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Pakistan Will Not Attend U.S.’ Summit for Democracy

by Newsweek Pakistan
Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

File photo

In statement, Foreign Office says Islamabad hopes to engage with Washington on the issue at an ‘opportune’ time in future

Pakistan on Wednesday announced it will not attend a U.S.-organized Summit for Democracy, scheduled for Dec. 9-10, stressing that it hoped to engage with Washington on this subject at a later time.

“We value our partnership with the U.S., which we wish to expand both bilaterally as well as in terms of regional and international cooperation,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Office. “We remain in contact with the U.S. on a range of issues and believe that we can engage on this subject at an opportune time in the future,” it added.

The virtual Summit for Democracy, hosted by President Joe Biden, would include global leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector. “The summit will focus on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy, and human rights at home and abroad,” reads a brief explainer on it provided by the State Department.

It said the summit would revolve around three key themes: defending against authoritarianism; addressing and fighting corruption; promoting respect for human rights. “Leaders will be encouraged to announce specific actions and commitments to meaningful internal reforms and international initiatives that advance the Summit’s goals,” it added.

Reportedly, Pakistan’s decision to skip the summit was motivated by the U.S. inviting Taiwan and not China, which risks offending Beijing as it goes against the ‘One China’ policy that envisages Taiwan as a part of it and not an autonomous region. Turkey, a key Pakistan ally and NATO member, has also not been invited. In total, around 110 countries were invited to participate.

“Pakistan is a large functional democracy with an independent judiciary, vibrant civil society, and a free media,” read the Foreign Office’s statement. “We remain deeply committed to further deepening democracy, fighting corruption, and protecting, and promoting the human rights of all citizens. In recent years, Pakistan has instituted wide-ranging reforms aimed at advancing these goals. These reforms have yielded positive results,” it claimed.

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