WASHINGTON: The State Department has underscored Pakistan’s centrality to the US as a major ally and partner, after Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir arrived in the US this week.

Gen Munir, who is currently on an extended visit of the US, is expected to hold meetings with key defence, foreign policy and national security officials.

Although the visit was announced by the army’s media wing, details of his engagements have not been disclosed.

Diplomatic sources in Washington, however, said that he was likely to meet the US secretaries of defence and state, as well as the White House national security adviser.

When approached for comment on the Pakistani army chief’s engagements in Washington, a US State Department spokesperson refrained from providing specific details about the visit.

However, they emphasised the enduring relationship between the United States and Pakistan. “Pakistan is a major non-Nato ally and a Nato partner. Generally speaking, we look forward to partnering with them on regional security and defence cooperation,” the spokesperson told Dawn.

Since Gen Munir’s arrival in Washington coincided with an Indian Supreme Court that endorsed India-held Kashmir’s merger with India, many also speculated that the issue could feature in talks he held with US officials.

When questioned about the Indian Supreme Court’s decision, the State Department spokesperson maintained a measured stance. “We continue to follow developments in Jammu and Kashmir closely, noting the Supreme Court’s recent ruling,” they said, talking to Dawn.

The spokesperson, however, declined to speculate on the potential impact of the decision on India-Pakistan relations.

“We look forward to further steps by the Indian government to fulfill its pledges to restore political normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir, including by holding assembly elections as stipulated in the Supreme Court’s ruling,” the spokesperson added.

Separately, at a Monday afternoon news briefing, State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller responded to questions about two issues that are raised and discussed regularly in US-Pakistan talks: Afghanistan and the political situation in Pakistan.

Responding to the question about Pakistan’s internal politics, Mr Miller emphasised non-interference in the selection of leaders in Pakistan, stating, “The United States does not play any role in choosing the leaders of Pakistan. We engage with the leadership decided by the Pakistani people.” This aligns with Washington’s diplomatic approach, the State Department reiterated.

Addressing the situation between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the spokesperson said: “Obviously, we support a diplomatic resolution to all of the various issues between those two countries.”

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2023

Opinion

Rule by law

Rule by law

‘The rule of law’ is being weaponised, taking on whatever meaning that fits the political objectives of those invoking it.

Editorial

Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...
X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...