Situation in Pakistan to remain volatile: Panetta

Published: October 12, 2011
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks on "Defense Priorities: Today and Tomorrow" at the Wilson Center in Washington, October 11, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks on "Defense Priorities: Today and Tomorrow" at the Wilson Center in Washington, October 11, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: After weeks of a public spat between Pakistan and the United States over the Haqqani network, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that “the situation in Pakistan is likely to remain volatile.”

Addressing an audience at an event titled Defence Priorities: Today and Tomorrow, organised by the Woodrow Wilson Centre for International Scholars, Panetta said that the United States needed to maintain an enduring relationship with Afghanistan, so that they could together fight against al Qaeda and continue to deny them safe havens.

“We cannot resolve issues of Afghanistan without solving issues of Pakistan,” Panetta said in response to a question. “A stable and secure Pakistan is vital for a secure Afghanistan,” he added. “Diplomatic efforts need to continue to work with Pakistan.”

The defence secretary conceded that the relationship with Pakistan was difficult and said that while Pakistan had cooperated in efforts against al Qaeda and continued to work with the United States, “we have great differences, especially with regard to the relationship they maintain with some militant groups.”

Panetta added that there was a need for Pakistan and India to work on resolving their differences. He said Pakistan was also stockpiling its nuclear arsenal, and highlighted how Iran and North Korea remained threats due to their nuclear programmes.

Panetta’s speech largely focused on the need to have a military in the 21st century with the growing fiscal crisis in the United States.

“Our job is not to accept destiny, but to create destiny,” said Panetta, adding that his job was that the US emerged out of this crisis with a strong military force, while the country maintains economic strength.

Panetta also warned against across the board cuts in military spending and said that there was a need to not repeat mistakes of the past.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • pakistani
    Oct 12, 2011 - 1:28AM

    and what about Israel’s nuclear arsenal? Fooling through media to fool masses is no longer working. Take all mommy daddy soldiers back to US to save face.


  • nuclei
    Oct 12, 2011 - 1:31AM

    Panetta said Pakistan was also increasing its nuclear arsenal

    and it was Roosevelt who fondly used to say “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” , so why is Panetta complaining if Pakistan is following Teddy’s ideology.


  • Gen Pasha (retd)
    Oct 12, 2011 - 1:39AM

    Pakistans biggest issue is members of its own society that have been brainwashed with extremist ideology over the years. Many of them don’t even know they have been brainwashed because it has become the norm!
    Today our greatest threat is not external it is internal – the members of our society that are Jahil enough to think that only their version of Islam has a right to exist and anyone that disagree’s with them should be beheaded. The members of our society that shower rose petals on killers, the members of our society that host TV shows to sow the seeds of hate, the members of our society that hold public office yet interact and host known terrorists, the members of our society that tolerate fellow pakistanis not being given their full rights as equal citizens because they don’t belong to the same sect. It may already be to late for pakistan and we only have ourselves to blame


  • Babloo
    Oct 12, 2011 - 1:57AM

    I think Pakistan is increasing the nuclear arsenal, even as the country drowns in debt and poverty, because it believes that one day, you will pay to buy the ‘nuclear bombs’ from them, at a good price – say 1 billion a ‘bumb’.

    Thats why they are considered ‘strategic assets’ by the brilliant planners at GHQ who have perfectly planned and executed the destiny of Pakistan for past 60 plus years.


  • Balma
    Oct 12, 2011 - 2:02AM

    Huma, this paper is based in Paksitan.
    Your article makes lots of assumptions. Why should people in Pakistan be so well versed in things American?
    For example, which army’s budget cuts he is talking about?


  • Roflcopter
    Oct 12, 2011 - 2:43AM

    @Babloo, yeah like the military and nukes are the reason there is poverty in Pakistan, seriously just grow up


  • amir jafri
    Oct 12, 2011 - 2:51AM

    Leon Pinachchio is right!Recommend

  • rehmat
    Oct 12, 2011 - 3:02AM

    “so why is Panetta complaining if Pakistan is following Teddy’s ideology.”

    When did Pakistan start speaking softly. On every single occassion, they talk about ‘hum atomi taqat hai’.


  • Oct 12, 2011 - 3:10AM

    Too bad they couldn’t ‘create’ their destiny the way they wanted in Afghanistan.


  • Oct 12, 2011 - 7:34AM

    @Gen Pasha (retd): Fully agree with you. The thing that worries me is your last sentence, which states,

    “It may already be to late for Pakistan and we only have ourselves to blame.”

    This has become our Achilles’ heel and how do we over-come it? It can’t over simplified by saying, “it will iron itself out.” There are no simple solutions or quick fixes. My Salams to you and all heartfelt Pakistanis.


