Pakistan hints at ‘new beginning’ in US-PAK relations


After a series of meetings with the top American officials, culminating with parleys, with the National Security Adviser LT GEN H R McMaster at the White House, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was confident that the two countries would make a “new beginning” in the U.S.-Pakistan relations after a two-year “stalemate”.

“We had a candid and productive meeting. I am optimistic that today’s meeting will mark a new beginning in relations between Pakistan and the United States, and the stalemate will end, and we will move forward in the mutual interest of the two countries,” Senator Dar said after an hour-long discussion with McMaster, and his aides.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Aizaz Chaudhry and a senior defense official at the embassy accompanied the finance minister, who has been holding conversations with US officials as special emissary assigned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on advancing relations with Washington under U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration. Dar also represented Pakistan at the annual World Bank-IMF Spring meetings in the previous week.

At Tuesday’s White House meeting, the two sides exchanged views on bilateral cooperation in defense and security areas in addition to the regional issues including Afghan stability, Pakistan-India relations and the longstanding Kashmir dispute. The two sides decided to engage on all issues including peace and stability in Afghanistan and follow up their discussions in the upcoming weeks.

Dar found the U.S. side “receptive” to Pakistan’s ideas for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The meeting with McMaster, an army general, who recently returned from a visit to South Asia, took place at a time when the Trump Administration is reviewing the Afghan policy and Islamabad is seeking a reset in its relations with the United States.

Afghanistan remains a high-stakes issue for the United States, which still has around 9000 troops in the country to assist the Afghan security forces in the face of multiple threats and challenges including severe governance issues.

In Dar’s words, Pakistan-U.S. relations, which were at the center of post-9/11 counterterrorism alliance and the fight against terror in Afghanistan-Pakistan regions, have been stalemated for over a year now.

The finance minister characterized his White House discussions as “positive” and “composite,” encompassing a range of subjects of interest to both Islamabad and Washington.

During the conversations, Dar raised the issue of cross-border terrorism from the Afghan side afflicting harm to Pakistan, which, he said, has borne the brunt of the menace with incalculable human and $ 110 million in economic losses.

“We have a strong commitment to not allowing anyone to use our soil against anyone else but other countries also have to make sure that they do not allow any elements to use their soil against Pakistan,” Dar told Pakistani journalists, while referring to a parliamentary resolution adopted in the wake of May 2011 Abbottabad U.S. special forces’ raid that decapitated Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Finance minister Dar also noted that Islamabad wants to forge strong ties with both, United States and China. He said that China has recently poured billions of dollars to crystallize a $ 54 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, amplifying expectations that Pakistan would become a hub of trade between China and the energy-rich Gulf and Central Asian regions.

Dar also answered the questions on the Supreme Court’s Panamagate verdict – a hot button issue in Pakistani politics revolving around corruption charges against Prime Minister Sharif – and said the issue had no bearing on his meetings in Washington. The finance minister also rejected the reports that he would somehow impact the working of the Joint Investigation Team, saying both the SBP (State Bank of Pakistan) and the SECP (Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan) are independent organizations and they do not need his nod for the nomination of their representatives to the JIT, that has been tasked by the Apex Court to further probe the charges against PM Nawaz Sharif.

Dar’s meeting with McMaster was followed by meetings with U.S. Treasury Secretary and top State Department officials. Dar told The Wall Street Journal that Islamabad wants the Trump administration to help resolve its decades-old conflict with India over the restive valley of Kashmir.

“There seems to be a little bit of a stalemate in the last couple of years,” Dar said.

“We need to remove any ambiguities that we have between each other as friends,” he added.

According to the Journal, despite the U.S. relations with Pakistan having been “complicated,” over the year, Washington still sees the South Asian country as critical to its efforts in Afghanistan as the Trump administration intensifies its attacks on Islamic State/Da’esh and the Taliban. According to unnamed officials, the U.S. is also reviewing its policy towards Pakistan.

While stressing the importance of ties, Dar also questioned the effectiveness of the U.S. strategy.

“Let’s face it, there hasn’t been great success from the operations in Afghanistan in the last decade-plus since 9/11,” he said. “You can’t find each one of the Taliban and kill them and then restart; it will take too long, maybe ages.”

Pakistan believes an “Afghan-owned, Afghan-led” political solution “is probably the ultimate solution,” finance minister explained.

“Obviously, we have to listen to the new side, the new administration, to see what their thoughts are,” he said.

“I’m sure the new administration will be looking into this. I think we need to sit together and see where the flaws are.”

Recounting Islamabad’s counterterrorism efforts, Dar said that Pakistan has launched massive military operations intended to clear out terror networks and fighters in the tribal areas, suffering a series of deadly terror attacks across the country. Besides expanding those operations, the government is bolstering its border security, including fencing at critical crossing points, he said.

“We are very keen to contribute whichever way we can to support this peace effort,” he commented on the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan.

On the festering Kashmir conflict, Dar said, “we expect the U.S. as a common friend. U.S. should facilitate peaceful settlement of the dispute, in accordance with the U.N. resolutions as soon as possible.”


  1. Here we go another Green Flag for Zionists to start their activities to destabilize Pakistan.
    I wonder how many useless Dollars Ishaq Dar received for selling Pakistan again?

  2. US has nothing to do with Pakistan, it was just a third party security company in the fight against Taliban which Pakistan itself gave birth to draw AIDS and attention
    As far as being Zionist is concerned they got their share of plight, its now turn of Muslims particularly Muslim converts of Pakistan

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