PAKISTAN and the US now appear to be more determined to reset their relationship and this is visible from their recent engagements. This will be a welcome development if they really manage to put relations on a positive trajectory and build them through trust and understanding.
The visit of US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells to Islamabad and her talks at the Foreign Office as well as with Finance Minister Asad Umer bears significance as this has come after the meeting of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi with his American counterpart Mike Pompeo on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. This interaction definitely will have provided an opportunity to both the sides to take forward matters and remove irritants. Ever since the PTI government has assumed office, it has tried to convince the US side to see Pakistan not only in the context of Afghanistan but also promote relations in different fields for which different working group also exists. According to the hand out issued by the Foreign Office on Tuesday, Pakistani side during talks with Alice emphasised the need to diversify relationship with particular focus on enhanced trade and economic cooperation and people to people contacts. Indeed this will help both the sides to remove existing misunderstanding.
In fact Pakistan has never wanted to deteriorate its relations with Washington rather it has always pursued the course of dialogue to remove irritants in relations. To move forward, it is important that the US side also listens to our concerns and apprehensions, instead of repeating the mantra of doing more that has only struck up this relationship and only stoked anti-American sentiments amongst Pakistani people. Being a major player in world politics, the US side needs to act with more maturity rising above any expediency while taking steps that could help make this world a real cradle of peace. In this context, the US offer that it is ready to play positive role in Pak-Afghan water issues is highly positive. Given the influence it enjoys on New Delhi, we also expect the US side to push India to engage with Pakistan in a meaningful dialogue for resolution of outstanding disputes including Jammu & Kashmir as well as those related to water.