Pakistan and the United States are likely to resume their stalled ‘strategic dialogue’ designed to dispel the widely-held perception that the relationship between the two countries is only confined to security related matters.
A foreign office official confirmed that the two sides were discussing the possibility of reviving the talks as the relationship appears to be gradually improving following the resumption of the Nato supply lines.
The official, however, did not give a timeframe saying: “Things are being worked out at the moment.”
Sources said that the two countries are mulling revising the number of agenda items being discussed under the banner of the so-called ‘strategic dialogue’ in an effort to make it more result-oriented.
The strategic dialogue, which covers a wide range of issues from Pakistan’s energy needs to health and education sector woes, was initiated by the Obama administration as part of its efforts to allay Pakistani fears that the US might repeat the mistake of the 1980s when it left Islamabad isolated after driving out the former Soviet Union from Afghanistan.
The last round of talks was held in October 2010 in Washington. The dialogue was supposed to take place in March last year but was delayed because of a controversy over the killing of two Pakistanis by a CIA contractor.
The two sides, however, agreed to resume the process in May after Raymond Davis was freed in a deal struck with the heirs of the victims.
But talks were delayed yet again and never resumed to date following the secret operation by US commandos to kill al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in his Abbottabad compound.
When contacted, an American diplomat said that the two countries were discussing various issues under the strategic dialogue.
“It is just a label, otherwise the two countries are cooperating in various fields other than security matters,” explained the diplomat, requesting anonymity.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2012.
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