Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry delivered a talk on Pakistan-U.S. relations at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) last night. The event was arranged by the Center for India and South Asia of UCLA.
In his remarks, the Ambassador highlighted the importance of having good relations between Pakistan and the United States which have historically seen highs and lows in the last 70 years.
Both countries had benefited whenever they had worked together. Therefore, it was imperative that they continue to work together to secure peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, despite strained ties due to divergent approaches.
He emphasized that although Pakistan desired good relations with the U.S., it cannot be scapegoated for the failures of others in Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan was in Pakistan’s own interest. However peace would remain elusive by the pursuit of a purely military solution. Political reconciliation was the only option to move forward.
The Ambassador said that there were no safe havens in Pakistan today, thanks to the remarkable 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 and they could not be held hostage to the situation in Afghanistan. Drifting away from each other would not be in the interest of either country.
He expressed the hope that even if relations between both governments were under stress, people to people contacts and private sector engagements remained strong and robust.
In the Q&A session, the Ambassador responded to queries related to Pakistan’s relations with the U.S., China, Afghanistan, India and the situation in Central Asia as well as South Asia.
Earlier he gave an overview of the evolving global geo-strategic and socio-economic trends which were redefining international relations.
Faculty members and students of UCLA as well as local Pakistani American community representatives attended the event.