ISLAMABAD: Amid reports that Pakistan may skip the Summit for Democracy hosted by US President Joe Biden, the Foreign Office on Wednesday said that Islamabad valued its ties with Washington and was in contact with it on different issues.
The Foreign Office issued a statement ahead of the Summit for Democracy being held in virtual format on December 9-10. President Biden last month sent invitations to around 110 countries, including India and Pakistan.
The statement highlights ties between the US and Pakistan, thanking it for the invitation but is not clear whether Islamabad would attend. Pakistan's all-weather ally, China, has not been invited to attend the Summit.
The statement said that Pakistan values its partnership with the US and wishes to expand both bilaterally as well as in terms of regional and international cooperation. "We remain in contact with the US on a range of issues and believe that we can engage on this subject at an opportune time in the future," it said.
It said that Pakistan will, meanwhile, continue to support all efforts aimed towards strengthening dialogue, constructive engagement and international cooperation for the advancement of shared goals. Thanking the United States for inviting Pakistan for participation in the Summit, the FO said that Pakistan is a large functional democracy with an independent judiciary, vibrant civil society and a free media.
"We remain deeply committed to further deepening democracy, fighting corruption and protecting and promoting human rights of all citizens," the FO said, adding that Pakistan in recent years instituted wide-ranging reforms aimed at advancing these goals, which yielded positive results.
Though, Pakistan did not clearly stated if it would skip the moot, officials are tight-lipped about it, but the tone of the statement has been interpreted by various media outlets as a refusal to the invitation. Geo News TV and The Observer newspaper clearly stated that Pakistan would skip the summit.
The summit is expected to 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.