Wednesday Jan 20, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday congratulated US President Joe Biden on his inauguration and said he looks forward to building stronger US-Pak ties.
"I congratulate President JoeBiden on his inauguration. Look forward to working with POTUS in building a stronger Pak-US partnership through trade and economic engagement, countering climate change, improving public health, combating corruption and promoting peace in region and beyond," the prime minister wrote in a message on Twitter.
Biden, 78, became the oldest US president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington that was largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the coronavirus and security concerns following the January 6 assault on the US Capitol by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
With his hand on a five-inch thick heirloom Bible that has been in his family for more than a century, Biden took the oath of office administered by US Chief Justice John Roberts that binds the president to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
"Through a crucible for the ages, America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge," Biden said in his inaugural address. "Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause: the cause of democracy...At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed."
Meanwhile, Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, became the highest-ranking woman in US history and the first person of color as the nation's number two.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan cannot be ignored and strongly believes that no administration can ignore the country.
The foreign minister, while speaking to Geo Pakistan, said that a new world is being established out of which new priorities are coming forward. He added that Pakistan and the incoming US administration have a lot of “commonalties”.
“Challenges will be there. I’m not saying they won’t be there. We have to face the facts, but I believe Pakistan has a lot to offer,” said Qureshi, adding that Pakistan is an important country of the region.
“Pakistan cannot be ignored and I do think that that no administration will ignore Pakistan,” said Qureshi.
To a question about what Pakistan expects, Qureshi said the people being nominated by President-elect Joe Biden are those who know about Pakistan. He also shared that he had the opportunity to work with them when the Democrats were in power last.
“They understand the region very well,” remarked Qureshi.
The foreign minister told the hosts that Biden, during his time as a senator, was a “well-respected” member of the foreign relations committee.
“He has a very clear opinion about Pakistan and South Asia,” said Qureshi. He also mentioned that Pakistan and the US have a convergence of interest in Afghanistan.
“There are many areas where the Imran Khan government and Biden government have a common interest,” said Pakistan’s top diplomat. He shared the examples of climate change and the COVAX initiative.
The foreign minister, when asked about US-India ties, said that the incoming administration will help Pakistan in providing relief to the people in occupied Kashmir.
“There is one silver lining which is that this administration has a clear point of view on human rights,” said Qureshi while mentioning the “deteriorating” human rights situation in occupied Kashmir.
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The foreign minister said that Pakistan is expecting the incoming administration to help Islamabad in “providing relief” to the Kashmiris from the military siege in occupied Kashmir.
— Additional input from AFP and Reuters