Hillary Clinton Scores Points In Pakistan
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concluded a three day visit to Pakistan last week in which she emphasized the importance of defeating militants along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Her visit came two weeks after President Obama approved a $7.5 billion non-military aid package to Pakistan.
At one point, during her visit, Clinton criticized the Pakistani government for not doing enough to hunt down al Qaeda leaders. Speaking to Pakistani journalists, on Thursday, she said, "I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they [al Qaeda leaders] are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to,"
During her visit, Secretary of State Clinton met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Mr. Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and several other political and military officials. She also met with journalists in group interviews and answered Pakistani citizen's questions at town-hall meetings.
At a town-hall meeting in Lahore, one Pakistani student called U.S. drone attacks near the Afghan border, "executions without trial." In addressing Pakistani's concerns about the $7.5 billion U.S. aid, Clinton said, "The [aid] bill does not impinge on Pakistani sovereignty. It does not compromise Pakistan's national-security interests. It does not micromanage any aspect of Pakistan's military or civilian operations," and she added that the U.S. administration "did not do a very good job communicating what our intentions were."
Imran Khan, an analyst and writer, said, "Totally blaming Pakistan for all the mess by the only superpower does not sound convincing." He added that, "Americans have now to match their sugarcoated words with actions; otherwise, the situation may aggravate."
Pakistani political analysts as well as students praised Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for speaking the "truth" during her visit last week, but also warned that Washington will have to match her words with action in order to crush al Qaeda- and Taliban-led terrorism.
A day after Mrs. Clinton ended her three-day visit, during which she suggested that the Pakistani government was not doing enough to capture al Qaeda leaders, Pakistan's prime minister said the country does not have "any other option" but to defeat the militants.
Speaking to a group of journalists in Lahore on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton criticized the Pakistani government for not doing enough to hunt down al Qaeda leaders and suggested that some Pakistani officials know where the terrorist leaders are hiding.
"I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to," she said. "Maybe that's the case. Maybe they're not gettable. I don't know."
What Mrs. Clinton said about Pakistani officials' knowledge about the al Qaeda presence in the country and their reluctance to catch them "is a truth which could only be told by someone from outside Pakistan to have an impact," said Gul Marjan, a researcher on terrorism and visiting professor at the University of Peshawar. "For the country's decision-makers, it is a tough message that U.S. can't be hoodwinked any longer."
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