Storm in a tea-cup: Premier Gilani sugarcoats tenuous Pak-US ties

Published: May 12, 2012

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani talks to British Secretary DIFD Andrew Mitchell. PHOTO; APP

LONDON: 

The prime minister has rubbished reports that Pakistan would not be invited to Chicago summit, but stressed that negotiations regarding the reopening of Nato supply routes are still under way – and that it was premature to say anything in this regard till the negotiations are over.

Addressing a detailed press conference after laying the foundation stone of a new consular hall at the Pakistan High Commission in London on Friday, the premier added that “PCNS recommendations were passed unanimously – the government was told to negotiate with the United States on this basis. That is what we are doing. There is no outcome yet.”

When the premier was first asked the question, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who flanked the prime minister, immediately whispered in his ear: “they have retracted it.” The premier’s official statement was vaguer, and not as direct.

He said that the foreign minister had taken him into confidence that “there is no such statement.”

“Our negotiations are on. When they end, then we can say something [on such things]. We are in the middle of discussions,” he said.

Asked if Prime Minister Cameron had pressed the capture of Hafiz Saeed and the presence of Ayman al Zawahiri and/or Mullah Omar in Pakistan, the premier recalled that his counterpart had already said that any enemy of Pakistan was an enemy of the UK. He also said that the courts were “totally independent”, and if there is any concrete evidence against Hafiz Saeed, it should be presented before the courts. It is not up to the government to take a decision on this matter, he said.

Regarding the increasing US insistence that Ayman al Zawahiri and/or Mullah Omar are present in Pakistan, he said that relations between the CIA and ISI have always been “excellent” and still are – stressing that the two had hit many al Qaeda high value targets together because of this cooperation.

He said the US and Pakistan are still in “partnership mode” and are looking out for each others’ interests.

He urged that, if there is any “credible” and “actionable” intelligence, the US should share it – so that the ISI and CIA can “jointly achieve the target”.

Local politics

There was plenty of local politics, too.

Hitting out at the criticism by the opposition, the prime minister said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had tried its utmost to discredit him and to have him disqualified. However, he said, all these attempts had been futile.  He said he didn’t believe in the interpretation of the “Sharif Courts”.

The prime minister said that the PML-N had gone to the Election Commission of Pakistan to seek his disqualification – but, he said, there had been no response. He added that the PML-N also tried to “pressurise” the speaker of the National Assembly, but she too had not said anything on the matter yet.

In fact, claimed the premier, they even wrote a letter to British authorities asking that he not be welcomed as a prime minister – yet he was given full protocol in the highest offices of the UK.

Expressing his disappointment with the conduct of the main opposition party, the prime minister said that they were only harming the image of the country.

He said that the “notion” of a clash of institutions is only being created by Nawaz Sharif, adding that if all quarters work within their ambit there can be, and will be, no clash.

Questioned on the PML-N’s move to introduce a resolution seeking the formation of a South Punjab province as well as the reinstatement of a Bahawalpur province, the premier said he did not think the party’s intentions were “sincere.”

He pointed out that the PML-N had long opposed the division of Punjab – evidenced by the refusal of the Punjab Assembly speaker’s refusal to take up resolutions to this effect by PML-Q legislators. He said the Punjab government had been pushed by the federal government’s “consensus” initiative, which he stressed was constitutional, as well as by public opinion and the will of the people.

He said the PML-N’s move was an “afterthought.”

Power protests

To a question, the prime minister said that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had purposely rejected recommendations from a recent power conference participated in by all provinces – claiming that Shahbaz wanted to have reasons to protest against the federal government, such as the ones currently underway against power outages.

He said the government had taken a number of steps to assuage the power shortfall situation, which would begin to bear fruit with time – adding that there was no “switch” that could be turned on to fix the situation overnight.

The prime minister goaded the PML-N, telling them that if they wanted him gone so badly, they had two options: Either bring a no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly or resign from the assemblies and announce a mass protest.

The second option, quipped the premier, would even appease Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) – and the two parties could then join forces. He said that “if” the PTI and PML-N got together, there was a chance that there could be “some” impact – but added that he didn’t think such an alliance would be possible.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Moko
    May 12, 2012 - 5:41AM

    How come he never asked for proof against Ayman Zawahiri or Mullah Omar ? One set of rules for India and another for the rest of the world ?

