Clinton chided Pakistani officials in Zardari meeting: NYT
WASHINGTON: The New York Times in a report claimed that US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly chided Pakistani authorities when she met with President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of the recently-held Nato summit in Chicago, DawnNews reported.
The meeting discussed politics, more specifically the difficulties Zardari faces in unifying the countries political blocs, the report stated.
According to the US-based newspaper, Clinton was “nothing but blunt” and while reflecting the mounting frustrations on Obama’s administration she said that the only way countries defeated insurgencies like the ones threatening Pakistan and Afghanistan was “by forging national unity and exercising political will”.
“It’s going to take leadership,” she told President Zardari, according to officials from both countries familiar with the hour-long meeting at McCormick Place last Sunday. “It’s going to take leadership from you and others.”
President Zardari complained about the difficulties of unifying Pakistan’s fractious political parties and noted it was an election year in both countries.
“We don’t have the resources or control over these groups,” Zardari told Clinton, referring to militants based in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
“We’re backed into a corner because you haven’t apologised,” the president said referring to the Nato attack on a military check post in Pakistan last year which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Relations between the two countries have been tumultuous and were badly frayed by the secret raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May last year. Ties further worsened after Pakistan shut the Nato supply route after the November attack on the Salala check post.
Related developments include a stepping up of drone attacks by the US in Pakistani tribal areas. Five drone attacks have taken place in the past week since the end of the Nato conference, ending a brief lull heading into the summit meeting and ignoring demands by Pakistan’s Parliament to end the strikes altogether.
Also on Wednesday, a tribal court in Pakistan convicted Shakeel Afridi, a doctor who helped the CIA in its search for Osama bin Laden, and sentenced him to 33 years in prison for involvement in anti-state activities.
The conviction resulted in a new cut of $33 million by the US Senate in American military assistance to Pakistan, $1 million for each year of the sentence.