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Summit of Democracy: Consultations under way for accepting Biden invite or not


Sep 24, 2018
United States
United States
ISLAMABAD: Consultations are ongoing at the Foreign Office (FO) to decide whether Pakistan will accept the recent invite from President Biden for the Summit of Democracy that he is hosting virtually.

While the FO has not announced receiving the invitation, Pakistan’s name is included in the State Department’s list of 40 world leaders to whom invitations have already been sent. A senior official responded briefly when asked whether Prime Minister Imran Khan or anyone else will be attending the virtual meeting in his place. “The invitation is under consideration, and a decision will be taken soon,” the official said but he was reluctant to give further details.

So far there has been no direct interaction between Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Biden. They have neither met nor spoken on telephone. In the past, Pakistan has been represented by senior officials instead of the prime minister himself.

Earlier this month, the PM skipped the World Leaders Summit on Climate Change in Glasgow, and instead was represented by Special Assistant to the PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, who headed a 10-member delegation.

On the second day of the Glasgow meeting, Malik Amin had an informal meeting with President Jo Biden. According to official US reports on December 9-10, 2021, President Biden will host a virtual summit for leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector. The summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.

“For the United States, the summit will offer an opportunity to listen, learn, and engage with a diverse range of actors whose support and commitment is critical for global democratic renewal,” says the report.

Leaders will be encouraged to announce specific actions and commitments to meaningful internal reforms and international initiatives that advance the Summit’s goals. These pledges will include domestic and international initiatives that counter authoritarianism, combat corruption, and promote respect for human rights.

Following consultation, coordination, action, and delivery of results in subsequent months, the president will host an in-person Summit approximately one year later. During the second Summit, we can take stock of the progress made and forge a common path ahead.

Meanwhile, in a standalone visit at the invitation of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, a US Congressional delegation met Qureshi at the Foreign Office on Monday, where delegation-level talks were held.

Welcoming the Congressional delegation to Pakistan, the FM underscored that Pakistan valued its longstanding relationship with the US and wanted to further deepen and widen this relationship.

The US hoped that Pakistan and the US would widen their engagement to stabilise Afghanistan, said the Foreign Office in a statement. The US delegation included Congressman Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representative (HFAC), accompanied by Congressman Ami Bera, Chairman of the Asia Subcommittee of the HFAC.

Congressman Meeks deeply appreciated Pakistan’s role in the evacuation of US and Afghan nationals, as well as Special Immigrant Visa Holders (SIVs) from Afghanistan and hoped that the two countries will widen their engagement to stabilise Afghanistan.

The FM hoped that the international community would expeditiously extend finical assistance to Afghanistan enabling the country to meet its compelling needs. The US has frozen over $9 billion in its Central Bank which belongs to Afghanistan. Both Congressmen maintained that given Pakistan’s potential and the size of its 220 million plus consumer market, the US companies were keen to invest in Pakistan.

The foreign minister hoped that more high-level exchanges will take place between the two countries strengthening people-to-people ties between them, and invited US companies to invest in Pakistan’s IT and health sectors- apart from reaping dividends from other growing sectors.

Briefing the US delegation on Afghanistan, Qureshi underlined Pakistan’s commitment to peace, stability and progress in Afghanistan. He highlighted Pakistan’s efforts for facilitating humanitarian assistance and economic support to Afghanistan given the twin challenges being faced by the Afghan people.

The US delegations was informed by Qureshi about the egregious human rights violations in IIOJK, and hoped that the US Congress will play its role in raising voice for the rights of Kashmiri people.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan was firmly committed to promoting peace and security in South Asia, enabling the region to realise its immense potential and hoped that the US would support Pakistan’s endeavours in that regard,” said the Foreign Office.

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