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Relations with US under stress for three months, admits Aziz

Published May 13, 2016 07:04am


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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz conceded on Thursday that relations with the US had been under stress for the past three months because of conditions Washington had attached to the funding of F-16s sale.

The confession was made by the adviser while winding up a debate in the Senate on an adjournment motion on the US decision to withdraw proposed subsidy on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan.

The adviser said that Pakistan-US relations had come to a standstill in 2011 because of unfortunate incidents of WikiLeaks, Raymond Davis, Abbottabad operation, Datta Khel and Salala. Since 2013, he said Pakistan’s relations with the US had witnessed an “upward trajectory”.

“In the past three months, however, this upward trajectory in relations has witnessed a downward slide, as reflected in a decision of the US Congress to block partial funding for eight F-16 aircraft,” he said.

Mr Aziz said that the US action might have been caused by concerns raised by Washington on the nuclear issue which had been categorically rejected by Pakistan.

Haqqani network still top US concern

“We have also rejected frequent demands, especially by the US Congress, for the release of Dr Shakil Afridi. The US officials, Congress, think-tanks and media, in tandem with our adversaries, have also been blaming Pakistan for supporting the Haqqani network without giving any concrete evidence to enable us to take additional action against it or other terrorist organisations,” he added.

However, Mr Aziz said, the Haqqani Network issue remained the top US concern at the moment. The Indian lobby in the US, he said, had also been highly pro-active in adding fuel to the fire, especially after the Pathankot incident.

The adviser, however, assured the Senate that in view of the importance of the issue, Pakistan had been making all-out efforts to finalise the F-16 deal with the US administration. Mr Aziz said that the spring offensive launched by Afghan Taliban with the latest terrorist attack in Kabul had further aggravated the already bleak security situation in Afghanistan.

He said that Pakistan had been impressing upon the US and Afghan sides that the reconciliation process needed to be given a fair chance and more time and irreconcilable elements could be targeted after efforts for negotiations had failed.

“We hope to discuss these issues in detail during an upcoming meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group in Islamabad on May 18 and 19.”

After the adviser’s speech, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani who had made a strong observation against the US on Wednesday declaring it a “callous state”, referred the issue of the sale of F-16s jet fighters to the house committees on defence and foreign affairs with a directive to hold joint meetings and submit a report to the house over the progress on the issue in every session.

Mr Rabbani told members that on the request of the foreign ministry he had sent a letter to his US counterpart in March inviting him to visit Pakistan, but said that now he would revisit his decision to invite the US Senate chairman and only pursue the invitation in the light of the committees’ report on the matter.

Earlier, taking part in the debate in the opposition-less house, a number of senators criticised the government’s foreign policy with a particular reference to its relations with the US.

The opposition members have been boycotting proceedings of the Senate since Monday against the absence of the prime minister from the house.

The senators termed the US a friend which could not be trusted anymore.

They also criticised the US for expanding its relations with India, ignoring the fact that Pakistan had been its frontline partner in the war on terror.

They were of the view that the US had no care for sacrifices Pakistan had rendered and losses it had suffered in the war on terror.

Senator Mohsin Leghari termed the US decision to block F-16s sale to Pakistan a success of the Indian lobby and a failure of Pakistan’s diplomats.

“It seems that the Foreign Office is not even fully functional. We do not have any foreign minister,” he said.

Usman Kakar of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party regretted that there had been no role of parliament in formulating the country’s foreign policy.

MAY 12 ANNIVERSARY: Speaking on “matters of public importance”, senators recalled the May 12, 2007, incident in which over 40 people were killed in Karachi due to firing by assailants when the then deposed chief justice of Pakistan visited the city during a movement for his restoration.

On the ninth anniversary of the incident, the speakers paid tribute to those killed in Karachi and called for registration of an FIR against former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf for the killing.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2016


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Comments (39) Closed

Vg May 13, 2016 07:39am

Relation with US were always stress.

