ISLAMABAD, OCT 4 – A webinar on ‘The US & Pakistan: Politics, Diplomacy and Economics under the Next Administration’was organised by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), in collaboration with the Association of Pakistani Americans.
The webinar was attended by senior members of PAK PAC, AP PAC, American-United PAC, Kashmir Solidarity Council, Pak-America Business Forum, Crescent Foundation, and ICNA Relief, amongst others.
While providing a brief overview, Mr Nadeem Zaman, President, Association of Pakistani Americans pointed out that since the US Presidential Elections are around the corner, it is important to discuss the diplomatic, economic, and political aspects of the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship and its future under the next administration.
In his Opening Remarks, Air Chief Marshal (Retd) Kaleem Saadat, President CASS highlighted that in view of US-China rivalry and US pivot to India, Pakistan will need to maintain a balance between its two vital partners.
Ambassador (R) Jalil Abbas Jilani, CASS Director on Foreign Policy, said that Pakistan needs to maintain cordial relations with both Washington and Beijing. He added that while CPEC is a manifestation of China’s support to Pakistan, the US is equally important for the latter’s economic well-being since it is a major trading partner and export destination for Pakistani goods.
He also pointed out that not only has Pakistan proved to be an invaluable partner in the intra-Afghan dialogue, it is also in a position to act as a bridge between the US and China; and between Iran and the US.
Dr Usman Chohan, CASS Director on Economic Affairs and National Development highlighted that the Government of Pakistan, unlike that of the US, took the COVID pandemic very seriously through a national coordination mechanism between the centre and provinces, along with both civil and military expertise and manpower. ‘Policies such as smart lockdowns and widespread public messaging further curtailed the virus’ onslaught, and reflected the sobriety with which the government mobilised, despite its resource constraints’, he shared.
On the issue of FATF, Dr Chohan clarified that Pakistani ‘suspicious activity reports (SARs)’ amount to $2.5 million out of more than $2 trillion – a tiny drop in the ocean, and begs the question of why Pakistan is constantly singled out for the FATF’s grey list and possible blacklisting.
He was of the view that regional and global connectivity projects like BRI and CPEC are progressive and bring hope for a more inter-connected world.