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Mission US: Gen. Asim’s successful visit resets US-Pakistan relationship By Kashif Mirza

Byadmin

Dec 18, 2023

The writer is an

economist, anchor,

analyst and the

President of All

 Pakistan Private

Schools’ Federation

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General Syed Asim Munir, NI (M), COAS called on key US Government and Military officials during his ongoing visit to the US including, Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State, General Llyod J. Austin (Retired), Secretary of Defence, Victoria Nuland, Deputy Secretary of State, Jonathan Finer, Deputy National Security Adviser and General Charles Q Brown, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary general of the United Nations during his visit. This was Munir’s first visit to the US since being appointed army chief last year. General Munir arrived in Washington on his first official visit to the US since he became Pakistan’s army chief in November 2022. Pakistani military commanders have often visited the US during their tenures as Islamabad and Washington have for decades remained allies over issues ranging from regional stability particularly the war in Afghanistan.  He was also accompanied by Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt. General Nadeem Anjum. The successful visit of the army chief would increase cooperation between the two countries in various fields. With the visit of Gen Munir, Pakistan’s point of view on important issues is also effectively highlighted. Matters of bilateral interests, global and regional security issues, and ongoing conflicts were discussed during the meetings. Both sides agreed to continue engagement for exploring potential avenues of bilateral collaboration in pursuit of shared interests. During the meetings with defense officials, counter-terrorism cooperation and defense collaboration were identified as core areas of cooperation. Both sides reiterated the intent to increase interaction and explore ways to expand the scope of mutually beneficial engagements. The meetings came amid Israel’s ongoing strikes on Gaza and after Indian top court’s validation of New Delhi’s revocation of Indian-administered Kashmir’s autonomy in 2019. COAS underscored the importance of understanding each other’s perspectives on regional security issues and developments affecting strategic stability in South Asia,” the ISPR said.  
COAS underscored the importance of understanding each other’s perspectives on regional security issues and developments affecting strategic stability in South Asia. In this context, COAS especially highlighted the importance of resolving the Kashmir Issue in accordance with international law and relevant UNSC resolutions. During his ongoing visit to the US, General Asim Munir also called on António Guterres, the UN secretary general, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Guterres warmly welcomed the visit by the COAS and appreciated the contributions made by the Pakistan Army and contingents of law enforcement agencies that have remained committed to the peace and stability of the world. The COAS reaffirmed Pakistan’s continuous support to the United Nations in all its earnest efforts. During his interaction, the army chief particularly highlighted the ongoing Kashmir and Gaza issues. He said that peace in South Asia would remain elusive until a peaceful solution to the longstanding Kashmir dispute was found in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Gen Munir also condemned the unilateral and illegal Indian efforts to change the status of Jammu and Kashmir as it was in violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions. COAS especially highlighted the importance of resolving the Kashmir Issue in accordance with international law and relevant UNSC (United Nations Security Council) resolutions. He reiterated Pakistan’s stance on the Palestine issue and urged the UN secretary-general to mobilize the international community for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza to prevent the unfolding human tragedy, and highlighted that an enduring solution to the issue lies in the two-state solution. The army chief particularly shared deep concerns over the plight of innocent civilians, who are being brutally targeted and not being provided with sufficient humanitarian relief. Guterres acknowledged the concerns and thanked General Asim Munir for his visit to the UN Headquarters. COAS also interacted with the Pakistani overseas community. In a reception hosted by the Embassy of Pakistan, COAS met members of the Pakistani community and appreciated the positive role being played by the Pakistani overseas community towards the country’s progress and development. He also encouraged the diaspora to invest through SIFC which is already yielding success in various dimensions, and also highlighted that the US is the largest export market for Pakistan constituting 21.5 % of our total exports. Army Chief said that the Pakistani diaspora anywhere around the world is held in high regard as they are ambassadors of Pakistan and contribute significantly to Pakistan in varying domains. Members of the Pakistani community expressed their pride in the role and contributions of the Pakistan Army toward the well-being of Pakistan. No doubt, the Pakistani diaspora anywhere around the world is held in high regard as they are ambassadors of Pakistan and contribute significantly to Pakistan in varying domains.

General Asim’s visit to U.S. underscores the deep-rooted and historically shared strong military, economic, cultural and longstanding diplomatic ties between Pakistan and U.S. characterised by mutual support in various international forums for regional stability and security. 

