Pakistan Says Thanks To Hillary, And Shut Up To ChidambaramNovember 3, 2009
Pakistan has rejected the US demand for crackdown against members of the so-called Afghan Taliban Shura allegedly hiding in Balochistan and termed the US claims as baseless and unfounded. At the same time, Islamabad simply brushed aside the noise generated by India’s interior minister who tried to scare Pakistan with the threat of war but ended up producing giggles in the Pakistani capital.
Pakistan, however, accepted to help Washington in intensifying talks with the leadership of the Afghan Taliban, an idea which Mrs. Clinton floated in Islamabad after months of so far pointless attempts at talks with the Afghan Taliban.
Five weeks before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Pakistan, US diplomats in the Pakistani capital tried to pave the way for the visit by issuing irresponsible statements on the question of the alleged presence of the Afghan Taliban leadership in one of Pakistan’s major cities. Ambassador Anne W. Patterson and a couple of her juniors went to the extent of issuing an indirect threat of war against Pakistan if the country did not take action based on US ‘information’. Unfortunately, the Zardari-Gilani government balked at responding to the US diplomat who had clearly gone too far in intimidating their host country.
But in its story, ‘US claims on Afghan Taliban Shura baseless’, published today, daily The Nation quoted official sources as saying they told Mrs. Clinton to cool it, unless she had some concrete evidence to support her public claims. Of course, she didn’t.
According to The Nation report:
Well-placed sources informed that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton during her recent visit to Pakistan pushed for the crackdown but to her sheer disappointment, the demand was rejected for lack of evidence.
Sources said Pakistan, however, acceded to the US request to help accelerate process of dialogue with the Taliban elements in Afghanistan.
Sources further said that US move comes in the wake of its failed efforts to woo away moderate Taliban elements from the hardcore fighting force that had been plotting attacks on the US-led multinational forces in Afghanistan. The US sponsored dialogue process was initiated last year with the help of Saudi Arabia and Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai.
Taliban commander and Naib Amir, Mullah Akhund has been in talks on behalf of Taliban demanding from the US to take its forces out of Afghanistan as soon as possible so that a government could be formed in line with wishes of Afghan people. Another major irritant that led the dialogue process inconclusive was the US efforts to create rift among the Taliban through different means.
However, the US has now sought Pakistan help and consequently President Asif Ali Zardari has sent Director General ISI, Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to Saudi Arabia as his special emissary to discuss the renewed US proposal.
Sources said that Gen Pasha called on Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz in Riyadh the other day and conveyed the message of President Asif Ali Zardari. Gen Pasha also discussed matters of mutual interests with Saudi king. Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz also attended the meeting.
In another interesting report, by The Daily Mail of Islamabad, titled Islamabad Gives Shut Up Call To India’s Chidumbaram, the Pakistan Foreign Office brushed aside the war threats that India’s interior minister Chidambaram has hurled toward Pakistan.
According to the report:
Pakistan has strongly rebutted the Indian Home Minister’s statement that India would retaliate strongly to Pakistan-backed terrorism.
Speaking to an Indian TV channel, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit said that there is no point in resorting to public rhetoric, and that India knows completely well about Pakistan’s contribution to fighting terrorism.
“My advice to India would be that they should avoid resorting to such public rhetoric because it serves no purpose, and only serves the cause of the common enemy – terrorism. India knows fully well Pakistan’s contribution towards countering terrorism and if India is serious about this then they should respond to our suggestions, and proposal that the Joint Anti-terrorism Mechanism should be activated, should be revitalized so that our two countries can jointly work again terrorism and extremism,” said Abdul Basit.
Earlier, speaking at a public meeting in Madurai, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram had warned Pakistan that if Pakistani terrorists or extremists indulged in terrorism again, India would retaliate strongly. Chidambaram also added that it was time for the “game” to end with the Mumbai attacks, saying that there is terrorism from foreign soil but India is gaining strength to face it.
Chidambaram also warned Pakistan against meddling with India and said any more attacks from that country would be retaliated against “very strongly.”
He said he has been warning Pakistan not to play with India and that the Mumbai attacks should be the “last game”.
“We have been gaining strength day by day to counter terrorism from across the border. I have been warning Pakistan not to play games with us. I have told them that the last game should be Mumbai attacks. Stop it there,” he told a public meeting.
“If terrorists and militants from Pakistan try to carry out any attacks in India, they will not only be defeated but will be retaliated very strongly,” he said in his speech in Tamil.
The Foreign Office spokesman smiled when a reporter asked him about Mr. Chidambaram’s threat of war and preferred not comment on it. A senior Pakistani diplomat said that the spokesman was not shying away from responding to the Indian minister’s statement.
“It’s an undiplomatic statement,” said the senior diplomat, “and it shows immaturity and desperation. Pakistan won’t submit to Indian attempts at hegemony. Let’s talk in seriousness to resolve problems. But the Indians can’t push us aside and forget about resolving outstanding issues like Kashmir and India’s role in fostering terrorism in Afghanistan, NWFP, Swat and Balochistan.”