Pakistani ambassador stops by Houston, talks foreign relations

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the new Pakistani Ambassador to the United States, is acutely aware of the critical partnership between the two nations.

"The United States is still the global leader and a very important country for us," said the 59-year-old career diplomat.

Chaudhry was appointed in March, and this is his first trip to Texas in his new post. He spent the week here strengthening economic ties between his home country and the region. He later met with Eyewitness News for an interview at the home of Houston's Pakistani Consul General Aisha Farooqui. The greater Houston area is home to between 150,000-200,000 people who identify as Pakistani-Americans.

"For Pakistan, which is making huge investments into the energy sector, Houston is the place," he said. "Our security situation has improved. Our economy is doing well. And this is a good time for investors to come to Pakistan."

Chaudhry credits the improvement to a concerted effort to root out extremists and terrorists to end the non-stop violence that plagued their country for years.

"When you kill innocent people in the streets and in the markets, that's no holy duty -- that's outright barbaric terrorism," he said.

Chaudhry explained that the government's efforts to curb terrorism have worked. Still, he conceded this week's terrorist bombing in Manchester, England, is another sign that global terror remains a threat and that the world must work together with majority Muslim nations to fight it from within.

"We believe we are on to addressing an even more important undertaking," he explained, "which is to address their mindset of extremism that in the first place gave rise to these militants."

Chaudhry believes maintaining a stable Afghanistan is part of that effort. When it is stable, the region is better off and so is the United States, and he hopes for a resolution to the U.S. involvement there.

Ambassador Chaudhry met with President Trump for a short introduction when he arrived in Washington, D.C. He said he is very hopeful about working with the administration, and he called working in Washington a dream posting for a diplomat.

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