WASHINGTON: US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has said that current political leadership of Pakistan is capable of resolving all crisis; Pakistan is facing including terrorism. He ruled out impression that US was eyeing on another military coup in Pakistan and termed the reports as ‘baseless rumors’ inflicted by media.
In an exclusive conversation with Private TV Channel, Richard Holbrooke said, “the Obama administration’s has full confidence in the ability of the democratically elected Pakistani government to deliver services for its people”. He nullified the media reports regarding Washington concerns over the performance of elected government and seeking change within Pakistan.
“President (Barack) Obama has invited President (Asif Ali) Zardari to Washington next week, one of the first visitors he has had since he became president,” he added; “Our support is for the democratically elected government of President Asif Ali Zardari. It’s simple as that. Who has President Obama invited to Washington next week? President Zardari.”
“This is journalistic garbage. This is journalistic gobbledygook. It’s a story being hyped by journalists,” he added, when asked to comment on interpretations in the Pakistani Press about President Obama’s remarks in a Press Conference. Richard Holbrooke revealed the fact of US administration’s support to Islamabad in overcoming challenges Pakistan confronted.
“Let us focus on facts. We helped Pakistan raise five and a half billion dollars in Tokyo two weeks ago. We are asking Congress for more money for Pakistan. We are focusing on helping your country faced down a serious terrorist threat from the West, the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorists. Journalists can write anything they want, You have a free Press. That is part of a strong democracy, but it is not true,”
He stated “it’s true that our chairman of the joints staff Admiral Mullen visits Pakistan quite often. But that is to offer assistance to your country. General (Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani, the head of the army, has pledged support for the democratic and civilian government of Pakistan. We take him at his word.”
Richard Holbrooke said, President Obama also has “very deep personal feelings for Pakistan. As a young man he visited Pakistan. His mother worked there, she loved Pakistan. And we are not throwing bricks over Pakistan. I don’t even know what that means. We are helping Pakistan. We helped raise billions of dollars for Pakistan at a pledging conference in April. And now, we are going to ask Congress for even more money for Pakistan.
We believe Pakistan is a critically important country, a democracy, a state that is facing many difficult economic and political challenges. In the middle of this, you have miscreants in the west, who are trying to cause enormous extra problems. And this is extremely serious and we want to help Pakistan deal with this problem.”
When asked if the government in Islamabad is capable of delivering what is being expected from it, he replied: “Of course, the government in Islamabad is capable of running the country.They are democratically elected, a fine group of people. I know many of the ministers, many of them will be here in Washington next week, your foreign minister, your agricultural minister, your finance minister, the head of intelligence services and many other senior officials will be here. “I know all of these people, extremely capable people. So again all I can say is that this is journalistic gobbledygook.”
Commenting on Congressional moves to expand economic assistance for the country and also contemplate emergency aid, he said President Obama has expressed his support for Kerry Lugar legislation and indicted that the volume of assistance could be higher than $ 1.5 billion annually.
“I think Pakistan is under challenges from the miscreants in the West, the Taliban, al-Qaeda —- now we (the US and Pakistan) face a common challenge, a common danger and we have a common task. And to that US is increasing assistance to Pakistan, we are welcoming President Zardari in Washington, asking other countries to spend more for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and working for closer cooperation between the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan. That is what we are doing and we will continue to do it because it is in the interest of peace and stability throughout South Asia.” -ONLINE