Through aide, Pakistan reaches out to Trump

Published: November 14, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has approached US president-elect Donald Trump through one of his close aides, seeking to develop an ‘understanding’ with the new administration on issues ranging from war on terror to the complex nature of geopolitics in South Asia.

The development came just days after Trump’s stunning victory in the US presidential election shook the entire world, including Pakistan, where policymakers are now discussing options on how to deal with the enigmatic leader given his radical stance on international and regional issues.

Dealing with Trump’s America

Since Trump being the next president of the US is now a reality, Pakistan has decided to follow a ‘proactive’ approach to reach out to the Republican leader.

A senior official with the knowledge of that ‘proactive’ approach told The Express Tribune that Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington Jalil Abbas Jilani wrote a letter to Trump on behalf of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to congratulate him on his victory, as well as his government’s desire to work with his administration.

But, apart from these diplomatic manoeuvres, the government is also relying on ‘unconventional’ approaches, such as reaching out to the Trump administration through his advisers.

One of his advisers that have been approached by Pakistan is Sajid Tarar, a Pakistani-American, who came to the limelight after he founded a movement in the US seeking support of Muslims for Trump in the run up to the race for the White House.

The things Trump has said about Pakistan

It was a bold and to some extent unpopular move on his part due to the fact that the majority of American Muslims as well as those of Pakistani origins supported Trump’s rival Hilary Clinton.

With Trump’s unexpected victory, Tarar has now emerged as the most sought after person in the US. He was one of the 36 advisers appointed by the Republican candidate for the hard fought election campaign.

Tarar, who originally hails from Mandi Bahuddin, is expected to be given a key role in the Trump Administration.

On Sunday, in an exclusive interview by phone from Florida, Tarar confirmed to The Express Tribune that he was approached by the Government of Pakistan as part of its efforts to reach out to Donald Trump and his administration.

Tarar, who moved to the US more than 30 years back and got nationality in the 90s, said the president-elect would certainly adopt a ‘very tough’ stance against terrorism. “I can tell you that there will be straight talk now onwards on this issue,” said Tarar, who still frequently visits his country of origin and owns a house in Islamabad.

In the changing scenario, he has a word of caution for Pakistan saying the country “needs to put its own house in order because the Trump administration will not tolerate double talk on the issue of terrorism anymore.”

A blessing in disguise for Pakistan?

When asked what would be his advice to the new administration, Tarar said being a “proud Pakistani and a proud Muslim American” he would request the new US president to review financial assistance being given to Pakistan.

“For decades, American money did not reach common Pakistanis and unfortunately only benefited the rich elite,” Tarar said bluntly, adding that it should change now.

On foreign policy issues, Tarar said the new US president would revisit the policies being pursued by his predecessors.

For Pakistan, the most immediate concern is that how Trump would look at this part of the world, be it the situation in Afghanistan or tensions with neighbouring India.

Tarar said the new US President would definitely have his own strategy on Afghanistan and issues prevailing in South Asia, although he would not divulge details about the proposed review.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2016.


Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (17)

  • Farad
    Nov 14, 2016 - 9:15AM

    Even he is accusing government of double talk, only people inside country are not aware of this. Whole world says that, but people of Pakistan live in denial and don’t know or accept it.Recommend

  • rich
    Nov 14, 2016 - 10:48AM

    I thought Pakistan would break all links with usa after trumps win

    trump and putin will get this world straightRecommend

  • Asim Ali
    Nov 14, 2016 - 11:01AM

    The day I stop hearing 500 Azans at the same time at Fajr, will be the day, when NAP is implemented and the world will take us seriouslyRecommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Nov 14, 2016 - 11:14AM

    Can’t wait for Trump and/or his aides to ask the Pakistani FO types to explain Pakistan’s Good Taliban Fixation that has cost so many American lives in Afghanistan!Recommend

  • Haramullah Fattuddin
    Nov 14, 2016 - 12:02PM

    Now in two minutes, Dr. Shakeel Afridi will be freed or deported to USA.Recommend

  • Donkey Kong
    Nov 14, 2016 - 12:46PM

    “needs to put its own house in order because the Trump administration will not tolerate double talk on the issue of terrorism anymore.”

    As far as international terrorism and violence is concerned, no country needs to put its house in order more than the United States.. so, Pakistan’s response should be “ok, but you first.”Recommend

  • HSK
    Nov 14, 2016 - 1:31PM

    Once the fanfare of Mr. Tarar’s perseverance subsides; let us remind ourselves as commoners that foreign, domestic and strategic US policies are ‘not’ formulated in white house. White house has always been and shall always be a mere policy executioner. Recommend

  • auginpk
    Nov 14, 2016 - 3:23PM

    There will be unconventional President in USA and therefore unconventional approach is likely to succeed most.

    Engagement with USA on non-military businesses will greatly help Pakistani civilian government and may bring peace to subcontinent.Recommend

  • FAZ
    Nov 14, 2016 - 3:36PM

    @Haramullah Fattuddin:
    Risk of having a heart attack is lot high for Dr. ShakeelRecommend

  • BrainBro
    Nov 14, 2016 - 4:23PM

    Trump selected Steve Bannon as his chief of staff. Anyone who is in the newspaper business knows that Brietbart news (steve is its founder) is a KKK inspired alt-right website.
    Trump just chose a Muslim-hating, Hindu-hating, Jew-hating white nationalist as his lead guy in the white house.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Nov 14, 2016 - 5:06PM

    Too bad for you that Trump picked Mr. Preibus as chief of staff!
    Please try to keep up with the news rather than making up fantasies!Recommend

  • cautious
    Nov 14, 2016 - 8:16PM

    Suggest you release Dr. Shakeel Afridi now before Trump assumes office – that way you can appear magnanimous. Recommend

  • Mr Obvious
    Nov 14, 2016 - 9:07PM

    Proactive move that has zero downside. Recommend

  • Saeed Masood
    Nov 14, 2016 - 10:45PM

    The secret is in being honest and true, if Pakistan will adopt honest policy everything will be fine…Inshahallah.Recommend

  • M. Emad
    Nov 14, 2016 - 10:50PM

    Pakistan should free Dr. Shakeel Afridi before Donald Trump took office in January 2017.Recommend

  • Sodomite
    Nov 14, 2016 - 10:59PM

    You justify your name in that statement of yours. Recommend

  • Trumpeteer
    Nov 15, 2016 - 5:03PM

    Trump is good for Pakistan for all the reasons given in the above article. Recommend

More in Pakistan