ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani through an official correspondence has asked Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to attend the coming session of the house and make a statement on the remarks made by certain US lawmakers about Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism.

“Such callous remarks on various occasions by the US lawmakers have become a routine,” Mr Rabbani says in his letter to the adviser, adding that Pakistan’s “parliament cannot be a silent bystander to such attacks on our integrity, sovereignty and national security”.

Earlier, the Senate chairman in a statement had expressed displeasure over the US legislators’ remarks and hoped that saner elements in the US Congress would take notice of such “irresponsible” statements.

Rabbani writes letter to foreign affairs adviser

A number of US Congressmen during a meeting of a house committee had called for cutting off all assistance to Pakistan to persuade Islamabad to act against Afghan Taliban allegedly using its territory to launch operations in Afghanistan.

Some US lawmakers and witnesses had also suggested declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism and imposing economic sanctions if Islamabad did not eliminate alleged terrorist safe havens on its territory. During the proceedings, more than once Pakistan was called manipulative and accused of treating the US like chumps.

Mr Rabbani regretted that it had become an unfortunate pattern for US officials to blame Pakistan for the mistakes made by American policy-makers in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

In this context, he said, it was not surprising that people of Pakistan were now forced to ask whether “they are dealing with friends or foes in the American Congress”.

Mr Rabbani also expressed concern over growing US influence over Pakistan’s foreign policy.

‘Concerns and reservations’

On May 12, Mr Rabbani declared the US a “callous state” and said that “parliament of Pakistan has serious concerns and reservations” over the nature of relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

“The relationship between Pakistan and the US seems to be driven by giving priority to national security interests of the US in the region rather than those of Pakistan’s,” he observed while admitting for debate adjournment motions on the US Congress decision to withhold funds earmarked for purchase of F-16 jets by Pakistan.

He regretted that the US did not “respect Pakistani laws and courts as was the case in Raymond Davis [episode] and now the continuous demand to free Dr Shakil Afridi”.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2016