Rabbani urges PM to shun meeting with Pompeo

Published: September 3, 2018
Raza Rabbani. PHOTO: FILE

Raza Rabbani. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD .: Senate former chairman Raza Rabbani has urged Prime Minister Imran Khan not to meet the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during his upcoming visit to Pakistan, saying the visit is part of the US tactics to pressurise Pakistan into ‘doing more.’

“This is against the protocol. The US secretary of state should meet his counterpart, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi (and not the PM). For the PM not meeting the secretary of state is very much within the official protocol and diplomatic norms,” Rabbani said on Monday.

The senator, who is also a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, was talking to journalists with reference to American officials’ upcoming visit to Islamabad on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Senate session.

Rabbani also slammed the US decision to stop payment of $300 million to Islamabad after accusing the country of failure to take action against terrorist sanctuaries allegedly operating in Pakistan.

Pentagon cancels $300 million ‘aid’ to Pakistan

“This is not the aid, in the first place. This is the amount payable on part of the US to Pakistan for the expenditure Pakistan has incurred in the war on terror.

“Resorting to this kind of move as blocking the payment of arrears—these are all pressure tactics—to get Pakistan give in to the US demands to do more as per Washington’s sweet will.”

He said this has happened for the second time and is unacceptable.

“They also made public transcript of Pompeo’s phone call to the PM. This just adds insult to injury. No need (for the PM) to meet him. Earlier, the US pressurised the IMF (International Monetary Fund) not to give a bailout package to Pakistan saying this package would serve interests of China,” he added.

A day earlier, the US announced to block $300 million funds for Pakistan. This is the second time in the ongoing year the US blocked funds payable to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). Earlier, the US had blocked $500 million payable to Pakistan.

It’s not aid, US owes money to Pakistan in CSF: Qureshi

Addressing media on Sunday, Foreign Minister Qureshi earlier insisted that the funds stopped by the US were not an aid but “our money for the losses we suffered and expenses incurred in the war on terror.”

On August 23, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Pakistan’s newly elected PM Imran Khan and wished him success. A statement from the State Department’s spokesperson Heather Nauert about Khan-Pompeo conversation said Secretary Pompeo “raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan and its vital role in promoting the Afghan peace process.”

This attracted a quick rebuttal from Pakistan’s Foreign Office.

“Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by US State Department on today’s phone call between PM Khan and Secretary Pompeo. There was no mention at all in the conversation about terrorists operating in Pakistan. This should be immediately corrected,” the Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Faisal tweeted on August 23.

The next day, the State Department’s spokesperson said “We stand by our readout,” referring to the press release issued after Khan-Pompeo conversation.

“I know the State Department’s spokesperson said ‘we stand by our readout’ but with all due respect let me say that this is not true and is in complete contradiction with facts. Mistakes do happen, might have happened (from them). What we have reported is true,” the foreign minister told Senate last Tuesday.

Recently, in what came as embarrassment to Pakistan, the US released the transcript of the said telephonic conversation between Khan and Pompeo.

Another Senator from Pakistan People’s Party Sherry Rehman tweeted “The Pompeo visit will be a stop-over where he will press for Pakistan accepting onus for securing a political settlement in Afghanistan. Pakistan should NOT agree to take any more responsibility than we already have. Instead, remind them, nicely, that the $500 CSF they cut earlier is NOT aid.”

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Reader Comments (8)

  • Gulzar Sm
    Sep 3, 2018 - 7:09PM

    We should negate blame of the USA that the Muslims are terrorists. Instead the USA should be realized that the USA and all other countries poking their noses in the affairs of the Muslims are the terrorists. The intruders should immediately quit the Muslim countries so that peace and harmony is restored all over the world. I am at a loss to understand that why the intruders / terrorists left their countries and traveled to the distant Muslims’ countries for destroying them without justification. They should control the terrorism in their own countries. We would control the same in our own country!Recommend

  • AK
    Sep 3, 2018 - 10:09PM

    According to protocol PM Khan does not have to meet Sec. of State Pompeo whose rank demands that our Foreign Minister, Mr. Qureshi, his counterpart, should meet him.

    And this should not be considered insulting to the Sec of State or to the USA.Recommend

  • pathetic
    Sep 3, 2018 - 11:47PM

    Typical chest thumping nonsense. Hillary Clinton met with every major World leader on the planet when she was Sec of State — nobody took offense. Anti USA promoters are popular in Pakistan – it’s one of the reason that Pakistan is in its current crippled state. Recommend

  • Falcon
    Sep 4, 2018 - 12:55AM

    When one has little leverage, one does not have the luxury of playing diplomatic warrant of precedence. Not meeting Pompeo, eliminates all chances of some sort of breakthrough. If nothing else, Trump’s team is not professional, they rely on first impressions. Any opportunity to turn them around to look favorably towards Pakistan should not be lost. If US does not come around to reimbursing our own money due us, we can use the stick on them later. For now, the carrot may be a better option. With Pakistan as an ally, US defeated the Soviets. USA knows that without Pakistan, they too can be defeated in Afghanistan. Make sure no one forgets that. Trump is in the White House, but Islamabad holds the “trump” card.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Sep 4, 2018 - 1:55AM

    Hmm, Pakistani “expenses for fighting terrorism” somehow also included expenses for supporting Good Taliban Proxies in Afghanistan!Recommend

  • Anees Ahmad
    Sep 4, 2018 - 2:26AM

    I think PM will meet and thats ok, since he met with Iranian FM too. Just keep it brief and stay coordinated with Qureshi and Army, thats the key.Recommend

  • Ar
    Sep 4, 2018 - 4:51AM

    PM is not obligated to meet Pompeo but in the best interest of both countries they should meet. Dialog is the only way out.Recommend

  • ABC
    Sep 4, 2018 - 8:46AM

    Mr Rubbani somehow failed to mention it during PPPs regime Recommend

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