January 15, 2011
Pakistan wants to stand on its feet, US told
Obama stresses US support for Pakistan
WASHINGTON: President Asif Ali Zardari Friday said Pakistan wants to stand on its feet economically and throw the crutches of aid away for good. Zardari said this while discussing bilateral relations with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a memorial service for Richard Holbrooke, the former special US envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“Both presidents acknowledged the services of the late Holbrooke and his passion with which he brought US and Pakistan closer, agreeing that there was need to strengthen this strategic partnership with the same kind of fervour”, Pakistan’s ambassador to United States Husain Haqqani said in a post-meeting briefing.
However, the ambassador said, President Obama made it clear that the meeting could not be a substitute for formal talks between the two partners which are set for later this year.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Douglas Lute, and White House Counter Terrorism Advisor John Brennan assisted the US president while Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States accompanied President Zardari in the meeting.
According to Haqqani President Zardari told his US counterpart that Pakistan does not want to be a permanent recipient of aid, it wants to stand on its feet and for that it needs economic reforms and the government is cognisant of that, working on that, and Pakistan and US are partners in this respect.
Haqqani quoted President Obama and Secretary Clinton as saying that over the next few days they will try to find ways to strengthen Pakistan’s economic reforms process while taking into consideration the social/ political factors as well as the overwhelming reality of the floods, which disrupted the economic growth last year.
Emphasising the friendly ambience of the meeting and countering the usual media reporting of Pakistan-US relations, Ambassador Haqqani said, “Nobody scolded anybody, nobody raised the question that Pakistan is not doing enough, nobody said anything negative about the lack of support of either country for the other.”
“We continue to work positively in all areas of cooperation, political, economic, diplomatic, strategic, intelligence, and military,” Haqqani said, underscoring the cooperative nature of ties.
Haqqani told journalists that Obama expressed his condolences over the assassination of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer appreciating Islamabad’s resolve to build a moderate democratic Pakistan which is the strongest guarantee against terrorist threat in our region.
President Obama unequivocally stressed US support for democracy in Pakistan, the envoy added.-APP