sherryrehman-reuters670
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan's ambassador to the US, speaks during an interview in Islamabad July 5, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

WASHINGTON: Pakistan needs strategic space and sympathy, not calls to ‘do more’, Ambassador Sherry Rehman told a congressional caucus on Friday.

Speaking at an event of the 50-member Pakistan Caucus in the US House of Representatives, she assured the lawmakers that Pakistan was with the US “for a long haul”.

At the event organised jointly by Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat, and Dan Burton, a Republican, she underscored the importance of building a strong relationship between the two allied nations.

The caucus had not met for five years despite it’s existence in Congress.

In a two-hour long discussion on the subject “Pakistan and the United States: The Road Ahead”, the ambassador also underlined Pakistan’s priorities, concerns and apprehensions before legislators and congressional staffers.

She highlighted the numerous instances of close, and in some cases, historical cooperation between the two countries since 1947.

“We do not want to be seen as just a function of US concerns in Afghanistan. We are an important country in our own right that has a history of close friendship with the United States,” she said.

Responding to a query about the trust erosion between the two countries relating often to the region, she said: “Pakistan is seeking to build a relationship based on transparency and predictability.”

She noted that there was a clear strategic shift in Pakistan’s calculus in the region, with proactive diplomatic engagement on both sides of the border as well as with all other regional countries.

“We are pivoting our policy initiatives on new economic opportunities in the region. This means we seek to maximise trade and economic investments in the region as much as we continue to focus on the prospects for stability in the neighbourhood,” she said.

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