Significant strikes made in Pak-US ties in past two years: envoy

Says newly-formed SIFC facilitating investors in areas of direct interest to Americans.

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan has said that in the last about two years significant developments were made in the promotion of relations in different fields between Pakistan and the United States.

He was speaking at Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Tuesday. The ambassador said trade between the two countries was of vital importance, adding the US was Pakistan’s largest single-country export destination.

“Pakistan ranks as the 24th largest economy by purchasing power parity (PPP) and is the fifth most populous country, with a youthful demographic where 64 percent are below the age of 30, he added.

Ambassador Khan invited international partners to leverage Pakistan’s strategic economic position in West Asia, emphasizing ongoing structural economic reforms to capitalize on recent challenges as opportunities for growth and development.

He said Pakistan should be a meeting point, not a battleground for US and China. Both countries are most welcome to invest in Pakistan in the areas of their respective competencies and competitiveness.

He also shed light on Pakistan’s attractiveness for American investors, citing the presence of 80 American enterprises. 

He also said Pakistan’s Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) was now facilitating investors in areas of direct interest to Americans in IT, agriculture, energy and critical minerals.

He said these four areas have been prioritized by SIFC for fast-track foreign investment. Moreover, Pakistan has largest reserves of copper, gold, lithium, rare earth elements, magnesium and cobalt. 

Addressing geopolitical considerations, the Ambassador stressed the need for stability and cooperation in South Asia, advocating for a resolution of issues like Jammu and Kashmir through diplomatic means in accordance with international law.

He said that American decisions on the restoration for Pakistan of military sales and military financing and supply of critical equipment to keep the strategic balance and fight the raging threat of terrorism was being awaited.

Looking ahead, Masood Khan expressed optimism about the future of Pakistan-U.S. relations, highlighting ongoing dialogues across various domains and promising results.

At the end, the Ambassador thanked U.S. think tanks and experts who have advocated for stronger US-Pakistan relations steered by diplomacy and focused on continuity of security cooperation, regional stabilization and people-to-people exchanges.

Earlier, former ambassador Robin Raphel said that Pakistan would remain a country of consequence which the US should strive to understand and cultivate as a strong partner. She highlighted various challenges being faced by the country including economic issues and climate change that she opined needed to be addressed on priority.

During discussion session Senior Vice President of CSIS Daniel Runde suggested provision of greater opportunities to Pakistani students and also underscored the need for the US government to consider fulfilling Pakistan’s requirements for meeting its security needs.

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