ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Thursday said the people of Pakistan are appalled at the views expressed by certain American law makers in the US Congress regarding Pakistan.
“This seems to have become an unfortunate pattern of blaming Pakistan for the mistakes made by US policy makers on Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Muslim world, which the recent Chilcot inquiry revealed,” Rabbani said in a statement.
Rabbani was responding to a US congressional panel which has demanded cutting off all US assistance to Pakistan to persuade Islamabad to act against the Afghan Taliban groups allegedly using its territory to launch operations into Afghanistan. The Senate chairman alleged that such sentiments also demonstrate a marked lack of respect and recognition of the tremendous contribution made by the Pakistani people and the armed forces in its fight against terrorism.
“Given this context, it is not surprising that the people of Pakistan are now forced to ask the question whether they are dealing with friends or foes in the American congress,” Rabbani said.
He said that such statements from some of the US lawmakers are “a case of the pot calling kettle black, given their deplorable track record of double standards on areas such as human rights”.
“Their conspicuous silence on the killings of unarmed civilians in Kashmir, the treatment being meted out to African-American in their own country and the effort to impose India on the NSG in violation of all norms of nuclear non-proliferation reflect this,” the chairman senate remarked.
Rabbani hoped that saner elements in US Congress will respond to such statements. Vicious criticism by US Congress panel A US congressional panel had demanded cutting off all US assistance to Pakistan to persuade Islamabad to act against the Afghan Taliban groups allegedly using its territory to launch operations into Afghanistan, a move that Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz said was motivated by “baseless concerns” of “a section of US lawmakers”.
Some US lawmakers and witnesses also suggested declaring Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism and imposing economic sanctions if Islamabad did not eliminate the alleged terrorist safe havens on its territory.
The Tuesday afternoon hearing — “Pakistan: Friend or foe?” — produced more heat than expected and at some points it came close to challenging the country’s very existence as a sovereign state. More than once Pakistan was called manipulative and accused of treating the United States like chumps.
“They are making chumps out of us. They see us we are being so stupid. It seems like paying the mafia,” said Congressman Matt Salmon, Chairman of the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“If I may use an undiplomatic term, we have been patsies,” said former US ambassador to Kabul, Baghdad and the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad.
Khalilzad, who is an ethnic Afghan, claimed that Pakistani leaders had gamed the American system for decades.
“Patsies chumps. Most Americans see out of this and yet our so-called leaders do not really get it,” said Salmon while endorsing Khalilzad’s views.
The comments, broadcast live on the internet, prompted the Pakistan embassy in Washington to clarify that the United States and Pakistan were still allies and there is “positive counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries”.