  • maxwell
    Oct 12, 2011 - 7:52AM

    @Roflcopter….yes Babloo is right. Obsession for these is one of the major reasons for Pakistan’s poverty…it just did not put its priorities right since its birth in 47. Economy was always on back burner, public interest was constantly ignored, it was never a welfare state. And industry does Pakistan have today that it can be proud of?? How could any industry survive if there is no power, despite being a “atomy taaqat”?? If you have nuclear energy, why is no one wants to deal with you in nuclear energy sector?? wake up kid…there are things that are wrong…learn to accept them at least, if you cant correct them.


  • Az
    Oct 12, 2011 - 8:19AM

    despite losing war in battlefield,Panetta is still trying hard to justify their blunders so that US army could suck blood of americans who are already protesting against unemployment


  • Oct 12, 2011 - 8:46AM

    Panetta is just trying to spread disinformation and adding his voice to subversion campaign against Pakistan. If he is so concern about nuclear safety why not he take a trip to Fukiyama. It is good Pakistan keeping any eye on western so called diplomats spreading Allah knows what in out country and our neighbors.


  • Bilafond
    Oct 12, 2011 - 9:24AM

    Americans are in the ‘Quick Sands” of Afghanistan. Any one comes for their rescue they will pull them inside and get out. Leave their allies like they always have done. Those who do not learn from history always repeat it. The Super Power Wars of Afghanistan will give plenty for people to earn by rewriting history. Plot is the same the actors have changed. First the British, then The Soviets, now the Americans and in future Mr Karzai’s best friend India. There is plenty of space for graves and monuments.


  • Pundit
    Oct 12, 2011 - 9:43AM

    The problem with the nuclear country in question is that it hosted OBL for over 5 years two hours away from the national capital !

    Absolute Power with Absolute Irresponsibility.


  • True Pakistani
    Oct 12, 2011 - 10:01AM

    Then what mr. panetta? why you think we should not increase our Nuclear power to ensure our safety and when you talk about ” relationship with militants, you are the biggest ally with the biggest terrorist country Israel”.
    In addition to that, if the ” nobel US ” really wants peace in Afghanistan then why the hell you see a problem when we are negotiating with the militant to bring peace? why you think you can do every thing right?


  • Oct 12, 2011 - 10:14AM

    Sense of the pudding is in eating that means the ability
    to eat and digest.The meaning of power is real only when
    power can be used. Unused power is worst than load
    shedding.The land of the pure Pakistan citizens and
    their ruling troika should know this.Leon Panetta is making
    it clear war against terror is now in Pakistani soil and
    going on.Not Afghanistan is the field of Long War. War
    is now on in the heart of the strategic depth in Pakistan.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna


  • Noor Butt
    Oct 12, 2011 - 11:10AM

    Jews and Indians are so concerned about nuclear assets of Pakistan that they won’t let go any opportuniy to defame Pakistan. They are using USA. And the govt. of the USA is helping India and Israel to achieve their goals at the cost of American taxpayers. Long live the USA.
    For the information, both Israel and India are violators of UN resolutions. Long live the US.
    By the way if pakistan’s nuclear assets are not safe, Pakistan chooses to make them safe by putting those assets in Iran, Turky, Syria, Saudi Arabia and a few in Egypet. How would west, India and other would react? Proliferation !


  • Pundit
    Oct 12, 2011 - 11:18AM

    “Situation in Pakistan to remain volatile: Panetta
    By Huma Imtiaz”

    Isn’t “Volatile” a diplomatic speak for things far worse?

  • saba kamran
    Oct 12, 2011 - 12:04PM

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday appeared to soft-pedal the strain in US-Pakistan relations, saying Washington was deeply committed to a long-standing relationship with Pakistan “despite the complexities and challenges that sometimes arise”.
    “Though we have had our differences, both of our countries recognise the critical need for continued cooperation across a wide range of issues and especially in our shared fight against terrorism. Together we have worked to destroy, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda,” she said. Now we should give importance to such statements that are trying to improve the relationship with both countries. At the moment we can not afford fragile ties with US.


  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Oct 12, 2011 - 1:08PM

    America is a nation ruled by LIARS. Colin Powel lied in UNO on weapons of mass destruction. Obama lied when he confirmed that RAYMOND DAVIS was a diplomat and not a SPY & now Leon Panetta is talking through his hat!!!


  • Antanu
    Oct 12, 2011 - 2:31PM

    @Gen Pasha (retd):
    the article is on different issue…why are you so much obessed with pak bashing.Recommend

  • Gen Pasha (retd)
    Oct 12, 2011 - 3:15PM

    @Iftikhar-ur-Rehman: ask yourself 1 question – who has more liars in official positions- Pakistan or USA? – I rest my case


  • Gen Pasha (retd)
    Oct 12, 2011 - 3:26PM

    @the Skunk: thanks for your comments – the only path to save Pakistan is to remove the cancer of extremism with a zero tolerance approach with no exceptions no matter what position you hold in society. In parallel a complete reset of the way we educate our children because they are our future


  • Ishrat Salim
    Oct 12, 2011 - 4:10PM

    @ Reply to Antanu…..because Gen ( R ) is a patriotic Pakistani & so are we….in any situation where existense of our country is threatened we assure you we will come on one platform….try it…..Recommend

  • Noor
    Oct 12, 2011 - 5:01PM

    @saba kamran:
    We’re heading towards total destruction, if we think that we can’t fulfill our needs without outsiders (let it be US or China) just due to our materialistic mentality.

