In his remarks, Ambassador Jilani gave a detailed overview of the government’s efforts to overcome the challenges in security, economic growth, and energy sectors. Highlighting some of the significant transformations that Pakistan has gone through in recent years, Ambassador Jilani said that today’s Pakistan was a transformed Pakistan where democracy had taken strong roots, where free media and independent judiciary were contributing to an effective system of checks and balances and where all state institutions were working within constitutional parameters.
Ambassador Jilani also dealt in detail with the contours of Pakistan-U.S. bilateral ties. Expressing satisfaction over the current state of relationship that was marked by mutual respect and cordiality, Ambassador Jilani said that both sides had realized the need to respect each other’s priorities, concerns and comfort level. The focus was now on moving towards a broad based, comprehensive and strategic partnership through the Strategic Dialogue process. He also emphasized the need to effectively address the irritants like unilateral U.S. drone strikes.
In the regional context, Ambassador Jilani expressed the hope that the forthcoming elections in Afghanistan will herald an era of peace and stability in that country. He reiterated Pakistan’s full support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
On Pakistan-India relations, Ambassador Jilani reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir through a sustained, result oriented and meaningful dialogue and expressed the hope that India will reciprocate Pakistan’s sincere gestures.
The luncheon was attended by a wide cross section of Washington DC based think tank community and academia.
March 20, 2014