Rejecting former prime minister Imran Khan’s ‘regime change’ narrative, the new US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome has said that the best course of action would be to rebuild ties through a dialogue with the Pakistani government and society.
Ambassador Blome is the first full-time American envoy to be present in Islamabad after a gap of four years. In an exclusive interview with Dawn, he said that the US government was willing to engage in a rich conversation with various elements of Pakistani society.
Anti-American sentiment is not a new feature within Pakistani political discourse, however, Imran Khan’s accusations of a US backed regime-change conspiracy that led to his ouster fanned the flames of the anti-American rhetoric. He used this as the backdrop for his ‘march for true freedom’ that took place on May 25.
This heightened anti-American sentiment has, therefore, become the foremost challenge for Washington in executing its foreign policy goals in Pakistan.
During the interview, Ambassador Blome reiterated the rejection of Khan’s ‘regime change’ narrative, saying that Washington was ‘quite clear’ about it.
“However, I believe that the best thing we can do in the future is to continue interacting at all levels of Pakistani society, as we have done for the past 75 years!” he said. He went on to say that the engagement would not be restricted to government officials, but would also include political leaders, corporate leaders, civil society, and youth.
Through this two-way dialogue, he said, he will “listen to and understand” what’s happening here and “convey that understanding” to Washington and at the same time share US “views and positions as clearly and as transparently as possible” with audiences here.