Trump aide foresees healthy Pak-US ties under new admin

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Pakistani American businessman, Sajid Tarar, who led a Muslim coalition for president-elect Donald Trump, says the United States and Pakistan would continue to enjoy close relations under the new administration.

“Pakistan’s geographical situation is such that it cannot be ignored. We have a border with China, we have a border with India. So geographically, demographically, it is vital for the new American administration to maintain a healthy relationship with us,” he said.

Tarar also noted that Pakistan has made some important strides towards combating terrorism and boosting democracy.

“We are not the same Pakistan anymore. Gen Raheel Sharif has done a wonderful job, has led 12,000 operations against terrorists, law and order has improved,” he said.

“The second democratic government (in succession) has almost fulfilled its tenure, which has helped to soften up our image. Our NADRA (National Database Registration Authority) is doing a wonderful job. Our passports are (machine) readable. And even if we become part of extreme vetting process, we will fuflill the responsibilities,” he said.

“As a matter of fact, it will improve our relationship—-I think when a businessman becomes an American president, I think, trade regulations will improve, Pakistan’s exports will improve, and I think, Pakistan will enjoy a healthy relationship (with the United States).”

The Maryland-based businessman revealed, during an interview, that he was working to form an advisory council that would work with the new administration to safeguard religious freedoms of American Muslims.

“What I am doing in the future, which I started during the campaign, is that we need to form an advisory council, bipartisan, from every city where a majority of Muslims are living,” he said.

Tarar, who is interested in performing “some role related to interfaith or Islamic outreach”, said he would be traveling to different cities and meet with groups and prospective candidate for their inclusion as members in the group.

“So, whenever any laws or regulations are under consideration, this advisory council can tell them what are the values of Islam or what are the cultural barriers are there so that they can listen and ensure that our religious freedom prevails.”

Tarar agreed that the Trump White House, like the Obama Administration, should continue to have a resident designated envoy for outreach to American Muslim communities in view of the ongoing challenges.