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The optics and smiles at the Nawaz-Kerry meeting
 
 
Ansar Abbasi
Friday, August 02, 2013
From Print Edition
 
 

 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, attired in English suit and shinning tie, has finally smiled—thanks to Master John Kerry from the United States of America.

 

Accompanying the prime minister in his meeting with the US Secretary of State, suited and booted Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Energy Minister Khawaja Asif were looking repulsive on the television screens with their glowing cheeks while facing this poor nation’s grim faced real masters.

 

In this show of westernized attire, the only odd man out was Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan with his national pride still reflective from his appearance. He was wearing, what is practically redundant but still valid, the Pakistan’s national dress—Shalwar Kameez and Waistcoat. Unlike his leader and his colleagues, his face also did not wear a fake smile to please the Americans but represented the true feelings of the people of Pakistan.

 

By the way, it really requires some “extraordinary” guts to sit with those—who attack you with drones, violate your sovereignty, kill your soldiers and civilians and have been repeatedly bullying and using you—with big smiles and attire that reflects the master’s culture than our own.

 

Like the depressive TV footage of the PM’s meeting with the US delegation, the follow up press conference jointly addressed by Kerry and Sartaj Aziz was also a flop show as far as Pakistan is concerned. Sartaj Aziz was visibly subdued while Kerry minced no words when it comes to the issues bothering Washington.

 

Kerry unequivocally defended the drones’ policy. Without caring for what Pakistan says about this serious breach of country’s sovereignty, he quoted what the US president recently said on drones. Kerry’s message was clear that drones would continue.

 

Instead, he snubbed those considering drone attack as violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, by lecturing that those bombing the mosques and market places in Pakistan are actually the violators of country’s sovereignty.

 

As against Kerry, out suited and booted Sartaj Aziz—who was keener to give smiles and have handshake with the master—sheepishly and apologetically said that Pakistan wanted an end to drone strikes. He did not have the courage to say to Kerry that the words and policies of the US President are not binding on Pakistan, which is an independent state.

 

Kerry’s response showed that the issue of Afia Siddiqi is a non-issue for Washington and even for Pakistan’s PML-N government. Kerry could not even understand the question of Afia Siddiqi despite having being clearly asked twice by a reporter. To the embarrassment of Nawaz Sharif government, Kerry even told the press conference that no such issue was discussed in his meeting with the top political leadership.

 

It appears that like its predecessors, the Nawaz government would continue to be allured by Washington’s lollipop—dollars. The sounds of expanded trade, more aid and energy cooperation again suppressed the cries of US drone strike and its so-called war on terror.

 

Kerry told reporter, “I can tell you unequivocally that we do share a long-term vision of the relationship, and I believe that in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, we have someone who’s committed to try to grow that relationship.” These words of Kerry sounded like a cruel joke for the nation, which has been slapped with Salala attack, the May 2nd Abbottabad assault, innumerable drone strikes and a lot of more and still we are told that Pakistan and US share a long-term vision of great relationship.

 

Kerry is though considered pro-Pakistan, his role and his words in Raymond Davis case prove that he is yet another American who knows the art of playing with the words, can make wrong statements and false promises. To get the killer of two Pakistanis off the hook in 2011, Kerry had visited Pakistan and assured all and sundry here that the killer once handed over to the Americans would be tried and punished in the US for killing two Pakistanis.

 

Because of the shameful role of the ISI, the Pakistani government and the relevant judge, Raymond Davis was flown back to the US, but he was never tried and punished in the America for the crime he committed in Pakistan.

 

To the excitement of our top leadership, Kerry invited the PM to visit America. He said, “Obama was looking forward to meeting Sharif in a month or so in the US.” Now see, who accompany the PM in this visit. I hope Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan does not merit to be included in the PM’s entourage unless he also learns the art of making big smile and wearing English suit.

 

However, sources privy to the prime minister’s meeting with the US secretary of state, when contacted by ‘The News’, said that it was not an all-smiles meeting as some serious matters were also discussed among the dignitaries.

 

They said that when such diplomatic gatherings are held, it does not matter that one should adopt only a strict attitude. Some lively chat and exchange of greetings are also a part of such meetings, and the host country has to wear a hospitable outlook.

 

They said that TV channels did not show all the proceedings of the meeting. They said pointing out differences and expressing reservations are also part of such high-profile meetings.