Saturday Jan 09, 2021
ISLAMABAD: As Joe Biden is set to take oath as the new president of the United States in less than two weeks, Pakistan has called a high-level meeting to review its ties with the US.
According to The News, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Dr Asad Majeed Khan has returned to Islamabad for the high-level moot.
Diplomatic sources told the publication that Pakistan will act cautiously in dealing with President-elect Joe Biden’s administration as they have a good idea about Pakistan and South Asian affairs.
However, Pakistan is hoping that the new president will adopt a pragmatic approach towards Pakistan-India ties.
Interestingly, the last Democratic administration had de-hyphenated its relationship with Pakistan from India but later declared Pakistan as its non-NATO ally; a position that it rarely attaches with the countries that stood by the United States and opted to develop a distance from it subsequently.
Afghanistan will continue to remain an interest for the United States vis-a-vis its relations with Pakistan. The peace process in Afghanistan that was initiated by the outgoing US administration through hectic efforts is still far from a complete success.
The Taliban leadership that entered the peace process skilfully slowed down the process and didn’t allow Americans to make gains at their behest. The Biden administration will likely continue to follow the Afghan peace process, but more prudently, the sources said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Dr Asad Majeed has briefed the concerned authorities in the twin cities about the possible stance that can be expected from the new administration towards Afghanistan.
Sources say that Pakistan’s nuclear programme has been a concern for the US policymakers’ but they argued that presidents’ from the Democratic party have traditionally attached less significance to the issue.
Pakistan’s envoy to the United States Dr Majeed will brief the officials about the policies that may be pursued by the incoming administration in Washington. Interestingly, outgoing US President Donald Trump had developed a personal rapport with Prime Minister Imran Khan and both used to refer to each other in talks.
On the other hand, President-elect Biden has dealt with multiple Pakistani leaders, including former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif, Yousaf Raza Gillani, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and former president Asif Ali Zardari.
It is expected that Prime Minister Imran Khan will want to create an opportunity at the earliest to have a meeting with Biden.
Meanwhile, defence experts are attaching significance to the visit of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa to Bahrain where he is held significant meetings.
Interestingly, the US Centcom headquarters is situated close to Bahrain and a US defence delegation is also visiting Pakistan these days.