CHICAGO, Pakistan: Pakistan-US relations are on an upward trajectory following Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s October visit to Washington, a senior Pakistani diplomat told a gathering of academics.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Pakistan-US Relations in the Context of Regional Politics’ at the Center for South Asian Studies of the University of Michigan, Consul General Faisal underscored the need for greater people-to-people and commercial contacts between the two countries and hoped that bilateral trade between the two countries, which stand at nearly 6 billion, would rise to 12 billion annually.
Tirmizi told the audience that Pakistan’s had played a part in United States’ two major foreign policy achievements — opening of US relations with China and in defeating communism.
The Pakistani diplomat highlighted Pakistan’s help in defeating extremism in the region, and said there was no ISIS footprint in Pakistan. At the same time, he warned that continued instability in the region would only help the militant networks’ cause.
Referring to Pakistan’s initiative in facilitating the first direct contact between the Afghan government and Taliban in July this year, he said forces inimical to peace in Afghanistan and the region created a situation that had stalled the resumption of the talks.
About Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the consul general said that his country was compelled to launch a nuclear programme following the 1974 nuclear blast by India.
Tirmizi said there was an immense economic and commercial potential in Pakistan; the per capita income of nearly five thousand dollars in terms of purchasing power, a middle class of 50 million and an enormous workforce of under the 30-year age bracket.
Pakistan’s rating both by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s had improved, and said that the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) had become one of the world’s best, with 25% return on US dollar during the last five years.