Pakistan attaches high importance to ties with US: PM responds to President Biden’s letter

  • Reiterates Islamabad’s desire to work with the US for global peace, security
  • Welcomes cooperation between two countries in energy sector, Green Alliance initiative

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday responded to President Joe Biden’s letter and reiterated Islamabad’s desire to work with the United States (US) for global peace and security, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

This week in the first top-level contact between the US and Pakistan during President Biden’s tenure in office, the US president assured Shehbaz Sharif of his administration’s full support in addressing the critical challenges facing the region, signifying a thaw in frosty US-Pakistan relations following the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan and the subsequent allegations by Pakistan’s former premier Imran Khan of a US conspiracy against his administration.

The US president’s outreach marked a notable shift from the previously perceived indifference, evident in the absence of direct communication with Khan’s government. The correspondence underscores a potential recalibration of bilateral relations, with the US president describing the partnership between the two countries’ people as “crucial for global and local security.”

In response to Biden’s letter, PM Shehbaz said that Islamabad attached “key importance” to its relations with the United States, noting that both countries were working together on important initiatives in the fields of energy, climate change, agriculture, health and education.

“Pakistan wants to work with the United States to achieve the shared objectives of global peace and security, and regional prosperity and development,” PM Shehbaz said in his letter, welcoming cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector and the Green Alliance initiative.

The Green Alliance framework seeks to promote renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and green transportation, and aims to create opportunities for economic growth and development in Pakistan by investing in sustainable infrastructure, innovation, and research and development.

In his letter, the US president had specifically mentioned of the Green Alliance initiative, saying his administration would continue to work with Pakistan for environmental improvement. Biden also spoke of sustainable agricultural development, water management and recovery from the devastating effects of the 2022 floods in Pakistan.

“The US will stand with Pakistan in facing the most critical challenges of the time and region,” Biden was quoted as saying in an official statement released by the Pakistani authorities on Friday. “Public health protection, economic growth and education for all are shared visions that will continue to be promoted together.”

He also expressed dedication to protecting human rights and promoting development together with Pakistan amid previous US concerns over freedom of speech and expression in the wake of social media disruptions in the South Asian country.

“The strong partnership established between the two nations will be strengthened,” Biden was quoted as saying.

On the other hand, after President Biden’s letter, political leaders and experts had noted that the US President did not greet PM Shehbaz on assuming power or winning the elections.

At a recent Congressional hearing, senior US diplomat Donald Lu had been asked whether Washington recognised the new government in Pakistan.

The question, posed by Representative Tim Burchett, was based on allegations of rigging and reports of irregularities in the recent February 8 elections. US lawmakers and the State Department have repeatedly called for a thorough probe into the claims, while Lu suggested that the Election Commission of Pakistan may want to “re-do” some of the contests.

However, in his response at the time, Lu had clarified that the “US does not go around recognising new governments”, rather it just worked with the regime in power at the time.

Last month, a cohort of US Democratic lawmakers had written to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging them to refrain from recognising the new government in Pakistan until allegations of election rigging were thoroughly investigated.

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