‘Clear’ on both ends: US talks war, Pakistan preaches peace

Published: October 20, 2011

US delegation led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Army chief Ashfaq Kayani, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at the PM House in Islamabad. PHOTO: REUTERS

US delegation led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Army chief Ashfaq Kayani, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar at the PM House in Islamabad. PHOTO: REUTERS Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani shaking hands with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton upon her arrival at the Prime Minister house on October 20, 2011. PHOTO: PID Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani speaking to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as high powered contingents of US officials and Pakistani officials looks on. PHOTO: PID Pakistani children welcome US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton upon her arrival in Islamabad October 20, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Unprecedented talks held on Thursday between top civil, military and intelligence officials from Pakistan and the US made little progress in the effort to iron out differences on how to tackle the Haqqani network.

However, the two countries reached a ‘broader understanding’ on how to move forward in Afghanistan, official sources told The Express Tribune.

The two-hour long discussions, led by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were held against the backdrop of strained ties between Washington and Islamabad following charges by US officials that Pakistan is playing a ‘double game’ when it comes to dealing with militants.

(Read: ‘The worst is over’ for Pakistan and US)

Clinton was accompanied by US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsy, Director Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) David Petraeus, US Special Envoy Marc Grossman and US Ambassador Cameron Munter, while Premier Gilani was assisted by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, ISI chief Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and other senior officials.

Clear message delivered

The rare gathering was not only meant to repair ties but also to narrow down differences on the issue of the Haqqani network, viewed by Washington as the deadliest Afghan Taliban-allied insurgent group, and to discuss the Afghan endgame.

Official sources confirmed that Secretary Clinton delivered a clear message from the Obama Administration that Pakistan will have to dismantle alleged terrorist sanctuaries in the country’s tribal belt.

Despite the renewed demand, Pakistan conveyed to the US that it could not launch a full-scale offensive in North Waziristan Agency – believed to be a stronghold of the Haqqani network.

“Our position is very clear, now, that the only way forward to address this issue is through dialogue,” said an official familiar with the development.

‘Give peace a chance’

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s press office also confirmed that Pakistan has no plans to initiate a military operation in North Waziristan.

“Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called upon US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to give peace a chance, as envisaged in the All Parties Conference’s resolution,” said the statement.

(Read: Giving peace a chance)

The All Parties Conference, held recently to discuss threats emanating from Washington, proposed negotiations with militants to end the years-long unrest in the region.

“The APC resolution reflects the sentiments of the Pakistani nation,” Prime Minister Gilani was quoted as telling Secretary Clinton.

However, Pakistan’s proposal is in direct conflict with the US approach that seeks military offensive against militant groups including the Haqqani network.

According to the statement, Secretary Clinton appreciated the APC resolution, which, she said, was the right message from Pakistan to the world.

It is believed that Pakistan urged the US to rethink its strategy of using force to settle the conflict in Afghanistan.

Earlier in Kabul, Secretary Clinton called for a new partnership between the US, Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight militants.

(Read: Clinton steps up pressure on Pakistan, Taliban)

She said Pakistan ‘must be part of the solution’ to the Afghan conflict.

Petraeus’ role

Dempsey, who took over as the top US military officer in September, planned a candid discussion with the military brass “about sustaining areas of common interest and improving areas where our interests have diverged,” his spokesman Colonel David Lapan said.

The addition of Petraeus could be especially significant, political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi told Reuters.

“America will produce evidence before the army chief, that you are involved (in supporting the violence in Afghanistan). With David Petraeus coming as well, they have definitely brought evidence,” he said. “He will provide evidence that you are involved, ISI is involved,” he added. “But nothing will come out in public.”

(Read: The Taliban & the Haqqanis)

Meanwhile, CIA director David Patreaus and ISI Chief Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha held a one-on-one meeting to discuss the intelligence cooperation between the two countries.

ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM REUTERS

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (43)

  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Oct 20, 2011 - 10:31PM

    Every time she visits, one of my friend who lives In Islamabad, says TENORMIN,100mg,50mg,get short in medical stores. Heart specialists are instructed not to leave the capital without any approval.He doesn’t know why.She looks in elation,may she leave in a state of elation, but the Generals know the Americans well.God bless Pakistan.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Oct 20, 2011 - 10:36PM

    I hope that Hillary and her delegation will have a pleasant stay in Pakistan.

