Pak-US strategic dialogue, an attempt to remove mistrust
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Oct 21, IRNA -- Pakistan and the US are likely to discuss variety of issues at the third round of Pak-America strategic dialogue in Washington to remove mistrust existing between the two countries.
The talks come after Pakistan temporarily shut down the main crossing for war supplies heading into Afghanistan, infuriated by a NATO helicopter strike that killed Pakistani soldiers in the border area.
Analysts say United States and Pakistan will try this week to get their crisis-prone relationship back on track.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistanis are feeling distrustful of the American government because of the increasing tensions between the two countries.
He cited a recent Pew Research Centre poll, which indicated that 60 percent of Pakistanis view the United States as an enemy.
“The abandonment by the US of its most precious political human values each time it had to choose between dictatorship and democracy no doubt contributes to the findings of the recent Pew survey which shows that an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis consider America not a friend but rather embarrassingly as an enemy.”
Frank Ruggiero, the US deputy special representative on Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the talks aimed to 'move beyond these tensions.'
Pakistani delegation would be led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would lead US delegation.
Strategic Dialogue working group leaders from both governments will report out on the tangible outcomes of their work.
Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and other senior officials will be among the Pakistani delegation.
During the Ministerial-level bilateral Strategic Dialogue that was launched in Washington on March 24-25, 2010 thirteen separate working groups on agriculture; communications and public diplomacy; defense; economics and finance; education; energy; health; law enforcement and counter-terrorism; market access; science and technology; security, strategic stability and nonproliferation; water; and women’s empowerment have met.
Pakistan on Tuesday has told US to respect its “sovereignty”, with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi saying Islamabad is an “ally and not a satellite” and said that border violations and drone attacks had taken Pak-US relations two steps back.
“You have to realise the political price you pay in Pakistan and that my government pays as your friend from the almost daily drone assaults on our territory,” he said.
“If unmanned drone attacks were not difficult enough for our people to absorb, the recent acts of NATO helicopters in Pakistan, killing Pakistani soldiers, are nothing short of infuriating,” he said.
Mr. Qureshi said, “People of Pakistan may see half a century of indisputable evidence of the US dancing the dictators who subverted the human rights, using our people and soldiers as surrogates in proxy wars.”
Analyst in Pakistan say that what is common to such dialogues is that they are more of unilateral demands than a true exchange of views and priorities.
They say that Pakistan is passing through a dilemma nowadays as, on one hand, the government wants to cooperate NATO forces on war against terror, but on the other, the US and now NATO have been violating its sovereignty.
The government of Pakistan has been following the strategy which is not acceptable to most of its public on war against terror. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf supported the US policy of war on terror but failed to convince his public against the war.
There is a lot of pressure on Pakistani government from the public to come out of the war on terror as they do not consider the war as their own war.
People say that the United States is following an unrealistic policy and would not be allowed to implement its agenda in Pakistan.
One of the gripes on the Pakistan side is that all ?fresh’ US aid, even emergency, flood-related aid, is being subtracted from the Kerry-Lugar money already pledged, thereby diminishing the latter’s impact.
Analysts say that there is very much a sense that the ?transactional’ American approach of old to relations with Pakistan continues to hold and that the US tries to give the least amount possible for the maximum concessions wrested from Pakistan.
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30032246
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