A Round Table was organized by the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) on September 22 2014 on the topic “US-Pakistan Relations in the Context of Regional Security Environment”. Renowned Pakistani former Ambassador Riaz Mohammad Khan was the speaker at the gathering. Ambassador Riaz Mohammad Khan gave a candid analysis of Pakistan – US relations. He said that the history of US –Pakistan relations have not followed a smooth trajectory with period of cooperation to outright distrust and mutual hostility. Ambassador Riaz highlighted three contemporary concerns in the United States regarding Pakistan which are Afghan Taliban, Extremism and Terrorism and Nuclear issue. He said that there is still some skepticism within United States that Pakistan is hedging its bets on some proxy Afghan Taliban groups to further its interests in Afghanistan. On the nuclear issue, there seems to be some openness within the United States about discussing potential cooperation with Pakistan in the nuclear field, but that is contingent upon Islamabad’s cooperation in regards to international matters. Ambassador Riaz Mohammad Khan said that the history of Pakistan-US relations is the history of relations between militaries of both the countries. He talked at length about the contemporary challenges facing US – Pakistan relations regarding Afghanistan, the issue of extremism, rampant anti-Americanism and nuclear issues. Ambassador Riaz said that conflict in the region and especially with India in Afghanistan is not in Pakistan’s best interests and hedging some groups against the Indian presence there is a wishful thinking and would harm Pakistani interests in the long run. Ambassador Riaz pointed out that the current trends in International relations are being defined more by Economics rather Geopolitics. He said that although both Geo-economics and Geo-politics are important but Pakistan needs to follow a balanced approach and look out for opportunities that come out of economic cooperation and integration rather than conflict driven approach. The round table was attended by members of academia, think tank representatives, making establishments, select media and students.
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