Pakistan has decided not to attend the second “Summit for Democracy” being held by US President Joe Biden in Washington.
Pakistan was invited to the three-day conference that President Biden organized in 2021 but declined because of worries about China.
This year, the US invited more than 100 countries, including Taiwan, but once again left out China.
The US’s choice to omit China and Turkey from the summit while inviting Taiwan complicated Pakistan’s decision, as Pakistan has strong ties with both China and Turkey.
According to the Foreign Office statement, 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.
Ties between the US and Pakistan have been strained in recent years, with US officials blaming Pakistan for sheltering Taliban fighters, an allegation that Islamabad vehemently denied.
Ties were further strained when US President Joe Biden refused to engage with former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan, reportedly causing Islamabad to reject the summit invite.
However, Pakistan’s decision not to attend the summit has put it on a tightrope, as the US did not extend an invitation to China or Turkey, two countries with strong ties with Pakistan.