US think tank urges Biden to call PM Shehbaz to ‘reset ties’ with Pakistan

US President Joe Biden (L) and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/File
US President Joe Biden (L) and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/File 
  • US think tank urges Biden to call PM Shehbaz. 
  • “Biden should initiate a high-level dialogue with new PM Shehbaz,” report notes. 
  • Writers note that Pakistan was given a “cold shoulder” by Biden administration and White House.

WASHINGTON: A US think tank called Brookings has urged US President Joe Biden to call Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, suggesting he “reset ties with Pakistan”, Dawn News reported. 

According to Dawn, one of the writers of the report — Bruce Riedel — was an adviser to the Clinton and Obama administrations and is also close to the current Democratic set-up in Washington. The other writer is Madiha Afzal who is a fellow at the Centre for Middle East policy.

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

“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 report noted.

The US policy focused on fighting wars in Afghanistan, noted the writers. 

The writers further wrote: “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.”

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

They also noted that Pakistan was given a “cold shoulder” by the Biden administration and the White House, adding that Biden did not call Imran Khan while he was a prime minister.

The writers also pointed out that PM Shehbaz Sharif has been the chief minister of Punjab thrice and is a brother of Nawaz Sharif — who has been the prime minister thrice. 

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