“Bilateral relationship between US and Pakistan seems to be driven by giving priority to US national security interests in the region rather those of Pakistan”, Rabbani observed while chairing a Senate session.
He added that he has great respect for the US Congress and congressmen, but as a parliamentarian he has serious concerns over bilateral ties between Islamabad and Washington.
Referring to US’ tilt towards India in recent years, Rabbani stated that US has an agreement with India on civil nuclear cooperation, but refuses to offer Pakistan a similar deal, casting doubt on Pakistan’s utility for the US at a time when major combat operations have winded down in Afghanistan.
“Chairman Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress is reported to have said that one of the reasons for the blockage of assistance for F-16s is due to Indian concerns,” added the Senate chairman.
“US has no respect for Pakistani courts and laws, as was witnessed in the Raymond Davis case, and which can now be seen in the case of Shakil Afridi.”
Rabbani also expressed reservations that US did not hold court martial of its officers and men who according to their own inquiry are responsible for the bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan, which killed women and children.
Sartaj Aziz, advisor to the prime minister on foreign affairs, also supported the reservations of chairman Senate.
Pakistan on Monday had raised the unresolved issue of F-16 sale to Pakistan and expressed concern with the visiting commander of US Central Command (Centcom) General Joseph Votel.
Secretary Defence Gen (r) Alam Khattak had reiterated Pakistan’s need for the F-16 jets, and impressed upon the visiting Centcom commander the jet’s utility in the war against terror.
‘Pakistan has not taken enough action’
Pakistan had earlier reached an understanding with the US for buying eight F-16 planes. Under the deal, Pakistan was required to pay about $270m from its national funds. The US was supposed to provide the rest from its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) fund.
Pakistan has conveyed to the US that it does not have the money to buy F-16 jets from its resources and has cautioned that if the stalemate over funding is not resolved it may consider buying some other fighter aircraft to meet its needs.
Among the key reasons behind the Congressional hold are concerns that Pakistan has not taken enough action against the Haqqani network; jail sentence for Dr Shakeel Afridi — the physician who had cooperated with the US in tracking Osama bin Laden; and fears about Pakistani nuclear programme. . D-N
THE PASHTUN TIMES