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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2783

'Lets build trust first' - Pak urges US

Wajid Ali Syed - Washington Correspondent

Washington DC, 11 April, ( Pakistan has urged the United States to foster the anti-terrorism partnership on the basis of trust and sovereign equality, with its top diplomat in Washington cautioning against the notion of attaching ‘intrusive’ conditions to American assistance for his nation.

Talking to American and South Asian intelligentsia, Pakistan's Ambassador Husain Haqqani emphasized respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and its state institutions saying, Pakistan’s concerns on the issue of US drone attacks should be addressed sooner rather than later. The early, both allies, resolve their mutual issues, the more concentration on the anti-terrorism efforts would be possible.

Appearing jointly with his Afghan counterpart Said Tayeb Jawad for a discussion on the Obama Administration’s way forward in the region at the Artalntic Council, Ambassador Haqqani said Pakistan is fighting terrorism for its own survival. He said, "It is important that the institutions that are to be partners in these (anti-terrorism) efforts do not feel under attack, whether it is ISI or the Pakistani military". He emphasized that "the lack of trust will be addressed by talking to us not by beating down on us".

The ambassador’s comments came in the backdrop of a recent move in the US House of Representative which vows to assist Pakistan in economic and security fields with certain conditions attached.

Both the Obama administration and the Capitol Hill have voiced their support for tripling socio-economic assistance for Pakistan to $ 1.5 billion annually for at least five years. Pakistan points out that it has lost economic activity to terrorism unrest to the tune of more than $ 30 billion, and that the US and industrialized nations must come forward with this amount Marshal plan to ease economic difficulties.

Criticizing the conditions attached to the economic aid, he said, a company on the verge of failure is able to get a bigger bailout than a nation that has been accused of failure. He said Pakistan and Afghanistan deserve more resources than a failed insurance company or a car company that could not make products it could sell.

The envoy asked the U.S. Congress to reconsider the terms of allocating greater resources for the region, described as a top priority by the United States. However, he added, Pakistan understands the importance of using the money accountably and effectively. "But there is a difference between accountability and intrusiveness. And that is something that needs to be understood."

Regarding the impact of predator drone attacks against militants hiding on the Pakistani soil, he observed, they do not show sufficient regard for Pakistan’s national sovereignty. It will be easier for Pakistanis to accept the American technology being used to take out terrorists if it is done in partnership with Pakistan. Then there is a concern on collateral damage, he said, explaining that the loss of life angers the people and provides opportunity to al-Qaeda for waging its propaganda.

Commenting on the idea of a contact group, he said "it is much better for us to be able to engage bilaterally with the various regional powers instead of trying to create a new institutional mechanism which could run into some kind of logjam because there will be too many people, too many ideas."

He explained that one of the reasons behind the many problems in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan since 1979 is that too many external actors have been involved which includes Al-Qaeda.

"Al-Qaeda is not something that is indigenous to Pakistan and Afghanistan. These are people who came from outside, with an outside idea," he said.

- Asian Tribune -

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