Pakistan wants balanced ties with US: FO

Islamabad: Pakistan wants objective, more balanced and broad-based relationships with the United States in the interest of the sovereignty and the political independence of both the countries, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said Thursday.

Responding to a question during his weekly news briefing in Islamabad, he said we need a relationship that takes into account the interests of both the countries.

He said the two countries have many shared interests as Pakistan-US cooperation is a major factor of stability in South Asia.

Regarding remarks of some US lawmakers during Congressional hearings, Asim Iftikhar said such statements do not reflect the official position of the United States. He, however, said these views are inconsistent with the reality of the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and the United States, especially on Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan and the United States are maintaining high-level of engagements on a broad range of bilateral and regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan looks forward to the visit of US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and a host of issues will be discussed during her visit.

Responding to a question about human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the Spokesperson said this issue will also be raised with the US Deputy Secretary of State. He said being the permanent member of the UN Security Council, the United States has special responsibility in addressing the grave concerns about the human rights violations in IIOJK.

Answering another question regarding Indian military leadership’s remarks against Pakistan, Asim Iftikhar said India is pursing hostile policies toward Pakistan and such statements are actually aimed at diverting attention of the international community from grave human rights violations in the IIOJK and the treatment meted out to minorities in India. As far as preparedness, Pakistan has all the capabilities and the national resolve, together with the armed forces, to respond to any misadventure by India, he said.

About the problems being faced by Pakistani students’ return to China, the Spokesperson said Pakistan and China have robust bilateral cooperation, including people-to-people contacts and exchanges in the field of education. He said China is a major destination for Pakistani students. He said over 28,000 Pakistani students are currently studying in China and Pakistan is one of the biggest recipients of Chinese scholarships.

Asim Iftikhar said the two countries attach great importance to the wellbeing and the continued education of Pakistani students. He said we believe that these students are our asset for our time-tested friendship and a bridge between our two countries. He said China and Pakistan are constantly engaged in resolving the issue of return of Pakistani students to China and this matter has been discussed at various levels with the Chinese authorities. He said we understand the measures taken by china to curtail the spread of the virus and we are also exploring the possibility of addressing the issues of research, lab work and scholarships with relevant Pakistani and Chinese authorities and institutions. He, however, urged Pakistani students, enrolled in Chinese educational institutions to continue attending their online classes.