KARACHI: The webinar was held to reset US-Pakistan relations under the auspices of the Karachi Foreign Affairs Council (KCFR), while Moin Fudda, Member of the Board of Governors, KCFR, moderated the event.
Special Assistant to PM for National Security and Strategic Planning Moeed Yousuf said that the two countries are in a crucial relationship because of the changing dynamics, while focusing on peace in Afghanistan, in addition to partnerships rather than monetary assistance. He said for the Afghan peace process it was important to reach the finish line to control bilateral damage, also mentioning that Pakistan had no problem with the US-India partnership as long as there was objectivity and there was nothing negative being initiated by India. Cameron Munter, the former US ambassador to Pakistan, stated that Pakistan must engage the administration of US President-elect Biden from an early age to create a positive impression, with a focus on the economic and diplomatic fields. Quite a few staff in the US administration on Afghanistan affairs and other foreign policy will be willing to solve multilateral issues and there is a need to explore new business areas such as IT, etc., through private sector involvement. Dr Daniel Markey, senior research professor, John Hopkins University, USA, stressed that bilateral mechanisms need to be developed and new ways to be adopted. Dr Markey said the areas of opportunity were the pandemic response, climate change, clean energy and (Iran) nuclear diplomacy, while highlighting US-India relations, it would stem from India’s minority protection approach and strategic competition with China. He added that only a responsible approach can avoid future India / Pak crises and business relations need to be visited with new commercial venues by unleashing the power of youth in Pakistan and having partnerships and connectivity. In his analysis, Prof Huma Baqai, IBA Karachi, said President-elect Joe Biden had to walk tightly because he had to carry out damage control due to recent events under Trump’s presidency. There is a need to have a ‘new relationship’ with certain measures and Pakistan must not be paired with China. There are mismatches on certain strategic issues between the US and Pakistan, which need to be addressed and Pakistan should not be considered a ‘contingent partner’. In his closing remarks, the Chairman of the KCFR, Ikram Sehgal, said Pakistan wanted to have a neutral stance on the issue of KSA and Iran, and not consider Sunni and Shia differences as a matter of conflict.