ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf on Friday called for building the Pak-US bilateral relationship around economic security.
He was speaking at the launch of a report titled ‘Pak-Americana: Ushering in a New Era of Pakistan-US Relations’ published by Tabadlab, a think tank and advisory services firm.
This paradigm shift in ties, he believed, could be achieved through co-investment and cooperation in connectivity projects.
Dr Yusuf said: “There are lot of positives to pick up and work with and move forward.” He noted that Pakistan and the US can cooperate and assist each other on regional peace, climate change, Covid-19 and pandemics.
Urges world community to remove artificial barriers like FATF’s grey listing
However, he categorically cautioned against looking at Pakistan through a third country lens and keeping India at the centre of all conversations.
Dr Yusuf also called for getting past the problems that occurred back in time and created mutual mistrust by talking about the transformed Pakistan and updating the narrative about the country.
While talking about trade and investment, he said that Pakistan expects from the international community to remove the “artificial barriers” like FATF’s grey listing that are politically motivated.
Pakistan’s Ambassador at Large for Foreign Investment and former ambassador to the US, Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, said: “It is increasingly in the interest of both countries to re-establish a closer bilateral relationship, transitioning from geopolitics to geo-economics.”
The report is based on the insights and recommendations given by a group of Pakistani experts on ties with the US. The group included academics, former military officers, former diplomats, business people and intellectuals.
The report prepared essentially for Pakistani policy makers identifies the key drivers of the relationship, outlines issues of concern and recommends ways for dealing with them. It suggests that in view of the changing geostrategic environment in the region, there are opportunities for Pakistani policy makers to proactively seek and establish a comprehensive and resilient bilateral relationship with the US. It also recommends the revival of the ministerial strategic dialogue.
There are few intriguing recommendations in the report as well like avoiding “blanket endorsement of all Chinese foreign or domestic policies, especially when doing so might undermine the principled positions that Pakistan may take on other issues, particularly its leadership at the UN in countering religious discrimination, especially against Muslims”.
It also suggests to “engage in and support intelligence cooperation and intelligence sharing for counterterrorism with the US partner nations in South Asia” including India.
Lead author Syed Muhammad Ali, who is associated with Middle East Institute, said at the ceremony: “There is lot of room where the convergence of ideas can be built upon to make this bilateral relationship, which has been so turbulent and fraught with tensions at time, more robust, more sustainable, more resilient and less transactional.”
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2021