Islamabad: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Masood Khan has said Pakistan is keen to have strategic, political and economic ties with the United States and right now we are investing in bilateral diplomacy to achieve these objectives. Speaking at the renowned World Affairs Council in Seattle, he said both countries are enjoying natural aspirational relationship not an artificial or crafted.

He said the presence of one million Pakistanis in the United States, comprising mostly of professionals, was a strong bond and an abiding link between Pakistan and the United States, and says a press release received here on Saturday from US. Dilating upon Pak-US relations, the Ambassador emphasized that the roots of Pak-US relationship are deep and, during past one year, the two countries have clarified their intent to continue their cooperation in strategic stability, regional security and counter terrorism. He said we were promoting closer ties in trade, investment, agriculture, health, education and energy sectors.

The Ambassador highlighted COVID-19, fuel and food hyperinflation and the recent devastating floods as the major debilitating factors that affected Pakistan’s economy. Encouraging business community to invest in Pakistan, Masood Khan highlighted recent impressive growth of the country in tech sector and 64 percent of the youth population below the age of 30 as a valuable asset of the country.

He, on a question about Pak-India relations, said that Pakistan is ready to talk but India has preferred non-engagement in recent past. He said we want the United States and particularly the US civil society to get involved, use its leverage to persuade New Delhi into a dialogue with Pakistan for resolving long-standing issues, especially Jammu and Kashmir dispute, on a negotiating table. The Ambassador, while commenting on Pak-Afghan relations, said that there is volatility in bilateral relations owing to hideouts of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan in Afghanistan.

He recounted inclusive government, protection of rights of girls and women and counter-terrorism as shared objective of both Pakistan and the United States vis-à-vis Afghanistan. Masood Khan reiterated Pakistan’s principled stance that it would not tolerate terrorism in any form against Pakistan. He thanked the United States for announcing $100million, in addition to $100million already contributed for flood response, food security and capacity building.