Pakistani officials reacted angrily Thursday night to U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s remarks earlier in the day in which she said, she found it “hard to believe” that no one in Pakistan’s government, including the country’s “military security establishment,” knew where al Qaeda leaders were hiding.
The controversy could overshadow Clinton’s first visit to the country as Secretary of State, especially as her remarks will be seen questioning the sincerity of the influential military, Pakistani officials said.
“If we are going to have a mature partnership where we work together” then “there are issues that not just the United States but others have with your government and with your military security establishment,” Clinton was quoted telling senior Pakistani journalists in Lahore. “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,” she said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is still offended by the Obama Administration’s AFPAK policy. See: Zardari rejects Obama’s AFPAK policy:
“Afghanistan and Pakistan are distinctly different countries and cannot be lumped together for any reason,” Zardari said in an interview with the Financial Times on the anniversary of his first year in office.
Pakistan, he said, is unwilling to be aligned in a joint policy framework with neighbouring Afghanistan.
Zardari and his senior officials draw a distinction between a Pakistan with functioning institutions, diversified economy and a powerful national army, and Afghanistan, a state shattered by decades of conflict and ethnic divisions.
More: Undiplomatic Diplomacy
Does anyone advising President Obama and the secretary of state really believe that this kind of partisanship and trash-talking abroad about another American president is going to buy us much long-term goodwill among either our friends or our adversaries? Do they imagine that this sort of thing really helps to advance U.S. national interests?
From India Times: Washington gasps at Hillary charm-el-shake offensive that leaves Islamabad stunned
It was supposed to be a charm offensive, but as the day wore on she put away her charm and went on the offensive. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s public dressing down of Pakistan during a three-day visit there, including virtually accusing the country of complicity with al-Qaida, has shaken Washington as much as it stunned her hosts.
“Her inner voice became her outer voice,” Martha Raddatz, a veteran NBC correspondent said on the network, explaining that while many in the administration believed what she said to be true (that Pakistan is coddling terrorists), it was rare for America’s top diplomat to say it publicly. Officials in Washington were trying to keep a straight face, but there were a few gasps, she added.