‘Deeper engagement’: Pakistan wants more than war cooperation, US told

Visiting Senator McCain says abandoning Pakistan ‘not in US interest’.


Express August 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD:



The Pakistani leadership on Saturday reiterated their call for an enduring partnership with the United States and forging a relationship beyond cooperation on the war against terrorism, with specific terms of engagement.


The American senator and former presidential candidate John McCain met President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani separately to discuss Pak-US relations, among other regional issues. McCain’s visit comes among a flurry of diplomatic efforts to put strained Pak-US ties back on track.

(Read: Repairing relations with the United States)

Deeper engagement

In his meeting with McCain, Prime Minister Gilani said he looked forward to a deeper level of engagement with the US in all areas of bilateral relations, including energy and economic cooperation.

Gilani also appreciated Senator McCain’s continued support to Pakistan in the US Congress and said he would welcome a visit by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

His sentiments were echoed by President Zardari whom McCain met later at the Presidency.

“We need to build a framework for an enduring strategic partnership,” said Zardari. “The president reiterated his call for specifying clear and unambiguous terms of engagement in the war against militants, in order to avoid adverse impacts on bilateral relations,” said presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar after the meeting.

Zardari told the visiting senator that the war against terrorism is a long-drawn war and it is important that the root causes of militancy are also addressed, Babar said.

The president called for a multi-pronged strategy encompassing socio-economic, political and educational measures besides judicious use of power to address the challenge of militancy and militant mindset, he added.

“With direct and indirect economic losses amounting to $68 billion and 35000 martyrs behind us, we were determined to pursue this war till its logical conclusion,” Babar quoted the president as saying. The president also raised the issue of recent moves in the Congress to reduce civilian assistance to Pakistan.

The issue of delays in reconstruction opportunity zones (ROZ) legislation and Enterprise Fund were also discussed during the meeting.

Senator McCain acknowledged that relations between the US and Pakistan had seen difficult times in the past but said that Washington considers Islamabad as an important country. It is not in the US national interest to abandon Pakistan once again, he said.

He assured the leadership of America’s continued support to the people of Pakistan in their endeavour to secure a stable and prosperous future.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2011.

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COMMENTS (28)

malik | 9 years ago | Reply Just ask McCain to work towards declaring Pakistan as the 51st state of the United States of America and be done with it. And there is no need to keep going to them asking for more money in the name of deeper engagement. Let's throw this challenge to Americans and let's see if they have the guts and courage to accept this rational proposal that will benefit both the countries. If they don't accept this, US will stand exposed as the one practicing double standards and hypocrisy.
G. Din | 9 years ago | Reply

@Khurram: "If war had lasted a little more longer chances were, we could have easily reached Delhi." Now then here is a nice solution: Chinese do the dance on the Himalayan peaks. This ties down many, many divisions of the fourth largest army of the world. Pakistan takes a cake walk to Red Fort and hoists the Pakistani flag on it. And the circle is complete. As simple as that! Sorry, missed one crucial detail. Baniyas along the Grand Trunk Road shower the lazily walking Pakistani soldiers with rose petals and thank them for bringing back the hugely beneficial Islamic rule to their poverty-stricken country which they had so sorely missed all these years! How about that! All this set in motion by a Chinese Bangra on those icy peaks! Not bad, eh!

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