CALIFORNIA, : Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has said that Pakistan and the United States must work together to eliminate terrorism in the region.
In an interview with Los Angeles Times the Ambassador expressed concern over current stress in relations between the two countries.He said that both the US and Pakistan have worked together for 70 years and need to find common ground for achieving shared objectives.
Referring to President Trump’s tweet, the Ambassador said that the relationship should not be categorized and people felt humiliated and there was a big public outrage.
He said we think there is still enough work to be done by Pakistan and the United States, particularly to stabilize Afghanistan and eliminate terrorism from our region.
To a question, he said that Pakistan has come a long way in defeating terrorism and we are pushing them away as a result the law-and-order situation has drastically improved.
The Ambassador said security situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating which is a great cause of concern for Pakistan. He pointed out that all our gains against terrorism will be at risk if Afghanistan does not stabilize.
The Ambassador pointed out that this time around, unfortunately, the United States and Pakistan have begun to focus more on what divides them, rather than on what unites them. And that’s something that we hope will change.
“The way it is being perceived in Pakistan is that we are being scapegoated for failure in Afghanistan . We are the bogeyman. [But] we don’t think that anyone from our intelligence would support elements who would kill their own children. That’s not acceptable to anyone of us . We don’t like the Taliban and the Haqqani. We do not want them in our land. They should be participating in the political mainstream in Afghanistan .
What should the U.S. be doing to engineer a political solution in Afghanistan , the ambassador remarked.
He said to say that all this mess is because Pakistan is providing some safe haven to some Taliban is an oversimplification of the quagmire called Afghanistan . We need to take a more holistic picture than just scapegoating our country.
Aizaz Chaudhry said it would be a pity if the United States and Pakistan pick up a bilateral fight rather than what is clearly a joint undertaking of shared interest in stabilizing Afghanistan and bring peace there.
Asked how concerned are you that the U.S. might take unilateral action and carry out a strike against the Taliban in Pakistan, Aizaz Chaudhry said: “I would strongly advise not to do that. Pakistan and the United States have worked together. They have been partners. Already when Trump’s indignities were thrown at the Pakistani people there was big commotion. But the government decided to give a very restrained and measured response because we didn’t want anti-Americanism to spread in Pakistan”.
He said our channels of communication are open. We are talking every day. But the conversations of the type that were happening during the previous administration, they’re not going on. It is important these conversations are continued and upgraded. Rupture, in my view, is not an option. It would be equally injurious to the U.S. and to Pakistan.
Earlier in a lecture at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry emphasised the significance of strong ties between Pakistan and the United States, and expressed the hope that both countries would be able to work together in future to achieve common objectives such as peace in Afghanistan .
The Ambassador said that any militant safe havens had been eliminated from Pakistan, thanks to the remarkable sacrifice in blood and treasure as well as the success of military operations in the tribal areas conducted by Pakistani security forces in the last three years.
During the Q&A session, the Ambassador responded to queries related to Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, its relations with Afghanistan , Iran, India as well as the situation in South Asia.
To contextualize his lecture, the Ambassador shared an overview of the rapidly evolving geo-strategic and socio-economic situation that presented new challenges for which every country needs to be prepared.
Participants at the talk included faculty and students of USC and members of the Pakistani American community.