ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday decided to skip the US-convened Democracy Summit taking place in Washington this week, saying it would engage with the US on a bilateral basis to encourage democratic values.

The virtual summit has been co-sponsored by the US Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on the theme of “Global Declaration of Mayors for Democracy”.

In a statement issued here, the Foreign Office said Pakistan values its friendship with the United States.

“Under the Biden Administration, this relationship has widened and expanded substantially. We remain committed to further solidifying this relationship for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region,” the statement said.

Responding to media queries regarding the invitation by the US to attend the Second Summit for Democracy, the Foreign Office spokesperson said Pakistan has not been part of the Summit process, which commenced in 2021 and required countries to make certain national commitments.

“The Summit process is now at an advanced stage and therefore, Pakistan would engage bilaterally with the United States and co-hosts of the Summit to promote and strengthen democratic principles and values and work towards advancing human rights and the fight against corruption,” said FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra.

“We are thankful to the United States and the co-host countries for inviting Pakistan to attend the Second Summit for Democracy being held on 29-30 March 2023,” she added.

As a vibrant democracy, she added, the people of Pakistan are deeply committed to democratic values and generations of Pakistanis time after time have upheld their faith in democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.

The FO spokesperson said that “we value our friendship with the United States. Under this Biden Administration, this relationship has widened and expanded substantially.”

The FO spokesperson said this month, the nation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Constitution which is the fountain of a democratic polity in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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