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  • aliza awais
    May 12, 2012 - 8:56AM

    I hate Gillani

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  • naazneen khan
    May 12, 2012 - 9:51AM

    Poor PM of Pakistan What a difficult position he holds between fire and the deep sea.
    Pls visit my favourite website to know all the conspiracies of back stage players,
    http://www.mullahmilitarymilitantsandjudiciary.blogspot.com/

    Recommend

  • Rana
    May 12, 2012 - 11:09AM

    It looks Pakistani Government’s only problem is looking ways to open NATO supplies instead of worst power crises, Baluchistan issue, Karachi Gang War, Inter Provincial Harmony etc.

    Recommend

  • Waseem Arain
    May 12, 2012 - 11:13AM

    @Moko because Aiman and Mullah are not Pakistani nationals whereas Hafiz is.

    Recommend

  • Tahir Ali
    May 12, 2012 - 12:55PM

    @naazneen khan:
    Posts in the mentioned website can best be ascribed as ‘totally agenda based rubbish, coming out of a confused but well fed mind’. On one side you are blaming judiciary for not taking any action against the terrorists, while you blame the agencies for extra-judicial killings and yet you find connivance between the two. Over 3500 soldiers, including three generals and hundreds of officers have embraced ‘shahadat’ at the hands of terrorists and to safe-guard people like you, yet you find connivance between the terrorists and the military. Recommend

  • Muhammad Ahsan Khan
    May 12, 2012 - 1:00PM

    He hears from his Foreign Minister: “they have retracted it”; and he informs to his interlocutors:“Our negotiations are on. When they end, then we can say something [on such things]. We are in the middle of discussions,”

    He is a talented politician. He does not lie but he gives half-truth and half-false.

    “he was given full protocol in the highest offices of the UK. “

    Highest by definition is only ONE. Our PM was not welcome by many higher offices but by the Highest Offices.

    Pakistan should be proud of such a popular, talented and honest Prime Minister!!!

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  • sutta
    May 12, 2012 - 1:55PM

    tribune will you stop moderating self advertising blogs?

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  • Good decision
    May 12, 2012 - 2:15PM

    @Waseem Arain:
    OBL was not a Pakistani and yest Pakistan asked for proof. Any guess where he was found?

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  • May 12, 2012 - 3:46PM

    The PM thinks in Punjabi. It is as simple as that.

    Leaving Pakistan should not be an atrocious idea. After all it increases remittances.

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  • Hadi Ansari
    May 12, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Secretary general NATO has announced that Pakistan along with china and Russia will not be invited for Chicago summit during this month.

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  • Hedgefunder
    May 12, 2012 - 8:52PM

    In regards to the strained Relations with the US !
    Its not an storm in an tea cup, but more like a Tsunami !!!!!
    What has happened to basic Commonsense of this PM and his people too???
    Are they actually this Blind???

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  • gp65
    May 12, 2012 - 9:45PM

    @Tahir Ali: The army is laying down its life fighting TTP who is attacking Pakistanis. At the same time it’s arm ISI is providing relief to Afghan Taliban Haqqanis, LeT, JeM who attack NATO forces and Indians. So the army IS fighting SOME terrorists and supporting others.

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  • Tahir Ali
    May 12, 2012 - 11:51PM

    @gp65:
    More than 35000 Pakistanis have died in the last ten years as a coalition partner in ‘war on terror’. How many Indians have been killed in Afghanistan in the last ten years-less than 50. As such, if ISI was supporting Afghan Taliban Haqqanis, LeT, JeM, as you mentioned in your comments, don’t you think that the Indian casualties should have been much more. On the other hand, the terrorists who are killing the Pakistanis are surely the creation of CIA-RAW nexus as part of a grater agenda to destabilize Pakistan.

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  • Truthbetold
    May 13, 2012 - 2:25AM

    @Rana:

    It looks Pakistani Government’s only problem is looking ways to open NATO supplies instead of worst power crises, Baluchistan issue, Karachi Gang War, Inter Provincial Harmony etc.”

    Good observation. Realize that opening of NATO supply is important for Pakistani establishment as a key to opening the door for more free dollars from the US.

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  • Nabeel yousaf
    May 16, 2012 - 11:03AM

    Mr Tahir Ali, I also checked the mentioned website by Nazneen khan.The bloger has beautifully explained this connivance she is of the opinion that liberals from all walks of life who oppose terrorists are being targeted pls go through the website again and if your eyes and ears and heart is not sealed Allah Almighty would give you power to understand.Naazneen Khan thankyou for your recommended website God bless you

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