Pakistani Army chief Asim Munir visited Washington at a time when the U.S.-Pakistan relationship was unsettled. Although bilateral ties were relatively stable and crisis-free, the future is uncertain. Washington and Islamabad have struggled to find new anchors for their partnership since U.S. forces left Afghanistan in 2021. General Asim Munir’s visit to the U.S. underscores the deep-rooted and historically shared strong military, economic, cultural, and longstanding diplomatic ties between Pakistan and the U.S. The visit serves as a platform to further enhance these ties and explore avenues for future collaboration. This strategic alliance has been characterized by mutual support in various international forums and a shared commitment to regional stability and security.  A visit from the leader of Pakistan’s powerful military offers opportunities for a reset, but policy divergences may make that difficult. Gen. Munir is different from his immediate predecessors in the army chief role. However, Gen. Munir is a soldier to the core. He was born in Rawalpindi, home to Pakistan’s military headquarters, and he quickly rose through the ranks. Like many previous Pakistani Army chiefs, he seeks friendly relations with Washington. In his nearly 13 months in the role, he has met twice in Rawalpindi with Michael Kurilla, the commander of U.S. Central Command, and has spoken twice by phone with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. A legacy of education and training exchanges between the United States and Pakistan, officer-to-officer relations have long been warm—despite tensions over many issues. But Gen. Munir always has a practical approach especially when Pakistan’s economy is in crisis, and the United States is its top export destination and a key source of aid.
Gen. Munir also wants to tap into shared concerns about Afghanistan-based terrorist groups to help address a resurgence of militancy in Pakistan, led by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), especially an attack by a TTP affiliate killed 23 troops in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. However, the top U.S. security concern in Afghanistan is Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), and in recent months, U.S. officials acknowledged that Taliban operations have reduced the IS-K threat, suggesting the United States has less of an incentive to partner with Pakistan. After the success of Gen. Munir’s visit, he and his U.S. interlocutors may find common ground on non-security issues in Afghanistan, such as the delivery of humanitarian aid. Another major U.S. concern is Pakistan’s recent decision to expel 1.7 million undocumented Afghans. The Biden administration wants to ensure that those waiting for special immigration visas to the United States—including many people who worked with the U.S. military—won’t end up back in Afghanistan. The Biden administration wants to shift the focus of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship away from Afghanistan and security issues and toward trade and investment. Because Pakistan’s military chiefs exert influence over public policy, Munir may bring these issues up himself in economic recovery efforts. But for Washington, commercial cooperation won’t be a realistic anchor for partnership until Islamabad’s economy is more stable. The Biden administration would want to hear from Gen. Munir on Russia’s war in Ukraine and as well as on the war in Gaza, as Pakistan backs the Palestinians and Gen. Munir, who once served in Saudi Arabia, also has close ties to the Persian Gulf states that are key to wartime diplomacy. Moreover, U.S. officials also wanted to discuss China, as Pakistan has recently signaled a desire to achieve more balance in its relations with the United States and China. As Pakistan looks to the future, Gen Munir’s visits and contributions are poised to set a challenging target and leave a lasting legacy. 

No doubt, General Asim Munir’s visit to the U.S. for the development, strategic, and economic prosperity of Pakistan has been instrumental in shaping the nation’s path toward progress. As  General Syed Asim Munir successfully completed his one year as Army Chief, and during his successful tenure, he expressed his determination and assured to steer Pakistan out of the prevailing crises. Whenever the country faced difficult times, the Pakistan Army responded with hard work for the people. One year of his service has culminated in record-breaking success stories. When the chief of the Pakistani army took the lead to save the country from the crisis, the economy came out of the ventilator and started breathing. His new professional journey began at a time when there was political turmoil in the country; when the country was suffering from inflation, and there were diplomatic challenges. Despite not being in the spotlight throughout his one-year tenure, Gen Munir’s behind-the-scenes efforts have significantly contributed to the overall stability of the country. His robust support for the government and the active role of the army played a pivotal role in steering Pakistan away from financial and economic default. Under his leadership, foreign relations have seen a positive transformation, with strengthened ties with the United States, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), and China. Gen Munir’s adept backdoor diplomacy has played a crucial role in fostering these relationships. In a short span of one year, Gen Asim Munir has left an indelible mark on Pakistan’s economy and diplomatic relations. His tenure has been characterized by resilience, strategic vision, and a commitment to the nation’s progress. On the special instructions of Army Chief General Asim Munir, the Pakistan Army in collaboration with the country’s institutions launched a large-scale operation against all the illegal activities that worsened the economy like termites. Army Chief General Asim Munir made several important foreign visits during one year, including Britain, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and now the U.S. In the war against terrorism, he made it clear that there would be no negotiations against terrorists and also ensured the implementation of the revised National Action Plan, participated in the central and provincial apex committee meetings, and supported the police for operations in the rural areas. Ensured the safety of foreign nationals working on CPEC and other projects, and also played an important role in restoring peace in Afghanistan. A large-scale successful crackdown was carried out against the illegal migrants, and a deadline was given to the foreign illegal migrants to leave the country, and the success credit goes to General Asim Munir. Pakistan is passing through one of her most critical junctures and this requires the development of national consensus by all stakeholders to sail through the challenges of economy and terrorism. Chief of the Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir reiterated Pakistan has to progress and that no power in the world can stop the country from its journey on the road to progress, and to make Pakistan green again as Allah almighty has blessed the country with various resources. In the long term, the economy may prove to be the stiffer challenge because it is not so amenable to military control as politics and internal security. The difficulty is compounded by Pakistan’s fraught foreign relations, as the government can no longer automatically count on largesse from its allies in the United States and the Middle East, who in the waning years of the Cold War and immediately afterward allowed the country to service its debt and stay afloat as a rentier state. Boosting exports could be a starter, but Pakistan still hopes the U.S., China, and other international partners will step in to help it avoid defaulting on international loans. COAS Munir hailed the government’s plans for uplift, expressing his confidence in the transformation of the different sectors in the landscape of Pakistan. Under his leadership, Pakistan will witness a development and economic revolution. General Asim Munir called on all the stakeholders to develop a national consensus to confront challenges posed by the economy and terrorism. As Pakistan continues to build upon the legacy of General Munir’s vision, it moves towards a more prosperous and promising future. Pakistan Army takes pride in serving its nation, with dedication to the welfare of the people and the country. The army belonged to the people, and the people belonged to the army, emphasizing the strong bond between the armed forces and the civilians. General Asim Munir’s vision for the Development and Economic Prosperity of Pakistan is based on our social responsibility to play a collective role in the country’s economy. The visit to the U.S. underscores the deep-rooted and longstanding diplomatic ties between Pakistan and the U.S. This strategic alliance has been characterized by mutual support in various international forums and a shared commitment to regional stability and security. General Munir’s visit exemplifies the importance of diplomatic engagement and cooperation in addressing complex regional challenges and underscores the enduring relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. in their quest for peace and stability.

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