US urges Pakistan to ‘prioritise and expand economic reforms’ to address challenges

Washington, The US has urged Pakistan to “prioritise and expand economic reforms” so it can address the “economic challenges” confronting the cash-strapped country during meetings with Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb, a senior state department official has said.

US urges Pakistan to ‘prioritise and expand economic reforms’ to address challenges

US State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said this was communicated to Aurangzeb during his meeting with Assistant Secretary Donald Lu and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst.

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“During the meetings from our end, we encouraged Pakistan to prioritise and expand economic reforms, to address its own economic challenges,” said Patel in a press briefing on Thursday.

Aurangzeb is currently in the American capital to hold negotiations with the IMF for a new bailout package and attend World Bank meetings.

US diplomat Lu has been at the centre of the cipher controversy in which former prime minister Imran Khan was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment along with ex-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Just two weeks before the ouster of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government in April 2022 through a vote of no-confidence, Khan had brandished a piece of paper—allegedly a copy of a diplomatic cipher—at a public rally in Islamabad, claiming it as proof of a conspiracy against his government by a foreign power.

Patel said Pakistan’s minister of finance is in the US for a series of meetings not only within the US government interagency but is also engaging with non-governmental organisations.

The State Department official also said that Pakistan continues to be an “important partner” for the US.

“Particularly, it’s a country we have an immense security cooperation with, and we of course are looking to continue to collaborate and work with the Government of Pakistan,” he added.

In his meeting with Lu and Horst, Aurangzeb explored broadening the tax base, energy sector streamlining, and privatisation during a huddle at the World Bank headquarters, Geo News reported.

The two sides focused on upgrading economic partnerships, with emphasis on alternate energy, agriculture, climate resilience and tech industry.

The minister identified American investment opportunities in information technology, renewables, agriculture and minerals extraction, the report said.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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