By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, Mar 28 (IANS): Pakistan has decided against attending the second Summit for Democracy 2023 after being invited by the US and co-host countries.
Responding to media queries about Pakistan's response to Washington's invitation, the Foreign Office in Islamabad stated that it would not be part of the Summit and would continue to engage with the US.
"We are thankful to the US and the co-host countries for inviting Pakistan to attend the second Summit for Democracy being held on March 29-30. As a vibrant democracy, the people of Pakistan are deeply committed to democratic values and generations of Pakistanis time after time have upheld their faith in democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
"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," the Office said in a statement.
Pakistan has maintained that it was not part of the first session of the summit, held during 2021, maintaining that the second edition now stands at an advanced stage, which would be a continuation of the understandings and commitments made by countries.
According to the Foreign Office statement, it seems that this is being given as a reason for Islamabad to abstain from accepting the invitation to participate in the second Summit for Democracy.
"Pakistan has 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 US 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," it maintained.
The decision to not attend the Summit had kept Islamabad on a tightrope of decision making as the country's current security and economic situation complicated its position.
Pakistan has been engaging with the US and other western countries to what it terms as fixing the damaged ties and open new chapters of diplomacy.
Pakistan is among over 100 countries invited by President Joe Biden's administration for the three-day event, prompting intense consultations about accepting the invitation or not.
One reason why the decision put Pakistan on a tightrope is because US did not extent an invitation to China or Turkey, two countries with strong ties with Pakistan.
Analysts say that Pakistan's decision to not be part of the summit can be seen in view of its close ties with China and relevant concerns that Beijing may have on it.