A day after Pakistan reopened Nato transit routes, Pakistan’s top diplomat in Washington quashed rumours of a secret deal with the United States.
In an exclusive interview with Munizae Jahangir of Express News, Ambassador Sherry Rehman lauded the US for what she called ‘strategic patience’ and said the decision was an ‘important milestone in bilateral relations’ of the two countries.
She added that no ‘secret’ deals had been cut and that the government’s move to refer “matters of national security to Parliament for the first time in the country’s history” was meant to bring it under public scrutiny. Ambassador Rehman said the words ‘regret’ and ‘condolences’ were put forward many times by the US, but that “sorry is what we had asked for”.
Asked whether the US apology was conditional and contrary to Pakistan’s earlier demands, she said the Salala tragedy was clearly mentioned as the reason for the hiatus in bilateral relations and that makes it ‘meaningful to Pakistan’. While the opposition has criticised the government for not taking into account the parliamentary recommendations which include calling off the drone campaign, she said such a backlash was inevitable in a ‘large democracy such as ours’. She said that in the past decisions on national security were taken by the executive behind closed doors – but “we not only gave due deference, but also spent a lot of time trying to develop a consensus with Parliament”.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2012.