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Nawaz asks US to ‘reorient’ its policy

July 22, 2012


ISLAMABAD, July 22: PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has urged the United States to ‘reorient’ its policies towards Pakistan with the objective of strengthening democracy and improving its economy.

“The US should reorient its policies towards Pakistan in a manner that the country’s democratic institutions become stronger and its economy made less dependent on foreign aid,” Mr Sharif said during a farewell call made by outgoing US Ambassador Cameron Munter here on Sunday, according to a party press release.

The PML-N chief also called upon Washington to pursue a policy of mutual respect and trust with Pakistan because only such a policy could restore cooperation between the two countries and serve the cause of peace and stability in the region.

The US ambassador expressed his admiration for the people of Pakistan and said that he was deeply impressed by the enormous changes taking place which made him confident that the country was headed in the right direction.

Dr Marilyn Wyatt, wife of the ambassador, and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Ishaq Dar were present on the occasion.

The meeting took place three weeks after Pakistan reopened Nato supply routes, a decision which was criticised by almost all opposition parties, including the PML-N.

The press release did not say if the issues of reopening of Nato routes or the war on terror came under discussion.

In November last year, Mr Sharif had cancelled his scheduled meeting with the US ambassador against the backdrop of a Nato attack on a Pakistani post in Mohmand Agency that killed 24 army men. Mr Sharif had arrived in Islamabad from Lahore for the meeting with the US ambassador but left for Murree after staying in the capital for a few minutes when he was advised by some senior party members to avoid the meeting.

The party later claimed that Mr Sharif had not cancelled the meeting because of the Nato attack, rather it had only been postponed for a few days due to other engagements of the PML-N president related to the petitions he had filed in the Supreme Court on important national issues.

US President Barack Obama recently nominated veteran diplomat Richard Olson as the new ambassador to Pakistan. Mr Munter resigned in May after a turbulent tenure in which the US marines conducted a secret operation to kill Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Mr Munter had reportedly been an advocate within the Obama administration of reconciliation with Pakistan and was unhappy over the increasing role of CIA and Pentagon on matters related to Pakistan.