    Pakistan and U.S. should work hand-in-hand to defeat terrorism and extremism as this is the only way for Pakistan to prosper.

    Pakistan at present is under tremendous pressure from US to continue military assaults on the militants but such solutions are not long term solution.

    What U.S. is required to do is to take Pakistan into confidence on various issues and should not act unilaterally.

    Any action required by the Pakistani side should be conducted by the Government of Pakistan and not by the U.S. The U.S. can share intelligence with the security agencies but should not repeat similar to the May 02, 2011 episode in Pakistan.

    US can only achieve its goals and targets, provided if US should clap with both hands by taking Government of Pakistan into confidence in every aspect.

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  • Balma
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:01PM

    I hate talibans, but I am confused by hillary’s suggestion to fight and negotiate with the taliban at the same time!!!????Recommend

  • Shery
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:12PM

    what the heck ” Safe heavens 0r Negotiations” ????????? do more or do less …

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  • John B
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:22PM

    Clinton, Petraeus, and Dempsey are there to discuss Operation Knife edge. No secrets there. Hope PAK takes a leading role and bring the blockheads to the table for fruitful solution. Recommend

  • raza ali
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:42PM

    Slaves and beggars cant be choosers and this unfortunately true for us, it is not the fault of the brave men and women of this country but our civil and military ellites are the main cause of this design. We can only pray that Allah grant them the strength and the wisdom to break away from this morass and makes this nation proud again.

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  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:47PM

    She looks very happy, a state of elation suffuses her face ,she might have brought some good news,. But only the Generals know what lies beneath that elation! This may be the final round.

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  • will frtaser
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:48PM

    @Ikramuddin Akbar:

    akbhar,,,siddiqui et. al.
    Great lets stop fundamentalists.

    Will Dallas texas

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  • JJ
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:53PM

    Please Mrs.Clinton don’t ask PAKISTAN DO MORE.we already did more then you want frm us.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:56PM

    Shouldn’t Mrs. Clinton pay a visit to Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan as well? It’s just round the corner. The U.S. could renew its relationship with Karimov and rebuild a military base in Central Asia. When its troops leave Afghanistan in 2014 and Karzai quits, nobody knows what would happen to the region.

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  • Sad but true
    Oct 20, 2011 - 11:57PM

    Only an army that is weak ‘employ non-state actors’.

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  • Nasir
    Oct 21, 2011 - 12:22AM

    If Pak can sustain this pressure, US humiliation and defeat is done. Otherwise, Pak will be part of this defeat…

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  • mehwish
    Oct 21, 2011 - 12:28AM

    i hope this tour brings no bad news…….Americans r nw confused to tackle situations they must realize that they cant rule everywhere

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  • It Is Economy Stupid
    Oct 21, 2011 - 12:28AM

    @Balma: It is called divide and rule

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  • Balma
    Oct 21, 2011 - 12:56AM

    I am always curious who these pappoos and babloos are who greet foreign leaders at the airport? Are they the children of sarkari baaboos or kids picked randomly from streets?
    May be Hillarious bhabi is all smiles because she can see how Mac Donalds is destroying the life of Paksitani pappoos and babloos and making them obese. Look at the little girl, if you dont know what I mean. Ok, it is the bubbly I am talking about.

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  • gt
    Oct 21, 2011 - 1:10AM

    Both Pakistan & Afghanistan should seriously examine the Switzerland + Austria model of the present time. Every aspect.

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  • Cautious
    Oct 21, 2011 - 1:26AM

    The BBC previously reported that Kayani has been told by NATO that Pakistan had 3 alternatives 1) take out Haqqani leadership themselves 2) Allow NATO to take out out Haqqani leadership or 3) convince Haqqani to make peace. The status quo of doing nothing wasn’t an alternative – and that would include counting to ten.

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  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Oct 21, 2011 - 1:43AM

    @JJ:
    But what if she has forgotten how many times you did?, what if she asks you to do it from one again?.

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  • Javed
    Oct 21, 2011 - 2:07AM

    @j. von hettlingen: The US is already doing it and has been rapidly moving supply lines from Pakistan to Uzbekistan.

