Amb Ali Sarwar Naqvi Sb
Panelists for today’s session and worthy guests
I wish to extend to all of you a very warm welcome at Islamabad Policy Institute. I’m grateful to each of you for sparing time to join us for this discussion.
Many of those sitting around this table were present at the Conference on ‘Pakistan – United States Relations: The Way Forward’, which IPI organized last week. At the Conference we examined the state of Pakistan – United States relations ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in his key note, dwelt upon the agenda for the visit, while the experts who spoke at the event told us about what to expect from the trip.
Later, IPI issued a report on the Conference in which our team made few recommendations to the Pakistani leadership. The report also contained the proceedings of event.
At today’s roundtable discussion we would like to hear from panelists about their assessment of the visit.
We at IPI believe that the visit went as per expectations with lot of focus on Afghanistan. We could see Prime Minister Imran Khan getting a warm welcome at the White House. And we understand that the two sides were able to reach agreements on few things, mostly related to peace in Afghanistan. Importantly President Trump agreed to visit Pakistan.
All of this provides a good beginning for a new phase in the relations.
There was also talk about increasing bilateral trade, resumption of aid, and US helping in reducing tensions between Pakistan and India. President Trump offered his good offices in relation to a dialogue between Pakistan and India for resolution of Kashmir conflict. This clearly shows that US is ready to reciprocate Pakistan well for its help with regards to Afghanistan.
We, however, have a feeling that whatsoever President Trump offered to Prime Minister Imran Khan is subject to progress on Afghanistan. It is not unconditional. Just to cite one example the two sides agreed to a mechanism to monitor the understanding reached during the Summit. However, there is no resumption of high level bilateral dialogue, which could have provided a platform for a sustainable dialogue.
I would now leave it to the experts to further deliberate on this.
Thank you once again.