ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday said that since both Pakistan and the United States were stakeholders in Afghanistan’s stability, they should join hands to achieve this goal.
Expressing Pakistan’s commitment to peace and stability in Afghanistan, he said, this called for Pakistan and the US to work together for if they failed even for a day, such a situation would translate into a “big bonus” for the elements who were trying to destabilise the region.
The interior minister was speaking at a formal ceremony held here at the US Embassy to celebrate the US National Day and the President’s Day.
He said both Pakistan and the US have a special relationship, and geopolitics of the region have made it inseparable, therefore they need to cooperate for peace and stability in the region.
The minister said if there was peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan would get dividends and if there was instability there, the country would suffer.
Ahsan said that Pakistan and the US needed to work to strengthen the longstanding relationship.
He said that trade between the two countries was now at the highest level because the private sectors from the two sides had done a good job. “Now it is for the diplomats of the two countries to achieve such a level of cooperation in other fields as well,” he added.
The interior minister appreciated the US’s role in giving scholarships to Pakistani students under the full-bright programme, adding that he wanted more students from Pakistan to be in the best universities of the US.
US Ambassador David Hale in his remarks on the occasion said that America had built roads, dams, hospitals and schools in Pakistan and wanted it to be a safe and prosperous country for both Pakistanis and the Americans.
He also said the US had spent billions of dollars for development and upkeeping of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
The interior minister also joined the US ambassador in cutting the cake to mark the day.
Among others, the ceremony was attended by a large number of people including ambassadors of various countries, politicians and members of the parliament.
Among the hot topics discussed by the participants was the Supreme Court’s Wednesday verdict that declared former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif ineligible to hold the office of the PML-N’s president.
The first president of the US, George Washington’s birthday is Feb 22, 1732, which is a state holiday and is celebrated as the National Day and the Presidents’ Day since 1885.
In 1968, the US Congress passed a Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved several federal holidays to Mondays. During the debate on the bill, it was proposed to have the birthday of George Washington be renamed as the Presidents’ Day to honour the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.