‘Deeper engagement’: Pakistan wants more than war cooperation, US told

Published: August 14, 2011

PM Gilani met US Senator John McCain at the PM House to discuss Pak-US relations. PHOTO: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

The Pakistani leadership on Saturday reiterated their call for an enduring partnership with the United States and forging a relationship beyond cooperation on the war against terrorism, with specific terms of engagement.

The American senator and former presidential candidate John McCain met President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani separately to discuss Pak-US relations, among other regional issues. McCain’s visit comes among a flurry of diplomatic efforts to put strained Pak-US ties back on track.

(Read: Repairing relations with the United States)

Deeper engagement

In his meeting with McCain, Prime Minister Gilani said he looked forward to a deeper level of engagement with the US in all areas of bilateral relations, including energy and economic cooperation.

Gilani also appreciated Senator McCain’s continued support to Pakistan in the US Congress and said he would welcome a visit by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

His sentiments were echoed by President Zardari whom McCain met later at the Presidency.

“We need to build a framework for an enduring strategic partnership,” said Zardari. “The president reiterated his call for specifying clear and unambiguous terms of engagement in the war against militants, in order to avoid adverse impacts on bilateral relations,” said presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar after the meeting.

Zardari told the visiting senator that the war against terrorism is a long-drawn war and it is important that the root causes of militancy are also addressed, Babar said.

The president called for a multi-pronged strategy encompassing socio-economic, political and educational measures besides judicious use of power to address the challenge of militancy and militant mindset, he added.

“With direct and indirect economic losses amounting to $68 billion and 35000 martyrs behind us, we were determined to pursue this war till its logical conclusion,” Babar quoted the president as saying. The president also raised the issue of recent moves in the Congress to reduce civilian assistance to Pakistan.

The issue of delays in reconstruction opportunity zones (ROZ) legislation and Enterprise Fund were also discussed during the meeting.

Senator McCain acknowledged that relations between the US and Pakistan had seen difficult times in the past but said that Washington considers Islamabad as an important country. It is not in the US national interest to abandon Pakistan once again, he said.

He assured the leadership of America’s continued support to the people of Pakistan in their endeavour to secure a stable and prosperous future.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.

Reader Comments (28)

  • Cautious
    Aug 13, 2011 - 8:06PM

    Prime Minister said he looked forward
    to a deeper level of engagement with
    the US in all areas of bilateral
    relations including energy, social
    sector and economic cooperation.
    ..
    I suspect that is political speech for “we welcome all the aid you can give us” – but those days are over. If relations continue to deteriorate I suspect you will lose your largest export customer.

    Recommend

  • Aug 13, 2011 - 8:36PM

    The US – Pakistan so called friendship is against common sense if Pakistan maintains this level of troubled relationship in its neighborhood. It is in fat, playing into US hands. The first lesson of life is to keep good interdependent relations within your neigborhood.

    The biggest falw in Pakistan’s foreign policy is that the rulers continue to seek solace in relations from an imperialst power far away while continuing to maintain relations of belliegernce in the neighborhood.

    Recommend

  • vasan
    Aug 13, 2011 - 8:59PM

    What is Pakistan’s role in the cooperation in WOT: Controlling jihadis and dismantling terrorist infrastructure. The role of US is doling out dollars
    Beyond terrorism, what does Pakistan bring to the table for cooperation ???? Nothing. Therefore this is another terminology for begging

    Recommend

  • BruteForce
    Aug 13, 2011 - 9:14PM

    I didn’t know Pakistan can offer anything beyond fighting Terrorists and keeping a gun to its own head.

    What can Pakistan possibly offer the US?

    Lets see.. Cheap electronic goods? Oh wait, China, South Korea and other Countries do that.. Software and Services? No wait, India is doing that. Oil? No, Pakistan doesn’t have any.

    OK, Mr.Gilani, do please tell us what Pakistan can offer to the World.

    Recommend

  • Babloo
    Aug 13, 2011 - 9:28PM

    Wwhat has Pak to offer ? Any positives ?

    Recommend

  • Vicram Singh
    Aug 13, 2011 - 9:41PM

    Ah, so China refused nikaah proposal !!

    Recommend

  • Tauseef
    Aug 13, 2011 - 10:15PM

    I have a feeling that the statement is just a filler meant for public consumption. No substance as far as I can see. Maybe the GHQ told him to speak on these lines. Little credibility for the Government.

    Recommend

  • faraz
    Aug 13, 2011 - 10:47PM

    Whatelse do we produce besides some low grade cloth?

