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Pakistan decides against attending US democracy summit

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan decided against participating in the Second Summit for Democracy being held by the US on March 29-30, 2023.

Pakistan is among over 100 countries invited by US President Joe Biden to the summit. In 2021, Islamabad had politely refused to attend the moot without specifying any reasons.

The summit was being considered a major opportunity for cash-strapped Pakistan to win over the support of the US to revive the much-needed loan programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stalled since last year. Currently, the federal government is racing to secure guarantees from friendly states for external financing, a key demand by the global lender for releasing the bailout package.

In a statement, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said: “We are thankful to the United States and the co-host countries for inviting Pakistan to attend the Second Summit for Democracy being held on 29-30 March 2023”.

Pakistan had not been part of the Summit process that commenced in 2021 and required countries to make certain national commitments.

“The Summit process is now at an advanced stage and therefore, Pakistan would engage bilaterally with the United States and co-hosts of the Summit to promote and strengthen democratic principles and values and work towards advancing human rights and the fight against corruption,” reads the FO statement.

The spokesperson said as a vibrant democracy, the people of Pakistan were deeply committed to democratic values and generations of Pakistanis time after time have upheld their faith in democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. “This month, the nation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Constitution that is the fountain of a democratic polity in Pakistan,” she said.

“We value our friendship with the United States. Under the Biden administration, this relationship has widened and expanded substantially. We remain committed to further solidifying this relationship for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region,” it said.

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