Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman described 2011 as a ‘long line of bilateral catastrophes’. Making her first major public appearance since taking over the office, she claimed that she had no intention of ‘portraying a victim narrative’.
In her opening remarks at the US Institute of Peace, she said, “Pakistan has no shortage of commitment for the effort against extremism, militancy or terrorism today.” Her speech focused primarily on the conditions in Pakistan, and the subject of US-Pakistan relations.
“The tragedy at Mohmand (Agency) really served as an end-line trigger that called for a fundamental re-set,” Ambassador Sherry said, adding that since Pakistan did not receive an immediate apology, it left “a strong mark on the Pakistani psyche, spurring a re-think of the modalities of how we had been working together.”
She highlighted how al Qaeda’s core assets had been defeated with Pakistan’s cooperation and reminded that many in the US administration have also ‘echoed this view’.
She added that many in Pakistan and the US believed that it was time “that this relationship matured into a more consistent, stable and transparent equation, with weight given to mutual respect.”
However she left a disclaimer saying that the subject should best be reserved right now for Parliament to decide. Coming back to the issue Pakistan’s role in the war on terror, she said the Embassy of Pakistan will issue a weekly scorecard of the losses suffered by Pakistan in the war.
Saying that Pakistan supports an Afghan-led reconciliation process, the Pakistani envoy said, “We do not consider Afghanistan our strategic backyard, as many claim we do, but we do have the highest stakes in Afghan stability.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2012.
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