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US-Pak relations must have ownership of Pakistanis: Khar

March 21, 2012

Hina Rabbani Khar. —AP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has emphasised that Islamabad wants to build a relationship with the United States which has the ownership of Pakistani people and that it works for both sides in a way that is respectful of Pakistani sovereignty.

“I don't think it's a matter of grievance as much as it is about a matter of building a type of partnership which is lasting, which has the ownership of the people of Pakistan, and of course the parliament of Pakistan,” Khar told MSNBC channel in an interview.

Foreign Minister’s remarks came as the Pakistani Parliament started examining recommendation on moving forward the Pakistan-US relationship, which the White House sees as critical to regional security.

Khar argued that the partnership between the two countries should be able to “achieve results which are considered to be in the joint interest of both Pakistan and the United States and of course the Nato members, who are operating in Afghanistan.”

Elaborating the Pakistani perspective, in the wake of incidents last year which damaged the bilateral ties, the foreign minister said the ‘Salala incident’ of November 26 in which Pakistan lost 27 of its soldiers, the Foreign Minister said “ I would like you to put yourself in those shoes for a moment and think that if 27 body bags were to return to the United States of America, and your public was told that they lost their lives because Pakistani troops fired on them, what would be the level of hostility in the United States of America? I'm quite sure very high,” the foreign minister added.

And I think here in the Parliament review therefore, we have a unique opportunity to put things correctly,” she added.

And in that, what we have to be careful about is that we are married to the end objective of fighting militants, extremism in this part of the world.”

Khar also underlined the crucial importance of respect for Pakistani sovereignty for the relationship to be effective.

Sherry Rehman’s response

Meanwhile Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman on Wednesday remarked that the parliament will decide the future of US-Pakistan relationship.

The ambassador to the US said all the important decisions in Pakistan are taken by the parliament and the country is not governed by any individual.

She commended the US official for tolerating parliament’s report on the country’s re-engagement with the United States.

She urged that the new rules of engagement with the US should be transparent and should be based on mutual respect.

“US drones on Pakistani soil must come to an end,” she added.