Pakistan’s outgoing ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman on Saturday asked Washington to end drone strikes in the tribal areas in order to help put the relationship between Pakistan and the US, which has improved from a low-point in 2011, on a sustained upward trajectory.
In a farewell speech to a gathering of senior American officials and Pakistani-Americans, Rehman, who resigned from her post this week after the May 11 election, also called for using trade as the engine for an enhanced bilateral partnership.
Commenting on the contentious issue of drone strikes the US carries out in pursuit of militant targets on Pakistani soil, she noted that this kind of footprint roils anti-American discontent and fuels the “cognitive disconnect” between the two nations.
“This is one thing that has to change if we are ever to be sanguine that we are on the path to an upward bilateral trajectory,” she added.
She said terrorism is very much Pakistan’s problem too and the people of the country have been bravely fighting it, as proved by the May 11 election.
The farewell reception was attended by top US officials including White house advisor Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, USAID Administrator Rajev Shah and former US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter, American think tank experts and journalists.
Ambassador Rehman said that as she leaves her post, she has the satisfaction of knowing that Pakistan and the US “are on the cusp of a new normal, a less hyperbolic relationship, but one founded as much on the sustainable continuum of shared democratic values instead of only the sharp, edge of strategic compulsions.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2013.