–Info minister says Munter unaware of recent development since he retired long ago
–Pakistan should stop misappropriating development funds, says former US ambassador
LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday said relations between Pakistan and the United States (US) were fast improving.
Talking to media persons here at the Alhamra Hall, the minister rejected the statement of former US ambassador Cameron Munter, saying he was not aware of the developments in Washington DC as he had retired a long time ago.
Munter had claimed that the time has come for Pakistan to work on good governance and to “stop misappropriating funds allotted for socioeconomic development”.
Commenting on the subject, Fawad said, “Islamabad and Washington have cordial relations and the recent meetings between Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strengthened the ties between the two countries.”
Payments under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), he said, had been stopped a long time ago.
US FEELS IS ‘NON-SERIOUS’:
Former US diplomat Munter, who served in Pakistan between 2010 and 2012, was speaking at a local hotel in Karachi. He asserted that relations between the two countries have always followed uneven trajectories for the US feels “Pakistan does not want to cooperate with it in the war against terror”.
He claimed that Pakistan has been given funds for the development of education in Sindh and Balochistan, but “it hasn’t always used the money honestly”.
However, he added, US has always cooperated with Pakistan and wants strong ties between the two countries.
He asserted that there was hope in the US after former dictator Pervez Musharraf’s tenure that bilateral relations could be neutralised and the “misconception that the US always exploits Pakistan before disposing of it” could be done away.
In December 2018, US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking Islamabad’s support in securing a “negotiated settlement” to the war in Afghanistan.
The development comes as Washington steps up efforts to hold peace talks with the resurgent Taliban, more than 17 years after the invasion of Afghanistan.
In the letter, Trump said a settlement is “his most important regional priority”, the Pakistani foreign ministry stated.
“In this regard, he has sought Pakistan’s support and facilitation”, it continued.
The troubled relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan hit yet another bump in 2018 after Trump declared he had cancelled assistance worth hundreds of millions of dollars because Islamabad does not do “a damn thing” for the US.
PM Imran hit back at the criticism on Twitter, calling on the US president to name an ally that has sacrificed more against militancy.
On Friday, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Ali Jahangir Siddiqui, who served in Washington from May-Dec 2018, said in an interview that there is mistrust on both sides that needs to be unwound and that will take effort, whereby the leadership on both sides needs to be engaged by their respective diplomats and historical issues are discussed. “We can clear and put the last 20 years of history behind us,” he suggested.
Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, while speaking in a session on the US-Pakistan relationship at ThinkFest on Saturday, had commented that the US does not deserve that much importance as is given in Pakistan because the economy is not dependent on US aid, as is widely believed.