No Ordinary Times Says Pakistan Foreign Minister
October 21, 2010
By Sarah Abrams, HKS Communications
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke Monday night at the John F. Kennedy, Jr., Forum of the critical need to reverse the animosity Pakistanis feel toward the United States. A recent survey, he said, showed overwhelmingly that the Pakistani people don’t consider the United States a friend, but an enemy.
"This is the climate. The is the reality we are working in. This is the mindset we have to reverse," said Qureshi,
Over the last several decades, U.S. sanctions, abandonment and support of military dictators over elected civilians governments have all contributed to Pakistan’s current mindset, he said.
"For the people of Pakistan we see half a century of indisputable empirical evidence of U.S. dancing with dictators, subverting human rights, and using our people and soldiers as surrogates in proxy wars," Qureshi said.
"If anyone wonders why the people and its military are concerned about the continued commitment of the United States to Pakistan in the future, just look back to 1989 to find an answer," he said, when the Soviets left Afghanistan defeated in 1989 and the Americans "left on the next bus out of town." The radicalization and extremism in the region, he noted, should be neither unexpected nor unpredicted.
Despite its history, however, Pakistan is one of the world’s leading emerging markets.
"Despite negative stereotypes about Pakistan it is a country of enormous vitality and innovation. We have a sophisticated business class, robust markets, vast resources, and a hard working population of 180 million people."
One of the most significant developments in creating a new era in Pakistan/U.S. relations, said Qureshi, has been the passage of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, which triples civilian aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over the next five years. "What we are trying to create is a long-term, mature, and mutually beneficial partnership. We are an ally, not a satellite," Qureshi said.
Nicholas Burns, professor of the practice of diplomacy and international politics, and Faculty Director of the India and South Asia Program and the Future of Diplomacy Project, introduced Qureshi. Both organizations co-sponsored the event with the support from the Pakistan Caucus.
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