Home Pakistan US hopes for ‘bright economic future’ for Pakistan

US hopes for ‘bright economic future’ for Pakistan

US and Pakistan share a rocking relation because of the regional security problems and the accusation upon Pakistan of financing the terror groups. US state department hopes for a better economic relationship between both the countries.

Pakistan

News Desk |

On Thursday, State Department Official for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G. Wells stated that Pakistan “underscored the importance and immediate need to halt terrorist activity in the region” in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.

In a written statement presented to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee for Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation on the subject of US interests in South Asia, Alice Wells put forward her arguments at heating for the US State Department’s budgetary request for South and central Asian regions for the fiscal year 2020.

US State Department official Alice Wells outlined country’s relationship with the US, “Our relationship with Pakistan remains one of our most complex and most consequential.”

The US diplomat stressed that Washington is more focused on building capacity to prevent nuclear proliferation and expanding US-Pak business ties through economic development.

Highlighting the Trump administrations strategy towards country, Wells underscored that Washington’s approach towards Pakistan has largely focused on “securing Islamabad’s support for the Afghan peace process” to make sure it fulfills its promises to “take sustained and irreversible actions against all militant groups operating from within its territory.”

On the matter of Pakistan’s assistance in the Afghan peace process, Wells noted, “We recognize that Pakistan has taken steps to encourage Taliban participation in peace negotiations, which has been important to the progress we have made thus far.” She added, “We expect Pakistan to continue to play a constructive role in reconciliation efforts.”

Non-Proliferation & Counterterrorism

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells stressed that Washington’s engagement with Islamabad on the issues of nonproliferation is a “crucial” matters and the two countries that committed to preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

However, she highlighted Washington’s reservations, “We remain concerned, however, about Pakistan’s development of certain categories of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.”

Read more: Turkey, Pakistan discuss counter terrorism efforts

Discussing the issue of counterterrorism, Alice G. Wells stated that in the wake of the Pulwama attack in February that stirred up tensions between Pakistan and India, Pakistan understood the importance to halt terrorist activities across the region.

She added, “We continue to urge Pakistan’s leaders to make good on their pledges to take sustained and irreversible actions against terrorist groups operating within the country’s borders, which is necessary for the long-term stability and prosperity of the region.”

Commending Pakistan’s efforts against terror-facilitators and proscribed organizations, Alice Wells underscored, “In recent months, we have seen Pakistan detain some militants and seize assets belonging to front organizations raising funds for terrorist groups. While these steps are important, they are still reversible.”

Ambassador Wells concluded that Washington seeks a more “robust” US-Pakistan partnership that holds a “bright economic future” if Pakistan can fulfill its promises to promote Afghan peace and eradicate terrorism.

The US State Department official for South and Central Asia stressed that Islamabad must sustain and expand upon these efforts by “prosecuting terrorist leaders”. She claimed, “The reality is that terrorist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) will continue to pose a grave risk to international peace as long as they are able to operate freely in Pakistan.”

Referring to Washington’s success in designating JeM leader Masood Azhar as a terrorist under the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee, US Diplomat Wells stated that this decision sends a crucial message that the international community will “not tolerate terrorism”.

Alice Wells stressed that sustained progress on the issues of reconciliation and counterterrorism lies at the heart of a renewed US-Pakistan bilateral relationship.

US-Pak Trade Worth $6.6 Billion

Underlining the importance of the US-Pakistan relationship in welcoming regional stability and economic prosperity, US diplomat Alice Wells announced that bilateral trade between the two countries has reached an all-time high with figures exceeding $6.6 billion.

She said, “U.S. exports to Pakistan rose four percent to $2.9 billion, also an all-time high, and the trade deficit sunk to two percent, or $782 million.”

Read more: Pakistan set to welcome economic stability by July 2019: PM Imran Khan

Wells informed the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee for Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation that US has managed to increase its soybean exports to Pakistan from $0 in 2014 to $689 million in 2019. She noted, “Pakistan’s market of more than 200 million people, including a growing middle class, provides ample opportunities for U.S. trade and investment in Pakistan to grow further.”

No Funding for Pak Army

While submitting the formal request to the panel on the State Department’s 2020 budgetary requests for the South and Central Asian countries, Ambassador Alice Wells clarified that the request “does not include security assistance funding for Pakistan’s military.”

The US diplomat stressed that Washington is more focused on civilian assistance programming on certain key areas, including building capacity to prevent nuclear proliferation, enhancing law enforcement capacities to eradicate crime and terrorism, and expanding US-Pak business ties through economic development.

Outlining the agendas of the Trump administration with regards to budgetary demands for Pakistan, Alice Wells added that Washington seeks to facilitate Pakistan in treating communicable diseases, strengthening civil society movements, and protecting religious freedom.

Alice Wells added that the US agenda also includes “working with Pakistan to ensure that communities in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region are stable and cannot be used as a base by terrorists.”

Ambassador Wells concluded that Washington seeks a more “robust” US-Pakistan partnership that holds a “bright economic future” if Pakistan can fulfill its promises to promote Afghan peace and eradicate terrorism.

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