Pakistan Ambassador to the US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry met with US media persons from mainstream Print & Electronic media at the Embassy of Pakistan today. This was his first interaction with the US media and the event was very well attended by the representatives from CNN, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, USA Today, BBC, ABC, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, The Hill, Foreign Policy, Washington Diplomat, Wtop, National Public Radio, Reuters and Associated Press.
Ambassador Chaudhry extended warm welcome to the US correspondents and underscored the changing reality of a resurgent Pakistan. He informed that Pakistan evolved national consensus by taking all stakeholders on board before initiating Zarb-e-Azab (campaign against terrorism) which has yielded tangible results. At present, on-going operation Rad-e-Fasad is directed towards eliminating remnants of terrorists. There is a full ownership of the Government, Security forces and the People of Pakistan for such operations to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Ambassador remarked that the successful campaign against terrorism has reduced the terrorism related incidents significantly and has salutary effect on our economy. These successes have paved way for the economic turnaround in Pakistan as all the economic indicators have been showing upward trends.
While speaking about Pak-US bilateral relations, the Ambassador emphasized that Pak-US relations are of vital importance. These relations, spanning over 07 decades, had its highs and lows but these are marked with long standing partnership in various fields. Referring to the role of Pakistani American community, the Ambassador said that there are more than a million Pakistanis who are serving as a constructive bridge between the Pakistan and the US. At present, Pakistan & USA have multifaceted relationship as both the countries are working together under the umbrella of Six Working Groups in various fields including Education, Counter terrorism, Defence, Energy etc.
Commenting upon CPEC, Ambassador underscored that it would not only benefit Pakistan but the entire region will be affected positively. Pakistan's historic relations with China should not be seen as a zero sum game for any country.
While responding to a question on Afghanistan, Ambassador Chaudhry remarked that there was no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan. The only way out is to have an 'Afghan Led' and 'Afghan Owned' political solution to restore peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan are of crucial importance. The instability in Afghanistan has a spillover effect in the entire region including Pakistan being an immediate neighbour.
In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Chaudhry reiterated that Pakistan wants good neighbourly relations with India. Every time the dialogue process is halted, it eventually helps the terrorists/militants to have their way. It is imperative that Pakistan and India should engage in a meaningful dialogue and play a positive role for peace and stability of the region.