News / Asia

Pakistani Officials Cautiously Optimistic on PM's US Talks

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Oct. 23, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Oct. 23, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Ayaz Gul
— Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama this past week came at a time when the two countries have been trying to repair relations, damaged by U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistan. 

Pakistani officials and commentators believe the talks have set the stage for rebuilding "an honorable relationship."
 
Officials in Islamabad sound upbeat about the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting Prime Minister Sharif held with President Obama at the White House.
 
Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry says the talks have established a framework that would help the two countries enhance counterterrorism efforts and clear the way for Pakistan to seek more U.S. cooperation in areas such as the economy.
 
Chaudhry said, “I think they have provided a very solid guidance for rebuilding this relationship, taking it out of the depth that it had seen in the last two years to hopefully new heights.”
 
The tensions in bilateral relations plunged to historic lows in 2011 and 2012 after an American military raid deep inside Pakistan killed Osama bin Laden and a cross-border NATO airstrike killed some two dozen Pakistani soldiers.
 
But critics, like opposition lawmaker Shireen Mazari, are unhappy with the way Mr. Sharif presented Pakistan’s case in the meeting with President Obama.
 
“The American president seem to have overpowered the Pakistani prime minister who had the backing of all the political parties, the Pakistani nation, to make an issue and demand, not request, demand that America stop its drone attacks or else," said Mazari. "But he never did that. Then he was going to request market access for Pakistan’s trade, he never got that.  So, at the end of the day, what did he get?  A scolding from ((President)) Obama because afterwards he said we must put our own house in order.”
 
Still, opposition Senator Mushahid Hussain, who chairs the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament, says that the meeting has generated hopes the two countries will be able to resolve long-standing acrimonious issues.
 
Hussain said, “I would say that as compared to what the situation was in 2011 we are in a much better shape and there is a change in the U.S. attitude. I think there is a mutual desire to take the relationship forward.  So, I am hopeful that some of the problems that we had in the past are now behind us.”
 
Hussain admits there are weaknesses in Pakistan’s counterterrorism campaign.  
 
“Ultimately, at the end of the day there are serious internal situations, particularly the need for a national security strategy and a counterterror strategy, which Pakistan and its political leadership along with support of the armed forces has to fashion on its own.  So, the problems the mess that we have nobody else will clean it up for us. We have to do it ourselves,” said Hussain.

Pakistani officials say that the issue of U.S. forces in Afghanistan was also raised in the Obama meeting. Most of the American-led foreign forces will leave Afghanistan by end of next year and they are heavily relying on Pakistani land routes for their exit.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid