US Ambassador meets with political, business & cultural leaders

Lahore: U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson met with political, business, and cultural leaders during a visit to Lahore to broaden and deepen the U.S. Pakistan -relationship in ways that benefit the people of both nations.

In his meetings with Punjab Governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Ambassador Olson reiterated that the United States looks forward to timely, free, and fair elections that will result in the first civilian democratic transition in Pakistan’s history. “The U.S. Pakistan relationship is critically important,” he said, “and that’s why the United States is committed to working with Pakistan to build a relationship based on mutual respect and mutual interests.”

During his trip, Ambassador Olson inaugurated the Lahore chapter of the Overseas Security Advisory Council OSAC, which will represent the interests of American businesses in the Punjab. Addressing leaders of the American Business Forum, Ambassador Olson emphasized the U.S. commitment to build an economic partnership with Pakistan based on trade, not just aid.
“American businesses are at the forefront of our economic and commercial relationship with Pakistan. Your work with the advisory council will improve the business environment and attract potential new investors by helping them understand how to manage security risks in the region.” The American Business Forum and the U.S. government are working together to help Pakistani businesses create jobs by expanding U.S. Pakistan trade and business-to-business relationships.

Ambassador Olson attended the Wagah border ceremony, where he expressed support for the positive steps India and Pakistan can take to strengthen their dialogue and cooperation. He added, “Increased economic linkages between India and Pakistan will create the foundation for a stronger bilateral relationship and yield dividends for citizens from both nations.”

Acknowledging Lahore’s rich cultural heritage, Ambassador Olson visited Allama Iqbal’s tomb, the Badshahi Mosque, and the Alamgiri Gate at Lahore Fort that was restored with support from the U.S. government funded Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. He also paid his respects at Data Durbar, one of the oldest Muslim shrines in the subcontinent, which houses the remains of the Sufi saint Syed Ali Hajveri, popularly known as Data Ganj Baksh.