Ambassador Haqqani urges mutual respect for long-term Pakistan-US ties

Ambassador Husain HaqqaniWASHINGTON, June 22 (APP): Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States has said it is through demonstration of mutual respect that the two countries can forge a long-term relationship. “Both countries have their respective processes. We need to show respect for each other’s processes. We need to show respect for each other’s people and then develop a partnership that is long term,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani told The Washington Times in an interview.

The envoy noted that the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has some strengths and many challenges. “We are working on the challenges. I think what is needed is for the Americans to show patience to the emerging democratic process in Pakistan and understand that all the concerns you have about public opinion adherence to the rule of law…etc. in the context of the United States should also be applied to Pakistan.

“You cannot have the attitude that Pakistan should just do anything on demand whereas the American side while delivering anything for Pakistan has to go through a process.”

On America’s reputation in Pakistan, the ambassador said it is something that the U.S. has to work to change public opinion and to ensure that the Pakistani people feel the benefits of the U.S. Pakistani partnership.

It is a consistent phenomenon for several years that Pakistanis have not looked upon the United States as a reliable friend ever since the United States walked away from Pakistan in the aftermath of the war with the Soviets, Haqqani explained.

Questioned about value of the bilateral relationship, Ambassador Haqqani said the U.S. is Pakistan’s largest trading partner and a major supplier of sophisticated conventional weapons for Pakistan. “There are almost a million people of Pakistan living in the United States and above all we are both democracies committed to strengthening democracy around the world.”

Regarding Islamabad’s policy toward Afghanistan, the diplomat reaffirmed that Pakistan has always been supportive of the Afghan-led reconciliation process in that country. Pakistan would like to see a stable Afghanistan.

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