Pakistan Caucus Breakfast Briefing on Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON April 21,2005: The Congressional Pakistan Caucus held a briefing
with Ambassador of Pakistan Jehangir Karamat on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
The briefing was chaired by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, co-chair
of the Caucus, and the closing remarks were made by Faiz Rehman, Executive
Director of the Pakistani American Liaison Center (PALC). The briefing
was attended by several members of Congress and their staffers.
Welcoming her colleagues and the ambassador, Rep. Jackson
Lee said: “We all know that Pakistan has been a true partner in
the War on Terror, helping to remove much of the Taliban and Al Qaeda’s
influence in Afghanistan.” She hoped that the members of Congress
would recognize “the important steps Pakistan is taking to better
position itself for the future as well as to insure regional stability.”
She congratulated the leadership of PALC in helping establish
and build the Congressional Pakistan Caucus, saying, “the Congressional
Pakistan Caucus will continue to advocate for the nation of Pakistan as
a means to fulfill the foreign policy interests of the United States.
She said a strong Pakistan in a stable South Asia can only yield positive
results for our nation. “We must work together as a Caucus along
with other Members of Congress to continue the positive developments we
The congresswoman paid tribute to Ambassador Karamat
and the leadership of President Pervez Musharraf. She said: “Ambassador
Karamat is an outstanding representative of the Pakistan government at
a very exciting time for US-Pakistan relations. The nation of Pakistan
under the leadership of President Pervez Musharraf is moving in a positive
Commenting on education reforms in Pakistan, Rep. Jackson
Lee said: “Chief among the reforms undertaken by President Musharraf
has been that of the educational system, which previously was not allowing
Pakistani children to reach their full potential.”
She said that investing in education was the best way
for Pakistan to achieve prosperity for all its citizens. “In fact,
it was the father of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah who said ‘Character,
courage, industry and perseverance are the four pillars on which the whole
edifice of human life can be built, and failure is a word unknown to me.’
It is that spirit which I believe is guiding these necessary reforms for
the children of Pakistan.”
Ambassador Jehangir Karamat highlighted Pakistan-U.S.
relations saying the establishment of Pakistan Caucus in U.S. Congress
is "deepening and strengthening relations between the two countries."
Ambassador Karamat said relations with the United States
are "deeper and broader" with large U.S. investments in Pakistan's
He paid tribute to PALC saying that the organization
is "an important partner on Capitol Hill."
Mentioning the joint statement released in New Delhi
by India and Pakistan, he said it would "set the future direction"
of the Pakistan-India relations in various fields, including trade between
the two countries.
Reflecting an upbeat mood in Congress about the ongoing
peace process between Pakistan and India, the Ambassador said the bilateral
relations are "moving toward harmony" to reach the economic
potential of the region.
He also highlighted the "economic turnaround"
in Pakistan, saying that the numbers are very positive. He said Pakistan
will reach a growth rate of 8% next year with the deficit going down.
About democracy in Pakistan, the Ambassador said Pakistan
has an elected government and it was preparing a level playing field for
the elections in 2007.
"Important political negotiations" with political
groups, he stated "are going on, to strengthen the democratic process
in the country.
Ambassador Karamat took questions from the members of
Congress present at the briefing.
At the briefing, Congressman Kenny Marchant announced
his decision to join the Congressional Pakistan Caucus.
In his closing remarks, Faiz Rehman, Executive Director
of the Pakistani American Liaison Center (PALC), thanked the members of
Congress for attending the briefing and said that PALC would help host
similar briefings more often on the Hill. Rehman thanked Congresswoman
Sheila Jackson Lee for her remarkable leadership in establishing the Pakistan
Caucus and remaining deeply involved in its activities.
Pakistani American Liaison Center is a Washington-based
public education group.