Pakistan wants more from US
* WP report says Gilani emphasised the need to 'expedite' new US aid package
after meeting with Holbrooke
* Kayani likely to press requests for increased military aid
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: Pakistan warned US special envoy Richard Holbrooke on Tuesday it
expected more from the United States in return for its cooperation against Al
Qaeda and the Taliban, a Washington Post report says.
Statements issued by President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani, after meeting with the envoy, emphasised the need to 'expedite' a new
US aid package, and "the importance of enhanced cooperation in defence and
intelligence sharing". Holbrooke only said that he was there "to listen and
learn the ground realities".
In Washington, US officials said that while a revised strategy would
acknowledge Pakistan's crucial role, developing a new relationship was likely
to be a long process. "Not having patience makes all the sense in the world in
terms of the Afghanistan threat," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral
Michael Mullen said in a recent interview. But in Pakistan, he said "there is
not a quick answer", and any new US strategy would have to "recognise the
tension" between the short- and long-term objectives.
The next step, the officials said, would be a visit to the US later this month
by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani, whom Mullen credited with a
number of positive steps including: replacing the former head of Pakistan's
intelligence service, who was widely mistrusted by the CIA; appointing a new
chief for the Frontier Corps; and doubling Frontier Corps salaries.
Increased aid: Gen Kayani is likely to press requests for increased military
aid in several categories, including Cobra attack helicopters, night-vision
equipment, and equipment to jam extremist radio transmissions, intercept
satellite telephone communications, and improve communication among Pakistani
military units in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Pakistan would also like at least to "be in the room" when targeting decisions
for CIA aerial drone attacks in the FATA are made, a senior Pakistani official
said. Pakistan also wanted more funding stability, he added. In the news
conference following a meeting with Holbrooke, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood
Qureshi said Pakistan and the US would have "to sit together to understand the
implications" of a planned doubling of US troops in Afghanistan this year, and
there would have to be an accompanying 'civilian surge' in Pakistan. "By
civilian surge," he said, "I mean greater focus on socio-economic development
and greater political engagement with the reconcilable elements" among
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is reformulating a massive US
development assistance programme for Pakistan, including at least $1.5 billion
annually for the next five years. Committee chairman Sen John F Kerry said the
amount of aid might be increased in legislation that he said was likely to be
completed "in a matter of days". The legislation will include benchmarks
allowing Congress to judge Pakistan's performance. "We have no problems with
greater transparency and accountability," a Pakistani official told the
Washington Post. "But the funding cannot stop."
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