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  • geeko
    Oct 21, 2011 - 2:25AM

    Lol, a contradictory statement every day

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  • Rao
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:29AM

    ”Primeminister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani called on the US Secretary of State Ms Hillary Clinton to give peace a chance”

    I think this should be otherway around, since Hillary visiting Pakistan!

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  • F Robinson
    Oct 21, 2011 - 4:41AM

    A senior US Defence Department official recently expressed concern over the alleged “role of safe havens” for the Afghan Taliban and other “state sponsored militant organizations” in Pakistan. It remains a significant challenge, even for a talented person like Mrs Clinton, to convince Pakistan to change its duplicitous role on war on terror.

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  • Oct 21, 2011 - 5:17AM

    @ Cautious:

    3) Convince Haqqani to make peace:

    Negotiations with the Taliban is something Pakistan has been advocating for a long time, but one cannot negotiate at the same time as one is carrying out military operations to eliminate the ‘negotiating partner and its leadership’. For Pakistan to ‘convince Haqqani to make peace’, the US and Taliban/Haqqanis should declare a limited duration ceasefire, to at least start negotiations.

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  • MarkH
    Oct 21, 2011 - 6:51AM

    @JJ:
    um. The desire for someone to do more combined with that person doing more than already asked makes no sense. That “do more” is part of what is asked so you could not have possibly done more than what is asked. Even if it’s “do more” for eternity, as long as it’s there, you still have not done what is asked, let alone more than what is asked.

    …That aside
    Don’t look at the aggressive action vs. negotiations as a contradiction. Look at it as a political requirement. Even if you know aggressive action is what it will come to, people are just going to bring up peaceful actions as being left out and it will form its own separate topic of arguments and drama. What it means here is, the option is open if you really want to try. Not that anyone believes it will help. Since there’s always a small chance the unexpected can happen. But, in a negotiation sense, you have about the same odds of it working as you do winning the lottery. Once you fail, it can then defer to the aggressive action already spoken about to save time and effort. It’s just an act to cover all of the bases.
    …Also
    Relations going beyond anti-terrorism cooperation is fine. But trust comes first. You can’t get people to willingly work with big monetary numbers and commitments when there is no confidence that the other side will hold up their end of the deal.

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  • No Nonsense
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:08AM

    @Agnostic Muslim:
    The best suggestion. It is amazing that the “tink thanks” in the US – and they are like weeds, numerous, do not know that during the entire known history military action and bombings have never succeeded to put down turbulence in the tribal belt of Pakistan. Negotiations always did. And the Pakhtuns never, ever, submitted to preconditions. By the way has Mrs. Clinton or any other in her team or even the dude who occupies the White house ever heard of Yaghistan and Yaghis? If they had, they would not be talking all this rubbish.

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  • BruteForce
    Oct 21, 2011 - 7:49AM

    One gets the feeling something dramatic is going to happen. Too many people asking Pakistan to do the same thing in a short interval.

    One thing is for sure. Post-2014 US will make Pakistan suffer.

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  • Oct 21, 2011 - 8:50AM

    The devil is back, tackle her

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Oct 21, 2011 - 9:29AM

    She is just wasting her time here she should go to her new friend India,finding solution from those who have no relevance is the habit of Americans for instance KSA,UAE,Turkey,India ,Germany and etc but not giving due respect to real neighbours who have blood and natural relation with Afghanistan.This is called dilemma.

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  • Ashraf P
    Oct 21, 2011 - 9:39AM

    There are a lot of things that happened immediately after the Embassy attack in Kabul. The Saudi emissary and China’s Vice-Premier’s sudden dash to Pakistan and Shuja Pasha summoned to Washington for an abrupt 1-day visit were clues to something big brewing. The media has been kept in the dark regarding this. Mullen’s open chastisement of Pakistan in Congress was another first. Let’s wait and see. Among all this the name of the ISI keeps cropping up. Don’t know who is playing the more insidious game but whoever it is, the innocents are the ones that will suffer.

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  • Oct 21, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Mushraf was asked ‘bow or get loss.’ He stooped, and the catastrophe, we see today. Hillary has again delivered tough message to our rulers, as learned from media,” fight for America or face the cost”.

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  • Nasir
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:13AM

    @BruteForce:
    Pakistan is already suffering. The point is how she will sustain before US do more…

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  • Pundit
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:26AM

    “‘Clear’ on both ends: US talks war, Pakistan preaches peace”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Pakistani Definition of Peace= War thru proxies like Haqqani Dogs in Afghanistan.

