US hopes new Pakistan PM will get ties back on track
WASHINGTON: The United States Friday welcomed the election of a new prime minister in Pakistan eyeing an end to the political upheaval in its key, but wary regional Asian ally.
MPs elected Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as Pakistan’s new prime minister Friday, seeking to end a crisis sparked by judges ousting the premier and demanding the arrest of his would-be successor.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that the US hopes that the new prime minster would abet the process of rebuilding ties between the two countries and said, “We are pleased that the leadership issue appears to have been settled,”
She further said, “We obviously look forward to working with the new prime minister and hope that this will open space to continue to roll up our sleeves and get back on track with all of the things that we want to do with Pakistan.”
Ties between Washington and Islamabad have hit an all-time low following a series of events in 2011, including the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a US commando raid on his Pakistani compound.
A botched Nato attack in November in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed led Islamabad to shut down its border crossings into Afghanistan to US supply trucks, hampering the US and Nato effort against the Taliban.
Talks to reopen the crossings, vital as the US draws down its forces in neighboring Afghanistan, have so far made little progress.
In his first speech to parliament shortly after his election, Ashraf promised to develop “cordial relations” with the United States.
“We will develop cordial relations with United States and international community on the basis of equal rights and dignity,” he said, without mentioning reopening the supply routes.
Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh also sent felicitations to his newly elected Pakistani counterpart, according to DawnNews.
Singh expressed hopes that the new pm would continue the process of dialogue between the two countries and the two neighbours would would work towards normalisation of ties between each other,in the greater interests of the people.
Dr Singh like Pervaiz Ashraf, has his origins from the Potohar region and his ancestral village lies in Chakwal.