Clinton: “I didn’t come only for happy talk”

Looks like Hillary Clinton was already expecting tough questions on her recent visit to Pakistan. She not only met the top leaders, but also interacted with the ordinary citizens of Pakistan which is a welcome sign.
She was on a 3 day visit to Pakistan, which is ‘a long trip for a secretary of state’.  Though her first day was overshadowed by the mighty Peshawar blasts, the rest of the two days turned out to be pretty interesting for Clinton.

The secretary attacked Pakistan and said that we were not clamping down hard on al-qaeda, which according to her are present in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where a military operation is currently underway. She acknowledged that US had made mistakes in the past but also said that ‘I wanted to demonstrate that, look, we are not coming here claiming that everything we’ve done is perfect’.

As she continued giving us lectures on terrorism, a journalist Asma Sherazi, correctly pointed out to her that  “We are fighting a war that is imposed on us. It’s not our war. It is your war, You had one 9-11. We are having daily 9-11s in Pakistan.” The majority of Pakistan doesn’t hold al-qaeda, or Osama bin laden responsible for any terror attack that has struck this country, as responsibility for most of the attacks is claimed by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP).

Although Ms. Clinton answered every furious question of the Pakistani’s, one question to which she couldn’t answer was about the controversial US drone attacks in Pakistan, justifying the drone attacks by saying “There is a war going on”.

Asked whether she had underestimated the level of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, Mrs Clinton said: ‘No, because I’ve been following the research and the polling that’s gone on for a couple of years. I knew that we were inheriting a pretty negative situation that we were going to have to address.’

The tour had some ups and downs, and her first day was overshadowed by the devastating blasts in Peshawar, but overall I think its a positive step towards building a better relationship. I appreciate the fact that she interacted with ordinary Pakistani’s and listened to their reservations over the US policy in the region. We need more visits like these from high profile US officials, in order for them to understand the real issues concerning Pakistan.

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