    Right?

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  • syed Imran
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:42AM

    Pakistan has suffered a lot and it has no stamina left to service US demands. The contiguity to Afghanistan makes it unthinkable to pick up enemity with the pushtuns who inhibit the. Border areas. We therefore have no option but to live in peace with them. Americans should leave Afghanistan and that’s how they can save their lives and dollors

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  • adam
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:44AM

    I must say, it is not just Haqqani, there are more than two million Afghans who are still in Pakistan. Why present Afghanistan can’t be safe heaven for those two million Afghans, lt may be like that Pakistan will be asked to catch 2 million Afghans there and send them one by one, considering it the followers of Haqqani???, I wonder. how long it will take and what cost???.I wish major peace in thsi region.

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  • Observer
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:53AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:

    “What U.S. is required to do is to take Pakistan into confidence on various issues and should not act unilaterally. “

    How can the US take Pakistan into confidence when history shows that Pakistan has been playing a double-games and hiding top terrorists like Bin Laden despite being paid over $25 billions in the past 8 years?

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  • Observer
    Oct 21, 2011 - 10:57AM

    @JJ:

    “we already did more then you want frm us.”

    You would be absolutely correct if you are talking about hiding Bin Laden, other terrorists and playing double games. Yes, that is a lot more than the US asked of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • zezu
    Oct 21, 2011 - 11:26AM

    I wonder why Gen Kiyani and Gen Pasha not even looking at these Americans!!

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  • Yusuf
    Oct 21, 2011 - 1:08PM

    Absolutely disgusting talking about peace by America. Look at their posture in Pakistan, the “Sky High Wall” around their embassy, their closed door consulates with “Barb Wire” as well as “Cement Barricades.” America is here and have to be weathered.
    Let us remind our American dignitaries as I quote from a famous American President speech, ” …Equal and Exact justice to all men, of what ever state, or persuasion, religious, or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations…” Thomas Jefferson. Sincerely, I do not see openess America stands for nor the Americans in Pakistan have taken the time as well as effort to strengthen democratic institutions in Pakistan. America must do more to bring improvement in Pakistan.

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  • Sao Lao
    Oct 21, 2011 - 1:50PM

    @Sad but true:
    Absurd. Its the Pakistan Army giving tough time to all its foes including your bharat mata who indirectly is crying to USA to put more pressure on Pakistan.

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  • Rana Athar Javed
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:21PM

    Tough talk brings tough results. People, just Calm down! Hell may well bring on Pakistan if we keep asking for it. Recognize the military might of the US and NATO, recognize the fact that we are located in a very important geo-strategic area and, then assess the dire socioeconomic state of our country. Why exactly Pakistan Army and its security agencies are being thrown in front of all the pressure of the world. Why not our parliament, ministers, President and prime minister take the heat as their national responsibility? They should show their value as political leaders. However, It appears that we all are waiting for a miracle. Believe me the season of miracles is over. Watch the killing of Libyan leader, gauge the anger of people on Pakistani street and then decide: If the way forward is to deal with the complexity of our international relations OR break-down with a spell of anger and exaggerated reaction to tough talk of our friends and foes. Be brave and wise and, search reasoning to win over your adversaries, it is the only option that would save Pakistan. Otherwise, “nothing will come out of nothing”!

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  • zalim singh
    Oct 21, 2011 - 5:51PM

    wow, my eyes are misty.

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  • Babloo
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:24PM

    pakistan needs someone like Gadhaffi, Sadaam.
    Meanwhile, please rename Gadhaffi stadium to Shaheed Gadhaffi stadium.

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  • Menon
    Oct 21, 2011 - 8:48PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:

    Wonderful thought and ideas. Unless you were in hibernation for the past 10 plus years, every thing you suggest has been tried and cost billions to US tax payers. Pak have duplicitous and double crossing hence the situation reached a boiling over point.

    Any other great ideas? I have one, follow Arab Spring and get rid of your inept, incoherent, lying and cheting leaders and that will definitely helpe the situtation all around. Pakistani’s seems to be (there are exceptions) fanatical about one thing or another for the past 60 plus years and has learned nothing from it.Recommend

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