Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry delivered a lecture on the current state of Pakistan-U.S. relations at the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles earlier today.
Emphasizing the significance of strong ties between Pakistan and the United States, the Ambassador expressed the hope that both countries would be able to work together in future to achieve common objectives such as peace in Afghanistan.
Each time Pakistan and the U.S. had worked together, they had been able to benefit both countries.
On Afghanistan, the Ambassador reiterated that Pakistan wanted peace and stability in Afghanistan. Recent violence in Afghanistan and continued erosion of territorial hold indicated that the situation in the country was rapidly deteriorating.
In such circumstances, the Ambassador said it was unfair to blame Pakistan for strategies that did not work well in Afghanistan.
Instead, he believed that Pakistan and the U.S. must set aside their differences and continue to encourage the Afghan government and the militants towards political reconciliation. Relying solely on military strategy would never bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.
The Ambassador said that any militant safe havens had been eliminated from Pakistan, thanks to the remarkable sacrifice in blood and treasure as well as the success of military operations in the tribal areas conducted by Pakistani security forces in the last three years.
He added that relations between Pakistan and the U.S. had always been broad-based and multifaceted. Citing examples of cooperation in diverse areas such as trade, agriculture, energy, water, health and education, Ambassador Aizaz said that Pakistan has much to gain by working with the U.S. and vice versa. However, relations between the two countries must be based on mutual trust and mutual respect.
He observed that even when relations between both governments were under stress, people to people contacts and private sector engagements remained strong and robust.
During the Q&A session, the Ambassador responded to queries related to Pakistanís counterterrorism efforts, its relations with Afghanistan, Iran, India as well as the situation in South Asia.
To contextualize his lecture, the Ambassador shared an overview of the rapidly evolving geo-strategic and socio-economic situation that presented new challenges for which every country needs to be prepared.
Participants at the talk included faculty and students of USC and members of the Pakistani American community. Mr. Abdul Jabbar Memon, Consul General of Pakistan, Los Angeles also attended the event.