Pakistan not being isolated, says US lawmaker

WASHINGTON: So far, there are no indications that Pakistan is being isolated in the United States, says Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who heads the Pakistan caucus in the US Congress.

Talking to newsmen at an Inter-Faith Iftar-dinner hosted by the Pakistan Embassy, Ms Jackson Lee also said that the Trump administration was reviewing its policies towards Pakistan and Afghanistan but it had yet to come to Congress for discussion.

“I don’t see any broad indication of Pakistan being isolated here. There are ups and down in all international relationships and particularly those that we care about but the real key is how you resolve it and I believe that tradition continues in the United States,” she said.

Asked about media reports that the Trump administration intends to toughen its policy towards Pakistan by expanding drone attacks inside Pakistan and curtailing assistance, the congresswoman said the change in policy was yet to be discussed in the US Congress.

She said US Secret­ary of State Rex W. Tiller­son would engage with members of Congress on any policy change towards Pakistan and she would review the changes.

Pakistan, she said, was part of normal discourse on foreign relations in the US Congress. “I do not have a direct statement from the State Department and I will have to wait until that statement to determine if there is a change in policy.”

Emphasising the importance of US-Pakistan ties, the Democratic lawmaker from Houston said the two countries needed to continue to work together in the fight against terrorism and find ways to solve problems.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee said that the US and Pakistan had a “pathway of cooperation” and they should seek to resolve any differences that arose in the relationship. “We are always discussing working with Pakistan on the issue of terrorism, both against the Pakistani people and certainly surrounding nations,” she said.

“I believe we have a pathway of collaboration. We are a people that love democracy, and we should continue on that pathway. As chairwoman of the Pakistan Caucus in the United States Congress, we are always keen to make sure that we find ways to solve problems, when problems arise, and to work together.”

Ms Jackson said she was aware of Islamabad’s concerns about India’s increasing influence in Afghanistan.

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