Opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah has said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif failed to cash in on the opportunity of the superpower’s dependency on Islamabad for a safe exit from Afghanistan next year during his Washington trip.
“We should not have pinned such high hopes on the premier’s visit, as not a single demand was materialised during Nawaz’s maiden trip to Washington,” Shah said while talking to The Express Tribune on Friday.
He said that the prime minster had left for the US with a long wish list, but he could not press the Obama administration to approve a single demand including the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, stopping of drones or any financial favour.
“Nawaz had good cards to play, particularly the US dependency on Pakistan during the exit of its forces from Afghanistan in 2014. This card was not played in an effective and efficient manner,” said Shah.
Commenting on the willingness of the US to release $1.6 billion aid, the opposition leader said it was part of the assistance package which had been approved by the US administration under the Kerry-Lugar Bill. “This is not a new financial programme and it was fiercely opposed by the PML-N in the past,” he said. According to Shah, this is 80 per cent military and only 20 per cent civilian aid.
“We should stop dependence on foreign countries. We are the seventh superpower in the world and should be self-sufficient and self-reliant,” he maintained.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2013.
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