WASHINGTON: Former president Pervez Musharraf on Friday voiced disappointment that US President Barack Obama was not stopping in his country on the sidelines of his maiden visit to India.
“I would take it as a disappointment, yes, indeed,” Musharraf told MSNBC television. Musharraf also criticised Obama for not speaking about Kashmir, the Himalayan region disputed between Pakistan and India, saying: “It doesn’t resonate well with the people of Pakistan.”
“They take it that the United States or the president of the United States is not that concerned about Pakistan’s own sensitivities and interests,” he said.
Obama was en route Friday for Mumbai and New Delhi on a trip aimed at convincing India that he wants to push ahead relations between the world’s two largest democracies after an early focus on Pakistan and China.
For many US policymakers, it would be unthinkable for Obama to visit Pakistan on the sidelines of the long-promoted trip as Obama is hoping to show India that he sees it as a global power and not simply as a regional player. But Obama has a delicate balancing act as he has also tried to convince Pakistan that he sees the country as more than simply a conduit into Afghanistan for war operations.
Ahead of the India trip, Obama invited Musharraf’s civilian successor, President Asif Ali Zardari, for a future visit to Washington and announced that he would travel to Pakistan next year. The United States has tried to dent Pakistan’s rampant anti-Americanism by approving a $7.5 billion aid package aimed at building schools, infrastructure and democratic institutions last year.
Last month, the Obama administration also proposed an additional $2 billion for Pakistan in military assistance, despite misgivings in India.