ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reaffirmed the importance of collaboration with the US and India on Tuesday, promising Beijing that relations will be deepened further.
In response to a White House statement on Mr Sharif’s appointment as Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office said, “The new administration aspires to work constructively and positively with the US to pursue shared goals of peace, security, and development in the region.”
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, previously stated that a democratic Pakistan was essential to US interests.
After Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the US of plotting to destabilise his government, relations between Islamabad and Washington reached a new low. He made his claim based on a diplomatic cable in which a State Department official was believed to have warned of negative ramifications for bilateral ties if the no-confidence motion failed.
The claim has been refuted by Washington.
One of the new government’s major foreign policy initiatives would be to mend wounds with the United States.
Mr Sharif observed “confusion” in relationships after his election in the National Assembly, but insisted that this did not mean the historic friendship was over.
The same was said in a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, which welcomed the United States’ reaffirmation of long-standing connections with Pakistan and stated that the new government hoped to deepen this “vital partnership” based on equality, common interest, and mutual benefit.
Other leaders’ messages
Meanwhile, in response to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s congratulatory tweet, Mr Sharif emphasised the need of maintaining peace and focusing on the people’s socioeconomic development.
“Pakistan wishes to maintain peaceful and constructive relations with India. “Peaceful resolution of unresolved problems, notably in Jammu and Kashmir, is essential,” he added.
PM Sharif emphasised his government’s commitment to further deepening the win-win economic cooperative partnership between the two nations when she met with the Charge d’ Affaires of the
People’s Republic of China, Ms Pang Chunxue.
He highlighted his government’s determination to expedite the high-quality development of CPEC projects and turn them into a symbol of friendship and close partnership between China and Pakistan. He also emphasised the significance of more Chinese investment in manufacturing, agriculture, and digital technologies.
Mr Sharif was also met by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian embassy in Pakistan hoped that the new government will “help to the future growth of Pakistan-Russia cooperation and partner interaction on the Afghan settlement as well as against international terrorism,” according to a statement.
The United States’ strategy
A journalist asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about the administration’s reaction to the fresh developments in Pakistan during a Monday afternoon news briefing in Washington. “Does President Biden intend to meet with the new Prime Minister of the United States?”
Ms. Psaki replied to the first half of the question by saying that the US “supports the peaceful upholding of constitutional democratic ideals.” We don’t favour one political party over another, but we do believe in the rule of law and equal justice under the law.”
“We value our long-standing collaboration with Pakistan, and have always seen a wealthy and democratic Pakistan as essential to US interests,” she added, recalling that the US and Pakistan were ancient allies. Regardless of who is in charge, this remains unchanged.”
She stated she didn’t “have anything to predict at this point in time” when asked about President Biden calling the incoming Prime Minister. We obviously keep in touch with them on a variety of levels.”
A third journalist took a different tactic, asking the White House Press Secretary for more information about Mr Biden’s call. “What mechanisms does the government have in place to contact him (Mr Sharif) and how is that proceeding?” he inquired.
“At this moment in time, I don’t have a call prediction.” Obviously, those are day-to-day judgments, particularly once new leaders are elected,” Ms Psaki added.
“We have a long, strong, and abiding friendship with Pakistan, as well as a vital security partnership,” she continued.