New York: After a period of diplomatic chill in bilateral ties under the Imran Khan government, the United States renewed its high-level political engagement with Pakistan, with secretary of state Antony Blinken reaching out to Pakistan’s new foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari with the desire to strengthen the bilateral relationship.
“The Secretary underscored the resolute US-Pakistan commitment to Afghan stability and combating terrorism, ” the US state department said in a statement after the call. “The Secretary and Foreign Minister also highlighted ongoing engagement on trade and investment, climate, energy, health and education.”
Highlighting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, the state department said it was looking forward to “strengthening our cooperation”. The Pakistani foreign minister, who is also the chairman of the Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP), said in a post on Twitter that he was grateful for Blinken’s warm felicitations. They exchanged views on “strengthening mutually beneficial, broad based relationship” and “promotion of peace, development and security” and agreed that “engagement with mutual respect is the way forward”, he added.
A Pakistani foreign ministry statement said Blinken had invited Pakistan for both the Second Covid Global Summit to be held virtually later this month, and a ministerial meeting on Global Food Security to be held in New York on May 18.
“The Foreign Minister emphasized that Pakistan’s vision was focused on human development, regional connectivity, and a peaceful neighborhood,” the statement added.
Blinken’s call comes amid allegations from former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan of an American plot to oust him from office, the centre-piece of his political campaign. Washington has consistently denied any role in Pakistan’s internal processes which saw the opposition come together to vote out Khan in a no-confidence motion last month after Khan’s attempts to block the vote were foiled by the judiciary and, reports indicate, the army.