VV May 13, 2016 07:47am

Every relationship is based on mutual trust, respect, and dignity. US seems to have lost the trust in what it perceives are required for the sustenance of the relationship with Pakistan, and in the process respect for Pakistan demands. Only thing left is to preserve your dignity. There are only two main options to preserve the dignity - placate the US, meet their demands and get the F-16's at a discounted rate or find alternate options. Talking about it ad nauseam will not help.

Bharat May 13, 2016 07:58am

Says one thing to the public and very different to the Senate.

Dr faizan May 13, 2016 08:54am

U.S.Is and was never friend of Pakistan nor a trusted partner.... Pakistan has suffered enough because of U.S. Hypocrisy, double standards and asinine foreign policy. Pakistan must break the chains of slavery and let U.S. Deal with it's problem and then we will see how long it survives with India cannot and won't help.

Zakuta May 13, 2016 09:06am

Blessing in disguise.

Zak May 13, 2016 09:09am

US needs reliable partners and Pakistan is the only one that fits the bill ,soon US will realize its mistake and make amends.

confused in canada May 13, 2016 09:12am

So, the US has approved the sale of the latest f16 fighters to pakistan at full price. The factory producing the f16 does not discount the planes. Pakistan wants yhe US taxpayer to pay 65% of the cost. If the US taxpayer does not pay this discount for pakistan, then taxpayers are unfair and bad to pakistan.

Sohail May 13, 2016 12:01pm

@confused in canada it is nothing to do with taxpayers money but pakistan fight that is solelt to crush taliban which is not ours but americas top concern

Jehanzeb May 13, 2016 02:38pm

better to rely on ourselves than any other country. This is a blessing which forces us to stand on our feet

Taimoor Khan May 13, 2016 02:56pm

About time. All organs of the Islamic state of Pakistan, need to act in synergy in relation to our relationship with United states of America. Message should be loud and clear, and with straight and unapologetic tone.

Qamar May 13, 2016 03:24pm

A country without a foreign minister wants to counter hostile lobbying by issuing statements only!!!! Only in Pakistan.

Sidiqque May 13, 2016 03:55pm

pay full price and enjoy with F16. F16 enjoyment is excellent.

Hitesh May 13, 2016 03:58pm

I don't understand why "war against terrorism" is considered as America's war? Shouldn't it be responsibility of all countries to ensure that their soil is not used to plan and execute terrorist attacks in other countries?

Mudassar May 13, 2016 04:22pm

As in one article mentioned Pakistan have lost its utility after the withdrawal of most US forces from Afghanistan. We were treated like gun for hire without any regard to our security concerns. So lets have there way then, we won't get rewarded we no longer fight yours wars for benefits of your tax payers. Our politicians got us into this mess of others countries wars, its high time our politicians get the message that we will only defend our own country and our own interests.

Javed May 13, 2016 04:54pm

It also does not help that we do not have a Foreign Minister since Nawaz Sharif took office.

Shah ali May 13, 2016 05:06pm

Well USA don't want the services any more. Why is Pakistan not getting this obvious drift and look elsewhere and stop pretending that they can solve Afghan issues and as AZIZ says Pakistan can fight .Its just ludicrous. Afghans are divided the north and the Persian belt is always close to liberalism communism and every ism where as south is conservative and religious . Pakistan to always be a facilitator and should make it clear that it is afghans who have to resolve this for themselves. Yes the country suffered the most to the tunes of 300 billion dollars and counting and time to stop toe the line.

Zak May 13, 2016 05:31pm

@Zak Pakistan and US are good friends for long, and they have their ups and downs. US is looking to exit Afghanistan without taking the blame for the mess, so they try to shove it on Pakistan. India will realize this once its friendship with US grows. They have lot to learn.

Bilal May 13, 2016 05:37pm

In international politics there is no concept of permanent friendship or permanent enmity.As long as US had stakes in Pakistan they used Pakistan as an ally.Now they are winding up their stakes from Afganistan so they don't need Pakistan anymore.Besides they want to contain china so for this purpose they need a strong india.At present their whole concentration is upon the india.Invitation of modi to address US congress is a glaring example of US and india relation. As far as Pakistan is concerned our lobby in US has no tooth and they stand nowhere infront of indian lobby there in united states. We need a full fledge foreign minister who knows the international political horizon and is cunning in diplomatic moves.Otherwise things would get worse day by day.

