In a recent seminar held at One UN Plaza, Elizabeth Horst, the US Deputy Secretary of State Responsible for Pakistan, reiterated the United States’ commitment to supporting credible elections in Pakistan. Ms. Horst emphasized the importance of violence-free elections that allow the people of Pakistan to freely choose their leaders.
The seminar, titled “Exploring the Pillars of Democracy: US-Pakistan Relations,” was organized as a side event during the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. Ms. Horst, along with Ambassador Robin Raphel and other scholars, addressed various aspects of the US-Pakistan relationship.
Ms. Horst highlighted that the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan had allowed for a renewed focus on the bilateral relationship with Pakistan. This relationship encompasses economic security and the political situation in Pakistan.
She clarified that the United States does not endorse any particular individual or political party in Pakistan but rather supports the fundamental democratic rights of the Pakistani people. Ambassador Donald Blome, the US Ambassador in Islamabad, has conveyed this message to various stakeholders in Pakistan, including political leaders and the Election Commission.
According to Ms. Horst, credible elections in Pakistan should be characterized by open competition, the absence of violence, and free media coverage of the electoral process. She stressed that democracy extends beyond elections, emphasizing the importance of freedom of religion, addressing blasphemy law abuses, and safeguarding minorities’ rights.
Ms. Horst expressed optimism about the collaborative potential between the US and Pakistan. Ambassador Raphel, known for her support of Pakistan in Washington, shared her perspective on the current political crisis in Pakistan. She placed blame on all sides involved in recent political turmoil and called for elections as the way forward to restore democratic norms.
Regarding Pakistan’s economic challenges, Ms. Horst acknowledged the significance of implementing reforms suggested by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stabilize the economy. She highlighted key areas for reform, including the energy sector, infrastructure investment, and broadening the tax base, emphasizing the United States’ support for these reforms.
Ms. Horst underscored that Pakistan possesses exceptional human talent, which can contribute not only to its national economy but also to the global economy. However, the right business climate and necessary reforms are crucial for realizing this potential.
Ms. Horst’s remarks at the seminar emphasized the US commitment to credible elections and democratic principles in Pakistan. She encouraged the implementation of IMF-recommended reforms to address Pakistan’s economic challenges. The US and Pakistan are working together to strengthen economic, defense, and security dialogues, setting the stage for a renewed chapter in their relationship.