    Recommend

  • Outspoken
    Aug 13, 2011 - 11:32PM

    This is in a way a very interesting statement. Now in the recent past Pakistan was trying to balance US aid and influence with that of a mix of China,Saudi Arabia and also Turkey. Mr Zardari even went to Russia hoping for some positive there. Simultaneously there has happened much publicity in the media about the strong support that Pakistan has been assured of by China ( military and strategic ) and Saudi Arabia ( monetary and strategic ). It appears to me that when China and Saudi Arabia have agreed to help and support Pakistan, they might also have told in clear terms that they don’t like the Pakistani attitude of getting them publicised and seen as a counter weight to the US in the international strategic world. There is every chance that the USA must have played its part in here as well. Pakistan feels loosing out in strategic weightage. They are keeping the window open for the USA. However, I wonder if it is too late now ? Make no mistake, the US policymakers and public implicate Pakistan of complicity in the war on terror.After OBL killing in Abottabad this is now a clear game of revenge by USA. This is a statement having different meanings to two different target audience. To Pakistanis it says that their PM looking for parity in Pak-US and Indo-US relations in a broad sense. To the US it says lets move on and make a new beginning for the future.I don’t think Pakistan has any utility for the US in the medium to long term except being a potential destination to their aid ( if that at all can be a utility ) .So this wish apparently is veiled appeal for a second chance.Recommend

  • rikky
    Aug 13, 2011 - 11:33PM

    Pakistan can’t have their own local industry and they are talking cooperation beyond terrorism.
    Pakistan is playing double role in Terrorism also by allowing few terror outfit to operate freely and
    on other hand asking aid from US.No body believe in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Gul Khan
    Aug 14, 2011 - 12:21AM

    @Bruteforce
    @Babloo
    @Vicram Singh

    John McCain has come to Pakistan with requests and still having troubles to get their requests approved from Pakistan. Pakistan knows how to play with Americans.

    Recommend

  • Aug 14, 2011 - 1:12AM

    Are you talking about sustainable friendship?
    History is witness,united States is not dependable friend.
    Dismemberment of our eastern wing is a black chapter of
    our history and the role of………………………………………..

    Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 14, 2011 - 1:26AM

    Can i ask a very simple question from the PM, as to on what grounds?
    Have you ever delivered anything or acted as agreed with USA???
    So what God given right do you actually want this partnership, when majority of your population is anti US, due to the propaganda delivered to them by Govt or the Army!!!
    The question really should be, is why should US Taxpayers keep supporting you at all !
    In regards to any form of the Partnership, well there is nothing in common nor the Synergy or the desire from people involved too!!!
    Another Dream from the PPP !!! Just an illusion !!

    Recommend

  • Aug 14, 2011 - 2:55AM

    @Tauseef:
    Hahahaha Good words Tauseef, Actually PM Galani Doesn’t know any thing about policies and Statements therefore he always says “Jahan tak ———— ka tal-lak he to ye baat mere elim me nahi he”

    Recommend

  • Khurram
    Aug 14, 2011 - 3:15AM

    @ Sultan Ahmed “Are you talking about sustainable friendship?
    History is witness,united States is not dependable friend.
    Dismemberment of our eastern wing is a black chapter of
    our history and the role of………………………………………..”

    Please do not blame America for the dismemberment of Eastern Wing. This job was actually done by Us and the Indians in a strange partnership. President Nixon wanted to help us but the Damned Indians were too fast and completed the task of cooking our goose a way before the arrival of much needed help(The Seventh Fleet USN, Task Force).But there was one blessing in disguise the Indians had to feed atleast ninety thousand plus mouths for at least a couple of years which was, some way a win win for us.

    Recommend

  • Ashok
    Aug 14, 2011 - 3:15AM

    Faraz,

    I don’t think Pakistani cloth is low grade – I find it to be high grade. At least as far as what gets imported into the United States from Pakistan. I would rank the Pakistani cloth (cotton products in particular) to be superior to material from elsewhere (China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam). During the Pakistani floods, I purchased athletic material (sweat pants, wrist gloves, sweater) made in Pakistan as I believe trade is better than aid and I am very satisfied with the quality of the material.

    Recommend

  • Arzoo
    Aug 14, 2011 - 4:08AM

    Forget about deeper cooperation with U.S. They only cooperate with dictators and absolute monarchs who wants to keep their people as slaves. Look at their cooperation with all the Middle Eastern despots and African dictators.

    Try to, if you can, be like China, who the Americans hate but have no choice but to deal with them because of what the Chinese produce. If the Americans won’t deal with the Chinese the Americans will become uncompetetive in the world. So try to become indispensable. But to do that you have to get a minimum level of education, discard your bloated military budget, get rid of terrorists amongst yourself, and develop a sustainable system of governance. That’s probably too tall an order, so then you will have to beg for the American cooperation (meaning their charity.)

    Recommend

  • Farzana
    Aug 14, 2011 - 8:13AM

    Pakistan has lost more innocent lives for America’s war OF terror than any other nation on earth.

    Recommend

  • demosthenes
    Aug 14, 2011 - 8:21AM

    Many of the commentators say what does Pakistan have to offer the US, other than playing the terrorist card while double dealing. Sooner or later subterfuge gets exposed. Again what can Pakistan offer? Pakistan needs to reinvent itself, to grow it’s trade, it’s industry, it’s creativity much like Japan did after the war and like China and India now are doing. Pakistan’s greatest strength is it’s diversity of people. In that diversity it’s much like the US. Build on that. Too much is spent on war making tools and not enough on infrastructure, health and education. The terrorist find fertile ground and safe haven in the Tribal areas because Pakistan’s government does so little and allows so much corruption. The tribal areas and Swat need to work, it’s men and women need to be free, to be free to obtain education, to have decent schools and hospitals to have a trusted judicial system that’s free of governments heavy hand, and with those changes the terrorists will fade away and Pakistan can become a leader in the region not because it has a big Army but because it has an educated and creative population , a can do spirit. An equal standing in the family of nations and an example of Muslim support of freedom and diversity.

