but recent statements by their presumptive candidate, Donald Trump, indicate that he would advocate applying even more pressure on Pakistan to combat Afghan Taliban hiding inside the country.

In Afghanistan, Democrats will continue to work with the Nato-led coalition of partners to “bolster the democratically-elected government as it assumes a primary role in tackling terrorism, forges a more secure future for the country, and safeguards advances, like securing women’s rights”.

They would also support President Obama’s decision to maintain a limited troop presence in Afghanistan and “ensure that it never again serves as a haven for terrorists to plan and launch attacks on our homeland”.

INDIA: Democrats pledged to continue to invest in a long-term strategic partnership with India, which the manifesto describes as “the world’s largest democracy, a nation of great diversity, and an important Pacific power”.

IS: Democrats vowed to root out the militant Islamic State (IS) group. They also vowed to bring together the Syrian opposition, international community, and US regional allies to reach a negotiated political transition that ends President Bashar Assad’s rule in Syria.

MUSLIMS: The Democratic manifesto rejected Donald Trump’s vilification of Muslims, because it “violates the religious freedom that is the bedrock of our country”.

They noted that Mr Trump’s rhetoric feeds into IS’ nefarious narrative, and alienates people and countries that are crucial to defeating terrorism.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2016

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