SEVEN decades of Pak-US ties have been marked both by cordiality and mistrust. Since assumption of power by Donald Trump, relationship between the two countries continue to be on the downward slide yet recent engagements between the two sides appeared to be positive as there was no demand of do more from the other side when Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met his American counterpart for the second time in Washington.
Now the US special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held talks with Pakistani leadership on the Afghan reconciliation at the Foreign Office on Tuesday. During talks the two sides agreed to continue cooperation on Afghan reconciliation process. Undoubtedly, this is the way forward to find politically negotiated solution of the decades’ long conflict in the war-torn country in which both Pakistan and the US have to play an important role and they only can do so if they engage more frequently and deeply on the issue. Currently there are irritants in relationship and these are marred by mistrust due to issues in Kabul yet we understand that time has come that the US stop seeing Pakistan only in the perspective of its role in Afghanistan.
On Pakistan-US relations, Islamabad Policy Research Institute organised a special seminar in the Capital on Tuesday in which former foreign secretaries and ambassadors rightly emphasised the need of building Pak-US relationships that transcends security centric approach to economic cooperation. Such a multidimensional level cooperation indeed will not only help reduce trust deficit but also enable the two countries to build a strong partnership for the cause of greater regional peace and security. Besides discussing and making forward movement on Afghan reconciliation, we will urge both sides to discuss cooperation in various sectors. The US is a major trading partner of Pakistan with trade between the two countries hovering around $6b. Both the countries should work towards reactivating the working groups established under strategic framework and explore avenues of cooperation in different fields.