WASHINGTON:(APS)Oct 10,2015-The United States has had diplomatic relations with Pakistan since its creation in 1947.
Prime Minister Sharif made an official visit to the United States in October 2013, shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry announced the reinvigoration of a U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue to foster a broader, long-term, and more comprehensive partnership and facilitate concrete cooperation on core shared interests such as energy, economics, counterterrorism, defense, strategic stability and education. Secretary Kerry and National Security and Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz chaired the most recent Strategic Dialogue Ministerial in Islamabad in January 2015.
The September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States by Al-Qaida led to closer coordination between Pakistan and the United States on security and stability in South Asia. Pakistan has generally cooperated with the United States in counterterrorism efforts and since 2001, has captured more than 600 al-Qaida members and their allies, and the United States maintains a strong security partnership with Pakistan. The horrific December 2014 attack by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against an Army-run school in Peshawar had a catalytic effect across Pakistan and led to the adoption of a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is Pakistan’s largest bilateral trading partner. In FY 2015 (July 2014 – June 2015), Pakistan’s exports to all countries were estimated at $24.59 billion and its imports at $41.43 billion. During this same fiscal period, $18.72 billion was remitted back to Pakistan by overseas workers, 14.4% from the U.S. It is estimated that at least 500,000 members of the Pakistani diaspora reside in the United States. In FY 2015, the United States accounted for approximately 16% of Pakistan’s exports, the second largest market behind the European Union, and $1.20 billion of its imports. Bilateral trade between the United States and Pakistan exceeded $5.1 billion in FY 2015. The United States is also one of the top sources of foreign direct investment to Pakistan, with $209 million in FY 2015. Pakistan has taken steps over the years to liberalize its trade and investment regimes, either unilaterally or in the context of commitments made with the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank. It is relatively open to foreign investment, but its ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Index remains low, largely due to energy, security, and governance challenges. In May 2014, following Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to Washington, the U.S. and Pakistan established a Joint Action Plan to expand bilateral trade and investment over five years. In March 2015 the United States and Pakistan organized the third U.S.-Pakistan business opportunities conference, headlined by Secretary of Commerce Penny Priztker and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad. Major U.S. investments are concentrated in fast-moving consumer goods, construction, chemicals, energy, transportation, and communications.
U.S. Civilian Assistance to Pakistan
The U.S. Congress passed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act (often referred to as “Kerry-Lugar-Berman,” or “KLB,” after its co-sponsors) in October 2009 in order to demonstrate the U.S. long-term commitment to cooperation with the Pakistani people and their civilian institutions. Since the passage of KLB, the U.S. government has committed over $5 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan, and also over $1 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance for disasters like the 2010 floods.
U.S. civilian assistance to Pakistan facilitates cooperation fostering a more stable, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan and region, which is in the interest of both countries. It is focused on five priority areas: energy; economic growth, including agriculture; community stabilization of underdeveloped areas vulnerable to violent extremism; education; and health. These priorities were determined in consultation with the government of Pakistan. The U.S. implements programs with Pakistani partners, including the government of Pakistan, civil society, and private sector actors, to increase local capacity and promote sustainability of efforts. To date, U.S. contributions have added over 1,600 megawatts to Pakistan’s electricity grid through infrastructure upgrades, rehabilitation, and policy consultation; led to the launch of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PPII), which will provide seed funding to small- and medium-sized enterprises in Pakistan; built or reconstructed roughly 1,000 schools; and funded about 1,100 kilometers of roads in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In January 2015 the U.S. pledged $250 million to help Pakistan facilitate the relief, reconstruction, and return of FATA communities displaced by counterterrorism operations.
U.S. Security Assistance to Pakistan
U.S. security assistance to Pakistan is focused on strengthening the counterterrorism (CT) and counterinsurgency (COIN) capabilities of the Pakistan security forces, and promoting closer security ties and interoperability with the United States. U.S. security assistance has directly supported Pakistan’s CT operations in the FATA. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) ($265 million in FY 2015) promotes the development of Pakistan’s long-term COIN/CT capabilities, particularly in FATA, and improves Pakistan’s ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter-maritime piracy. International Military Education and Training (IMET) assistance to Pakistan ($5 million in FY 2015) enhances the professionalism of Pakistan’s military and strengthens long-term military relationships between Pakistan and the United States.
Pakistan’s Membership in International Organizations
Pakistan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank. Pakistan is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.