BK May 13, 2016 05:46pm

It is difficult for any country to ignore India, due to its vast manpower and market. Today all are looking for profit.

Chirag May 13, 2016 05:50pm

Pakistan is making a very big mistake by leaning on China. It's not Cold War anymore and countries engage with all other countries. Gone are the times when someone used to be your best friend and friend's enemy would be your enemy too.

Radiohead May 13, 2016 06:12pm

No wonder. Its a paradigm shift, ask Saudis !!!

Tamil Guru May 13, 2016 06:20pm

Mr Sartaj Aziz is a very intelligent and capable man, unfortunately he does not have the charm and clout like Mrs Sushma Swaraj or the lobbyists of India. He is definitely not in the good books of Obama or Hillary or Trump. As a first step, Pakistan needs a full time Foreign Minister.

Tamil Guru May 13, 2016 06:26pm

@Sohail :-> Why is fighting the Taliban only a US problem and not a problem for Pakistan. ??

SardarSuri May 13, 2016 06:30pm

I wonder what will happen when Trump becomes President of USA.

Dr faizan May 13, 2016 06:56pm

Soon dollar will crash and with that USA, Pakistan must break off any relation with U.S..

N_Saq May 13, 2016 08:03pm

US and Pak relationship is imbalanced i.e. US gives and gives and Pak takes and takes. That is why the saying goes "beggars can't be choosers".

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad May 13, 2016 08:36pm

A candid, bold and true statement.

Javed May 13, 2016 08:37pm

Mr Prime Minister, Sartaj Aziz is tired he wants to go home, please!

T.M.Wazir May 13, 2016 09:50pm

It's time for Pakistani foreign policy team to shift gears and ignore the importance of USA and transform and develop interests from USA towards other powerful players in the region like Russia and China. Once Pakistan start ignoring USA interests in the the region then USA-India alliance can not survive alone. USA betrayed Pakistan openly , it's time to turn the tables around if Pakistan wants to succeed in this political game.

Wise Indian May 13, 2016 10:13pm

There are no conditions attached to the sale of F-16. Pakistan still can buy the jets by paying full amount. Mr. Sartaraz Aziz may not be knowing about it

Deepu May 13, 2016 10:32pm

@Sohail How can you say Taliban is a US problem only when they are right outside your doorstep? Isnt taliban killing Pakistanis too?

SardarSuri May 13, 2016 10:46pm

@Zak - USA needs India more than India needs USA these days. India's purchasing power, brains, and a hedge against China and terrorism put India in the driver's seat!

GS May 13, 2016 11:08pm

Relation ? What relation ? There is only donation ! Say donation is not happening.

Ghaznavi May 13, 2016 11:53pm

@N_Saq "US and Pak relationship is imbalanced i.e. US gives and gives and Pak takes and takes. That is why the saying goes "beggars can't be choosers"."

US gives and gives really!!!! So is US in love with us? or our forefathers had a given a loan to the US that it gives and gives? This is a misconception. It takes and takes and then gives a little and takes a lot. Our forces are desperately cleaning the give part of US, take a look again

s.khan May 14, 2016 12:19am

Time to end F-16 addiction. USA has lots of them and using against the terrorists and other adversaries without positive results. F-16s are not crucial to win the battle. If they were, USA would have won all its battles and stabilized Afghanistan in few years rather than fumbling around for 15 years.

Patrick May 14, 2016 12:43am

Not a penny more until Dr. Afridi is released

Zak May 14, 2016 03:32am

We are causing the stress by expecting a discount on the price paid by US taxpayers. Please keep our pride and pay for the planes if we really need them but stop begging for favours from USA.

sumit May 14, 2016 03:52am

@Dr faizan keep deaming

Vijay May 14, 2016 04:09am

@Dr faizan And, I guess, Pakistani Rupee will become the international currency.