June 14 (PPI): Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States (US) Masood Khan has said Pakistan is a big market for American manufacturers.

“If you manufacture state of the art products, you have 240 million consumers in Pakistan, he said, adding that if you compare us to all West Asian countries, Pakistan is a big country”.

Masood Khan said we have a big cohort of human capital and it is growing, adding that it is digitally connected with the rest of the world and it is tech savvy. He said we have hundreds of institutions which are investing in future technologies.

He said Pakistan is pivotal to the ecosystem that comprises the Central Asian states, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Gulf states, Middle East, and North Africa.

Ambassador Masood Khan made these remarks while addressing a gathering of scholars, policy-makers, legislators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and professionals, who had gathered to listen to his views at World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, according to a press release received here on Friday from Washington DC.

The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia (WAC Philadelphia), founded in 1949, is an influential organization with a strong standing in both the local community and the broader field of international relations and global education.

It is dedicated to informing and engaging the public on global issues and fosters a deeper understanding of world events and their impact on local and national levels.

Addressing a jam-packed hall of WAC Philadelphia, Masood Khan gave a detailed perspective on Pak-US relations, war on terror, re-calibration of Pak-US relationship post withdrawal period, Pakistan-India relations and the issues of regional stability.

The envoy especially focused on highlighting existing investment and trade opportunities between Pakistan and the United States that provided new sinews to the relationship.

Tracing roots of Pak-US relations, especially US support during initial days of Pakistan and robust partnership of the two countries both in times of war and peace, the envoy presented a holistic view of relationship spanning over seven decades.

Adding his perspective to the most recent collaboration of the two countries in war against terror, Masood Khan said “Pakistan was blamed at times for the Mission failure.”

“Although I personally believe that we have accomplished a lot in the war against terrorism. We collaborated and together we broke the backbone of terrorist organizations.

Al-Qaida is not where it was in 2001-02. There is awareness all around the world about the asymmetric threat of terrorism to international civilization and how to tackle it,” he said.

Masood Khan said that in late 2021 and early 2022, the leadership of Pakistan and United States decided to recalibrate their relationship.

He said they decided that “while we will continue our cooperation in counter terrorism, promote regional stability, maintain a dialogue, we would like to secure the region from any nuclear instability and so on.”

“But at the same time, we would try to invest our time and energy in strengthening economic partnership between Pakistan and the United States,” he continued.

“And we have been succeeding in the areas of trade and investment, renewable energy, green technologies, combating climate change, health care, education and others,” he observed.

“When I came here in 2022, the number of Pak students in American universities was 7,000. Now it is more than 10,000,” he said. He also highlighted renewal of agreement between the two countries for cooperation in science and technology.

“We are investing in people centered diplomacy so that there are more exchanges of students, academics and entrepreneurs and tech entrepreneurs in particular,” he said.

Highlighting the presence of 80 US companies, mostly Fortune 500, the existing potential of the country and bright future prospects, the envoy urged US businesses to increase their investment portfolios, particularly in tech startups, renewable energy, agriculture and extractive industries.

Referring to some most recent initiatives, especially the Green Alliance, the envoy also paid compliments to the efforts of US Ambassador in Pakistan for his proactive approach in promoting cooperation and fostering greater understanding between the two countries.

“Ambassador Donald Blome has been a good partner and a good Ambassador in promoting Pak-US relations,” Masood Khan said. Talking about Pakistan’s relations with China, the Ambassador reiterated that Pakistan’s relations with China were not at the expense of its ties with the United States.

Referring to the historic role played by Pakistan in bringing China and US closer to each other in early 70s, the Ambassador said that Pakistan was willing to play the role of economic bridge between the two countries in the present age.

On Pak-India relations, the Ambassador told the gathering that there has not been any structured dialogue between the two countries since 2014. Underscoring the need to have a result-oriented structured dialogue, Masood Khan said that “we should create that kind of atmosphere for talking to each other.”

Pointing out strategic imbalance in South Asia and US tilt towards India, Masood Khan urged US government to follow a balanced approach. “US heavy tilt towards India is accentuating strategic imbalance which is fraught with serious risks,” he said.

The Ambassador also emphasized on full restoration of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and assistance to fight continued threats from terrorists.

On situation in Middle East, the Ambassador opined that the United States should demonstrate its leadership and assert itself.

The Ambassador invited the gathering to visit Pakistan and experience for themselves the breathtaking beauty of the country and traditional hospitality of Pakistani nation.

“Pakistan has 7500 glaciers which are second in number only to the polar region,” he said. He also highlighted that 70% of soccer balls used across the globe were produced in Sialkot, Pakistan, a city which is also known for producing quality surgical instruments.

Masood Khan thanked Ms Lauren Swartz, President and CEO World Affairs Council Philadelphia for hosting him and providing him with an opportunity to interact with the learned audience.