ISLAMABAD: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Friday lauded Pakistan for helping Afghan refugees over the last 42 years, saying that the United States, as well as the world, was grateful for that.
The US Deputy Secretary of State, who is leading a US delegation on a visit to Pakistan, made these remarks during an exclusive interview on PTV News programme ‘Shahrah-e-Dastoor’.
Sherman said she had visited a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Documentation Renewal and Information Verification Exercise centre earlier in the day, where registration cards were being issued for Afghan refugees so that they could have access to facilities such as healthcare in Pakistan.
She commended Pakistan for persistently helping Afghan refugees, saying that it should be “very proud of 42 years of helping Afghan refugees” and the US, as well as the world, was grateful for that.
Sherman was also asked about her comments about relations between the US and Pakistan during her visit to India. “We don’t see ourselves building a broad relationship with Pakistan,” she had said, according to Indian publication The Indian Express.
Responding to the question, she clarified that by “specific steps” she meant that the purpose of her trip to Pakistan was to predominantly focus on the aftermath of events in Afghanistan and review bilateral relationships. “The US and Pakistan have had longstanding relations for decades,” she added.
“This is a time of great change in this region because of the events in Afghanistan and the US and the world were reassessing what the future would look like and how to ensure a better future for Afghans,” she added.
The US official also assured that the US was willing to engage with Pakistan on “the wide-ranging agenda” and the aftermath of recent events in Afghanistan. She added that the US was glad that Pakistan had called for an inclusive government in Afghanistan.
When asked about the Quad, a recently formed group that includes India, the US, Japan and Australia and perceived to be an alliance against China, Sherman described it as a “cooperative effort” on matters such as energy and people-to-people exchange.
She also clarified that the US didn’t ask countries to choose between itself and China. Acknowledging that China was a large economy and growing world power, she added, “What we do ask is that China plays by rules” in the international order.
When asked about America’s stance on the Kashmir dispute, Sherman said she realised that it was a long-standing, complex and historical issue, but “it is between India and Pakistan”. “The US would urge for dialogue on the matter”, she added.