Pakistan seeks relationship with US beyond regional security dynamics

Pakistan is seeking a bilateral relationship with the new Biden administration that goes beyond the “US’s regional interests in the countries”, said Moeed Yousuf, the special assistant to Pakistan’s prime minister on national security

Jan 23, 2021
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Pakistan is seeking a bilateral relationship with the new Biden administration that goes beyond the “US’s regional interests in the countries”, said Moeed Yousuf, the special assistant to Pakistan’s prime minister on national security. 

In his address to the Washington-based think tank Wilson Centre, Yousuf sought to sell an idea of a bilateral relationship that goes beyond the US’s regional security interests. For almost two decades, especially after 9/11, the bilateral relationship between the two countries mainly dominated by the US’s security and counter-terrorism interests in the region. 

“ In the past, Pakistan was unfortunately seen through the Afghanistan prism...Pakistan is talking about becoming a geo-economic melting pot that is ready to consolidate global positive interest in our territory. We are talking about providing the world with economic-bases, not military-base,” Moeed said in the discussion titled “US-Pakistan Relation in Biden Era”. 

He said Pakistan wanted a relationship that was not hyphenated or clouded by the US’ interests in the other regional countries but was based on “mutual understanding.” 

During the Trump presidency, the relationship between the two countries has gone through two phases - first, when Trump cut off all aid to Pakistan and publicly admonished it for doing nothing to address the threat of terrorism; second, when both nations cooperated well to pave way for the Afghan Peace Process.

But even in the latter phase, the relationship didn’t go well beyond cooperation in the Afghan conflict, with the only exception of Trump offering mediation in the Kashmir dispute on few occasions. 

Significantly, the US had also downgraded its diplomatic engagement with Pakistan to the Assitant Secretary of State level. 
 
Yousuf’s words also hinted at Pakistan’s desire to decouple the US-Pakistan relationship from the US-India relationship. On Pakistan backed  terrorism in India, the US has constantly been putting pressure on Pakistan to rein in terror outfits that operate freely in Pakistan. 

“Pakistan of today is very different, said the special assistant, adding further, “The terrorism in Pakistan is negligible. We have turned the corner.” 

About India he suggested that the country was destabilizing the region and fast becoming a liability to anyone dealing with it, including the United States. 
 
He alleged "we are dealing with a totally different India; an India which is intolerant, has serious internal tensions, human rights concerns, and is taking unilateral decisions, including in Kashmir".