Pak struggles to pacify US

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Pakistan was among the four South Asian countries to have been invited to the summit by the Joe Biden administration…writes Hamza Ameer

 After declining to participate in the Democracy Summit on US’s invitation’ Pakistan has reached out to Washington to justify the reasons behind its refusal to be a part of it.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and shared Islamabad’s position regarding its decision.

Pakistan’s refusal was linked with China, which was not invited to the summit, making it difficult for Islamabad to give a positive nod to the invitation.

As per sources, Pakistan stayed away from the summit because China was not invited. The move was seen as US’s attempt to divide the world because invitation was extended to Taiwan but not China.

The US extended invitations to over 100 countries, including Pakistan, to participate in the virtual summit for democracy.

Pakistan was among the four South Asian countries to have been invited to the summit by the Joe Biden administration.

The decision to not attend the summit included internal consultation and detailed consultations with China, which was later confirmed as China appreciated Pakistan’s decision to skip the summit calling it “a real iron brother”.

While Pakistani officials refrained from associating its decision with China, but sources confirmed that Beijing’s opposition made Islamabad’s participation difficult.

The Pakistan Foreign Office maintains that it values its relationship with the US and desired to extend it further.

Qureshi’s attempt to speak to his US counterpart did not go as planned. Interestingly, his counterpart was not available and it was his deputy who had the telephonic conversation.

Pak Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese President Xi Jinping

As per details of the conversation, Qureshi maintained that Pakistan does not want to take sides in the power politics of big countries, adding that Islamabad desires to expand its ties with the United States beyond Afghanistan, a statement seconded by Sherman.

“This is a positive development. Pakistan had requested the US not to put it in a difficult situation as the country wanted to move away from geo-politics to geo-economics. The us can help us in achieving that transformation,” said Qureshi.

“We have told US that we want a productive relationship with all the countries. We believe that US is an important country and will remain so. Our relationship has seen many ups and downs but both countries benefit whenever they work together.”

Pakistan is in a difficult position with US and China, showing signs of a new cold war. Pakistan has strong ties with China, while on the other hand, it values its relationship with the US due to the influence Washington exercises over the international financial system, something that Islamabad look up to for its financial bailout.

Experts say that Pakistan’s snub to the US invitation can have serious repercussions and can undermine Islamabad’s position with the west in the coming days.

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