    Recommend

  • G. Din
    Aug 14, 2011 - 3:25PM

    @Khurram:
    “…the Damned Indians were too fast and completed the task of cooking our goose a way before the arrival of much needed help(The Seventh Fleet USN, Task Force).”
    Arrival of Seventh Fleet was to placate Pakistanis and nothing more. They probably did not tell you in your history books that India had signed a “Friendship Agreement” with the Soviets just before Indian Army started the Bangla Desh operations to hedge its bets against Nixon-Kissinger duo. So, when Nixon ordered Seventh Fleet into Bay of Bengal, the Soviet Fleet that was shadowing it in the Far East followed it into Bay of Bengal. So, how do you think Seventh fleet would have helped you? When asked about it, the US said that it was ordered to East Pakistan to evacuate American personnel which was, of course, a ruse; it never reached Bangla Desh and turned its tail when confronted by the puny Indian Navy, to avoid an international incident. Also, the public opinion in US was getting increasingly outraged by Nixon’s handling of India then.
    Talking about help during that Pakistan’s existential crisis, where was the “deeper-than-the-ocean and higher-than-Himalayas” friend, China. It was jumping up and down on the Himalayan peaks, shouting that India had appropriated a flock of sheep or cattle which had strayed into India. The next day, the opposition party of India herded a flock of sheep to the Chinese Embassy in Delhi. It left a lot of red faces in Chanakyapuri on that day!

    Recommend

  • Khurram
    Aug 14, 2011 - 6:03PM

    @G.Din “It was jumping up and down on the Himalayan peaks, shouting that India had appropriated a flock of sheep or cattle which had strayed into India.
    Sir “jumping up and down from those peaks” was the most timely help our closest friend and ally could extend, it tied down many Divisions Of Indian Army which otherwise could have used in the Western Sector, where our Brave Armed Forces had made significant advances and took control of a big chunk of Indian territory. If war had lasted a little more longer chances were, we could have easily reached Delhi.

    Recommend

  • J Oberoi
    Aug 14, 2011 - 6:11PM

    @Gul Khan:
    You can “play” all you want. What matters is, who wins in the end. Doesn’t look like your boys are winning.

    Recommend

  • farhan
    Aug 15, 2011 - 12:29AM

    @BruteForce:
    Think about it. If there was nothing there to take..why would US pursue to be around us.there lies the answer.

    Recommend

  • Sandeep
    Aug 15, 2011 - 2:50AM

    @Faraz: There are a lot of things Pakistan can offer. Textiles, sporting goods, agricultural products, mineral products etc.

    Why are you people so negative? I have noticed this among my Pak friends here in US also, there is this terribly negative perception of their homeland.

    Its your Independence day, try to be positive for at least one day, OK?

    Recommend

  • Khurram
    Aug 15, 2011 - 7:47AM

    @ Sandeep: “Why are you people so negative? I have noticed this among my Pak friends here in US also, there is this terribly negative perception of their homeland.

    Its your Independence day, try to be positive for at least one day, OK?”

    I think you are confusing Constructive Criticism with Being Negative. No sir, rest assured this certainly is not the case with us. We are Proud Pakistanis where ever we make our home on this globe.

    Recommend

  • Sandeep
    Aug 15, 2011 - 1:13PM

    @Khurram. Could be. Or maybe my Pak friends felt close enough to me to confide. Either way I’m not belittling them or your country. My friends are good guys and care about Pakistan. But I guess in a way that is a little strange to me.

    Recommend

  • G. Din
    Aug 16, 2011 - 12:49AM

    @Khurram:
    “If war had lasted a little more longer chances were, we could have easily reached Delhi.”
    Now then here is a nice solution: Chinese do the dance on the Himalayan peaks. This ties down many, many divisions of the fourth largest army of the world. Pakistan takes a cake walk to Red Fort and hoists the Pakistani flag on it. And the circle is complete. As simple as that! Sorry, missed one crucial detail. Baniyas along the Grand Trunk Road shower the lazily walking Pakistani soldiers with rose petals and thank them for bringing back the hugely beneficial Islamic rule to their poverty-stricken country which they had so sorely missed all these years! How about that! All this set in motion by a Chinese Bangra on those icy peaks! Not bad, eh!

    Recommend

  • malik
    Aug 30, 2011 - 5:39PM

    Just ask McCain to work towards declaring Pakistan as the 51st state of the United States of America and be done with it. And there is no need to keep going to them asking for more money in the name of deeper engagement.

    Let’s throw this challenge to Americans and let’s see if they have the guts and courage to accept this rational proposal that will benefit both the countries. If they don’t accept this, US will stand exposed as the one practicing double standards and hypocrisy.Recommend

More in Pakistan