The Obama Administration believes that there is no threat to the democratically elected Government in Islamabad in view of the Pakistani Army’s public opposition to the Kerry Lugar Bill which is not in line with the official position of the Zardari Government.
“I don’t think it is a threat to to the civilian government in Pakistan,” Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs told reporters when asked about the differences that has emerged between the army and the Zardari Government on the Kerry-Lugar Bill.
The Kerry Lugar Bill which triples non-military aid to Pakistan to USD 7.5 billion in the next five years and imposes conditions for military assistance is being opposed by the Pakistani Army, while the Zardari Government is saying that this shows the long term commitment of the US towards the people of Pakistan.
“Is there concern that this very vocal opposition to what Zardari’s government wants to do, which is to accept this aid, could be a real threat to his continued rule there?” Crowley was asked, to which he said he does not believe so.
“Quite the opposite. I think that actually what you are seeing is a government in Pakistan that is becoming more confident. It is becoming more assertive. It is doing things that are important to, you know, the Pakistani people,” Crowley said.
“We are working very diligently, very closely with the Pakistani government. That’s why the Secretary (of State) and the (Pakistani) Foreign Minister met yesterday. It’s why the Secretary and President (Asif Ali) Zardari met in New York,” Crowley said.
Noting that the US recognises that Pakistan is shouldering a significant burden on the war against terrorism, he said the Administration wants to make sure that there is proper international support for Pakistan.
Asserting that the Obama Administration is committed to help Pakistan, he, however, said the US would not impose its will or dictate things to Islamabad. “We are committed to work closely with Pakistan. We are not going to impose US solutions on Pakistani problems.”
“We want to make sure that to the extent we are willing and able to provide assistance, it is working hand in glove with Pakistan and addressing those concerns that are very specifically, you know, concerns of the Pakistani people and reflect the priorities of the people of Pakistan,” he said.
Crowley said next week a US-team led by David Goldwyn will be going to Pakistan to discuss with them its energy requirements, how US can perhaps work with Pakistan to extend electricity, for example, to more parts of the country.
“All this is part of the long-term commitment that the United States has to Pakistan, to Afghanistan,” he said.