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US think tank urged Biden to call Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif

biden call shehbaz sharif

A major US think tank has urged President Joe Biden to contact Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and reestablish Washington’s relations with Islamabad.

According to Dawn News, Bruce Riedel, one of the Brookings report’s authors, was an adviser to the former Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations and is also close to the current Democratic establishment in Washington.

Madiha Afzal, the other author, is a fellow at the Centre for Middle East Policy.

“The end of American involvement in Afghanistan and the change in leadership in Pakistan presents the US with an opportunity to reset its long-troubled relationship with the world’s fifth most populous country,” the writers argued in the report.

“President Biden should initiate a high-level dialogue with new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who will be in power for up to a year before the next election is held.”

The authors noted that because US policy was focused on fighting wars in Afghanistan, “our primary partners in Pakistan were the intelligence service and the military. Less attention was devoted to the civilian government”, Dawn reported.

“Now Washington can engage with Islamabad without prioritising Afghanistan issues at the expense of our broader interests in regional stability with India and China, encouraging development in South Asia, and supporting the strengthening of the elected democratic forces in Pakistan,” they argued.

“America also has an interest in balancing somewhat the influence of China, Pakistan’s closest ally, on decision-making in Islamabad.”

The authors noted that the Biden administration, and particularly the White House, had so far given Pakistan the cold shoulder. “irked…ostensibly with then-Prime Minister Imran Khan publicly criticising the US”.

They pointed out that Biden did not call Khan while he was Prime Minister, despite Brookings’ contention that he should have.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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