Dec 9, 2021: Pakistan has decided to skip a summit on democracy convened by President Joe Biden, a decision which could have serious implications for the already strained relations between the two countries.
The announcement comes hours after in-house consultations by the Foreign Office (FO) just hours before the two-day summit. No official reason was given by the FO in the official handout for not accepting the US invitation, but a number of factors contributed. One of the reasons for this is China’s expulsion from the summit, while the overall state of relations between the two countries has also forced Islamabad to stay away from the democracy summit.
Another factor is believed to be President Biden’s move to continue to ignore Prime Minister Imran Khan making it difficult for Islamabad to attend the summit on democracy.
The US president is hosting the summit on December 9 and 10 and has invited leaders from over 100 countries. Pakistan was amongst the only four South Asian countries which were invited to the summit. Others included India, Maldives and Nepal.
“We are thankful to the United States for inviting Pakistan for participation in the Summit for Democracy, being held virtually on 9-10 December 2021,” the foreign office said in a statement.
“Pakistan is a large functional democracy with an independent judiciary, vibrant civil society, and a free media. We remain deeply committed to further deepening democracy, fighting corruption, and protecting and promoting the human rights of all citizens. In recent years, Pakistan has instituted wide-ranging reforms aimed at advancing these goals. These reforms have yielded positive results,” the official communique read.
The FO stressed that Pakistan values its partnership with the United States, which it seeks to enhance in terms of bilateral and regional and international cooperation.
“We are in contact with the United States on a number of issues and believe that we may be able to discuss this at an appropriate time in the future,” the statement said, politely rejecting the US invitation.
It concluded, “Pakistan, in the meantime, will continue to support all efforts aimed at strengthening international cooperation for dialogue, constructive engagement, and the advancement of our common goals.
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