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By Our Correspondent

The Express Tribune

Published Date: Nov 17, 2015

Pakistan needs better ties with US, says Qazi

Opines killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan was lowest point in history of relationship.

ISLAMABAD:
A former ambassador has asked Pakistan to rationalise policies, improve governance and improve ties with the United States which has remained contingent.

“Pakistan needs to have better relations with the US, in view of its economic and military importance at global level,” former ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi said on Monday.

An odd tale of US-Pakistani ties

He was addressing a seminar on “Pak-US relationship in the changing world dynamics” organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

“Pakistan needs to rationalise policies, improve governance and ensure welfare of the people in order to improve its international position,” he said.

“US is an important country and is still world’s number one military and economic power with gross domestic product (GDP) around $18 trillion,” Qazi said.

The current dynamic of US-Pakistan relations

He said China was the only country followed by the US which has GDP of $9.24trillion, and has offered partnership with the US, while India was also improving its relationship with it, he added.

He said bilateral trade between China and India has reached $80 billion, while that between Pakistan and China is $12 billion.

The new Chinese generation knows India better than Pakistan due to software and information technology there, he added. He said Chinese businessmen preferred to go India instead of Pakistan, due to better business opportunities.

“Now we have an opportunity in the form of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” Qazi said, adding that both countries were strategic partners. Gwadar Port was becoming an important strategic port in the region, he said.

The vanilla visit

The former ambassador said Pakistan has no problem in relationship with US and China at the same time.

He said Pak-China cooperation in Gwadar and CPEC was worrying India which was trying to do trade through Chahbahar in cooperation with Iran.

Killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan by US special forces was lowest point in the history of this relationship, he said. After that the US forces actually attacked Pakistan’s post at Salala, which resulted in blockade of supply route to the US forces in Afghanistan, for several months.

“The US is global neighbour and having good relationship with it was a necessity rather than a policy option,” he said.  The relationship has been marred by putting India into the context, where Pakistan has always expected the US to exercise leverage in resolving Kashmir, he added.

An uncertain future

However, US military and economic cooperation with Pakistan was aimed at building bulwark, against the former Soviet Union, he said.

He said relations with China and the US were not mutually exclusive. China is having good relations with Pakistan, and at the same time it is improving relations with India, he said.