AFTER a diplomatic spat with the US over contents of a telephonic conversation that the American Secretary of State had with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan, on Tuesday, softened its tone by announcing that every effort would be made to consolidate relations with the United States. Speaking in the Senate, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi emphasised that the conversation was very cordial, engaging and constructive in nature.
It is good that better sense has prevailed ahead of the visit of Michael Pompeo, which offers an opportunity to sort out irritants and move on with the spirit of mutually beneficial cooperation. We must not go for knee-jerk reactions when it comes to bilateral relations with important countries of the globe. Pakistan and the United States have a history of cooperative engagement, which can and should continue as none of them could afford complete separation in view of geo-strategic and regional security scenario. There are issues that can be addressed in a better manner if the two countries continue constructive engagement. Irrespective of who is right and who is wrong, it is always advisable not to do diplomacy through media and playing to the galleries. There are diplomatic norms and decent ways to convey grievances and complaints to each other and these worked in the past and there is no reason why they should not work now.
It has all along been desire of Pakistan to concentrate on its economy but the objective cannot be realised without regional peace and security. The United States has a critical role in restoration of peace and stability in the region especially because of its effective presence in Afghanistan and growing clout in neighbouring India. Similarly, the United States is the largest trading partner of Pakistan and the objective of boosting exports and improving the economy are directly linked to continued cooperation between the two countries. However, while doing all this, core national interests must not be compromised and the relationship should be based on the principle of sovereign equality.