    @Pundit like people did try isolating Muslims 100 yrs back, that’s why our Quaid chose Muslim League after getting the title of “Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity”; the day is not far when you will get even more jealous due to better days ahead for Pakistan.

    History is repeating itself, now these Hindus & Israel have joined hands with US to defame & weaken Pakistan just as they tried to destroy Pakistan’s Nukes back in 1998, by aggressive usage of media, where a lie is spoken so many times that even most wise people take it as a truth.


  • Gen Pasha (retd)
    Oct 12, 2011 - 7:08PM

    @Antanu: I have fought in 2 wars for my country – my brother and uncle have spilled blood for this country. Many close friends have defended my country and paid for it with their lives. So please don’t lecture me on Pak bashing – I love my country

    The article is talking about a stable and secure pakistan and the only way to get that is for our population to live in peace and harmony ,with equal rights for all and a just law that treats everyone the same. This was laid down by our founding father Mr Jinnah but we have drifted a long way – maybe you need to read the article again Recommend

  • Kirmani
    Oct 12, 2011 - 7:49PM

    @Gen Pasha (retd):
    Thanks for your service and sacrifice, General – your thoughts are profound. Why don’t you serve the country further in some other capacity? It sure can use moderate and sensible leaders.


    Oct 12, 2011 - 10:56PM

    @Gen Pasha (retd):
    I agree with the whole text of your comments. Military is patronising the militants as if their existence depends upon them. The religious intolerance is at its peak and lawlesness is the order of the day with law enforcing agencies watching helplessly whereas mullahs and radical elements having a upper hand almost in all parts of the country. The country is going to dogs but the govt and the miltary are pretending as if all is well and under control.


  • Bilafond
    Oct 13, 2011 - 11:25AM

    @R S JOHAR:

    Your argument is based on benefit of hindsight. When these were fighting for Americans as Mujahideen’s against Soviets, then they were okay. They were abandoned as Americans left, these goons then turned their guns and went into Kashmir supported by us again. Now that is over they are back against the Americans who conceived and gave them birth in the first place.. they have now become terrorists. What was our role. NEXT Elections — lets vote properly and stop whining and grumbling. Pakistan is not changing its location and neither me and you leaving this country (unless you are a non Pakistani). Pakistan ZindabadRecommend

  • Mannan
    Oct 13, 2011 - 1:34PM

    @Gen Pasha (retd):
    “I Salute You, Sir” for your bravery & your sacrifices.
    I totally agree with you about what needs to be done to make Pakistan “Secure, Safe & Prosperous”, and to bring M. A. Jinnah’s (Qaid-e-Azam) dream to fruition.
    NB: It’s NEVER too late! Where there’s a will, there’s a way. All it takes is a single person to start the ball rolling. Like you, there are many Pakistanis who want this dream to become a REALITY. So, don’t despair – have hope & be positive. Your (and others) sacrifices have been worthwhile.


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Oct 13, 2011 - 5:49PM

    Jinmah wanted a secular state as muslim home land but the desire to snatch Kashmir and some parts of Afghanistan through proxy war turned it a hell land for muslims ,.,.

    Is it not a correct observation ?


  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Oct 13, 2011 - 11:23PM

    If existing American Secretary of Defense & Director CIA remained in office for little more time,one should expect 3rd World War in this region.God save us all !!


  • G. Din
    Oct 14, 2011 - 2:01AM

    @k. Salim Jahangir:
    “If existing American Secretary of Defense & Director CIA remained in office for little more time,one should expect 3rd World War in this region.God save us all !!”
    I suppose when you talk about “the region”, you mean “Pakistan” because there are no other antagonists in this region except Pakistan even if we include China in it. Even Iran would not dare join it knowing how the whole Arab world is itching for a fight with it. How long do you suppose that 3rd World War will last? All of 3 days. Your delusions of being of some worldly significance could really, really, literally kill you! Even God couldn’t save you then. Why should anyone else care? You are at odds with all of them!


  • Noor Butt
    Oct 14, 2011 - 2:36AM

    The present civilian government of Pakistan is incompetent. It has no idea that Pakistan is already under economic attack. If the present govt. Is allowed to complete it’s tenure, I am afraid Pakistan might disintegrat. The economy is far resilient than some economists think. If Pakistan pulls out of present economic, then Americans would think other ways to destabilize Pakistan. American Secretary od Defense & Director CIA are playing very dangerous game that can lead to WW3. I agree with Mr. Jahangir. If there is no Pakistan, there will be no India and no Israel. Pakistan must increase it nuclear arsenal.
    I hope we are wrong.


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