ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday expressed the desire to further deepen bilateral relations with the United States based on shared interests, three days after Islamabad skipped Summit on Democracy hosted by US President Joe Biden.

The desire was expressed by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, while talking to a four-member delegation of the US Senate at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The delegation included Senators, Angus King, Richard Burr, John Cornyn, and Benjamin Sasse, according to a statement of the Foreign Office.

Welcoming the Senate delegation to Pakistan, the foreign secretary underscored that Pakistan valued its long-standing relationship with the United States and wanted to further deepen bilateral ties based on shared interests.

He emphasized that deeper engagement between the two countries was pivotal for peace, security and development in the region.

Highlighting Pakistan’s pivot to geo-economics, the foreign secretary emphasised that Pakistan welcomed enhanced bilateral trade and greater investments from the US. He hoped that the US companies would reap dividends from Pakistan’s emerging market status.

He briefed the senators on the serious humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and underscored that the international community must help the Afghan people avert the crisis through immediate support and financial assistance.

In this regard, he stressed the importance of release of Afghanistan’s frozen financial resources. The foreign secretary also apprised the visiting delegation about Pakistan’s efforts to mobilise international support through multiple regional and international mechanisms and mentioned, in this context, the Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers being hosted in Islamabad.

The foreign secretary also briefed the delegation about unabated gross human rights violations against the Kashmiris in the IIOJK and underscored that the US Congress must play its due role in this regard.

The senators, acknowledging the importance of long-standing Pakistan-US ties, affirmed the desire to further strengthen the bilateral relationship in its myriad dimensions, stated the statement, adding the Senators appreciated Pakistan’s role in the evacuation of US nationals and others post-15 August 2021 and stressed the importance of closer cooperation to support the objectives of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

All four senators are members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, while Senator King is also a member of the Senate Armed Services committee.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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