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In letter to PM Shehbaz Sharif, Biden says US ‘will work with Pakistan’ for regional security & counter-terrorism efforts

Islamabad, March 30: In a first official communication, US President Joe Biden has broken with tradition and has written a letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, expressing readiness to work together for regional peace and counter-terrorism efforts.

Biden, who till Friday, has carried a tradition of not engaging with any of the Prime Minister in Pakistan during his tenure, has not only reached out to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif but effectively has also put forward the lens through which US looks at its relationship with Pakistan along with expectations from the new government in Islamabad.

The US President emphasised the sensitivity and critical nature of “pressing global and regional challenges,” assuring Islamabad that it would continue to work with it and Shehbaz Sharif-led government to counter the menace of terrorism.

“The enduring partnership between our nations remains critical to ensuring the security of our people — and people around the world — and the US will continue to stand with Pakistan to tackle the most pressing global and regional challenges of our time,” said Biden’s letter to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

“That includes advancing our shared vision for a future of greater health, security, economic growth, and access to education for all. Through our US-Pakistan Green Alliance framework, we will also continue to strengthen our climate resilience, support sustainable agriculture and water management, and assist with Pakistan’s recovery from the devastating floods in 2022. And, the US remains committed to working with Pakistan to protect human rights and promote progress,” Biden’s letter added.

Biden did not interact with former Prime Minister Imran Khan after his victory during 2018 nor did he speak to Shehbaz Sharif when he took charge of the Prime Minister’s office after removing Imran Khan through a vote of no-confidence in April 2022.

While Biden’s letter to PM Shehbaz Sharif signifies the value Washington gives to Pakistan in terms of its regional relevance and importance; one thing that the letter also indicates is that Washington still looks at Islamabad through the lens of counter-terrorism, regional and global security in reference to terrorism.

Despite the fact that US is not longer engaged in Afghanistan and its level of priority for Pakistan is not what is used to be after its withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021; Pakistan’s regional role in countering terrorism retains it as a key player for the Biden administration.

The Biden administration seems to be ready to work with the newly-elected Pakistani government, despite the widespread allegations of rigging and ballot fraud.

It should also be noted that despite difference of opinion about the current government set-up in Pakistan and broadly debated power centre still with the military establishment; the American military establishment still seeks a working cooperation with Pakistan.

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