US wants strong democracy in Pakistan: State Dept

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The US has said it wants to see a strong democracy in Pakistan while warning that extremist groups pose enormous threat to Pakistan, and the US wants to find ways to work constructively with Islamabad to address these challenges, the State Department has said.
“We’re working together with Pakistan. We want to find ways that we can act jointly on our shared challenges. We continue to pursue those interests,” State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner told a regular press briefing. “As we’ve said many times, Pakistan is under enormous threat from extremist groups. We want to find ways to work constructively with them to address these challenges,” he said.
To a question, Toner said much of the US’ work in Pakistan was geared towards building the kind of institutions that would strengthen Pakistani democracy. “So we’re clearly – we want to see a strong democracy emerge in Pakistan that works side by side with the military, and that’s to the benefit of the Pakistani people moving forward,” he stressed. Asked if the US had the confidence that the current Pakistani regime had the capacity and the intent to meet all those challenges that it wanted them to, Toner said, “We do believe they’re capable of it, and certainly for our part, we’re willing to work with them to address those shared challenges.”
Stressing that the situation in South Asia was not a zero-sum game, Toner said the US backed the “constructive” partnership between India and Afghanistan despite Pakistan being none too happy about it.
“We need good, solid, constructive relations between all the countries of that region, all of them pulling in the same direction so that all countries can reap the economic benefits that good, sound relations will yield,” he said. “That’s certainly been the focus of some of our initiatives, including the New Silk Road,” he said when asked how the US sees the relationship between Kabul and New Delhi since Pakistan does not like India’s involvement in Afghanistan. “But also it’s important to emphasise that this is not a zero-sum game. We need all the countries of the region to work productively to harness the economic potential of that region,” Toner said.
Asked about the strategic partnership agreement between Afghanistan and India signed during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s recent visit to India, he said, “Again, these kinds of economic partnerships and the building of relations between these countries of the region we view as constructive.”
The official said he did not “have specifics on any role we might have played, except to say that” the US was “trying to promote a more constructive dialogue between these countries in the region”. “Again, it’s not a zero-sum game. It’s important that they all pull in the same direction,” he added. Asked about renewed tensions with Pakistan over its support to Haqqani network, Toner said, “As we’ve said many times, Pakistan is under enormous threat from extremist groups. We want to find ways to work constructively with them to address these challenges.”