Archive for October, 2009
Posted in Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, tagged Avigdor Lieberman, Ehud Barak, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Israel, Palestine, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S. Department of State on October 31, 2009| 2 Comments »
Posted in Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, tagged Abu Dhabi, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S. Department of State on October 31, 2009| 2 Comments »
From Pakistan, Secretary Clinton traveled to Abu Dhabi where she met with principals involved in the Mid-East peace process. Here she is pictured with Mahmoud Abbas.
Posted in Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pakistan, Pashtun, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S. Department of State on October 31, 2009| 4 Comments »
One of the last things the Secretary of State did on her visit to Pakistan was to meet with Pashtun leaders. The Pashtun are an ethno-linguistic group found in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan and parts of Iran.
Meeting with Pashtun Leaders
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 30, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all for coming today. And let me start by apologizing for keeping you waiting. We had a number of activities at the embassy that lasted longer than they were scheduled to last. So thank you, again, for taking time to join me here. I think that many of you know our ambassador, Ambassador Anne Patterson. Some of you, I know, know our Special Representative Ambassador Holbrooke. We are very grateful to you for being willing to come and really assist us and me personally and hearing directly from you about the issues, the challenges that you’re facing, to answer any questions that you might have, because we are very aware of the difficulties that are playing out in the North-West Frontier Province in FATA. We are well aware of the displaced peoples from Malakand. We are watching the situation in South Waziristan. We have provided aid for people who have displaced by the military campaign against the elements inside the country that have, unfortunately, been challenging the state and its institutions.
But we also want to know what could be done and what role of partnership could the United States play in helping many of you who are involved in education, involved in NGOs, involved in local and national governments to be able to provide more support for the development and the needs of the people in the areas from which you come and that some of you represent.
There’s a great deal of interest and commitment on the part of the Obama Administration, both President Obama and I are very committed to our relationship with Pakistan. We both have college friends from Pakistan. We have many friends who are Pakistani Americans. This is my fifth trip to the country. I had hoped to be able to come to visit in some of your communities. That was not possible. And I am deeply, deeply sorry about the latest horrific attack in Peshawar with the loss of life and the damage that it caused in personal terms and obvious impact on the larger community.
So I’m here mostly to listen, because I am very grateful for this opportunity. And I want to really ask you to feel free to say whatever’s on your mind. I think if you have followed my trip for the last two days, you know I’m here to listen. I’m here to respond. We may not always agree. But I want the kind of relationship that friends should have. I don’t know anyone who agrees with all their friends. I don’t know anyone who agrees with all their family members. And so part of what I want to do is to leave the past behind, to turn a page on our relationship, and to really work together as partners. And where we disagree, to be as open as we can with one another, but to look for more areas of agreement that will enable us to really improve the lives of people.
I came into my public service because I care deeply about children, and that has been the motivation for much of what I have done my entire life. And I think that talent is distributed evenly across the world, but opportunity is not. And it is something I believe in very strongly that people should have the chance to fulfill their God-given potential. I think that is part of what we are called to try to create conditions for. So I’m interested in the people, not just in the politics. I’m interested in the public, not just in the government officials. So that’s why I appreciate so greatly your coming to be with me.
So with that, let me turn it over to you, to anyone who wishes to start the conversation. And I know that there are people following this from the press from Pakistan and the United States, so perhaps if you could introduce yourself again so people will know who’s talking that would be helpful.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. This is (inaudible). I am president of our (inaudible). Welcome, Madame Secretary. We are very glad to have you. It’s an honor for us (inaudible). I’ll make quick points – two points. First of all, as you know, the democratic government from the very first day came out of the mode of denial about the existence of an extremist insurgency in our country. And we decided to face it and we decided to accept the challenge. By the grace of God, we have been able to defeat it in Malakand. Our armed forces have done a great job. They (Inaudible) and fully supported by the people of the province and the whole country. In fact, political party was supporting that operation, and we were able to eliminate them.
But we still have a problem in FATA with – there are terrorist forces with bases in FATA. They are attacking that province day in and day out. And it’s (inaudible) like a parallel state. I think to defeat the terrorist in FATA is something very important. And the people of FATA have nothing to do with it. The people of FATA are victims. We are not perpetrators. It’s the terrorist who have occupied this area. FATA is like Afghanistan was before September 11th, unfortunately, and we have to change the situation (inaudible) peace if.
But to have this, I think we have to rebuild Malakand (inaudible). It’s a model. It has to become a model. The Talibans are defeating in Malakand totally. The government has been established, now the process of reconstruction started. We are looking towards the (inaudible) community in general, and the United States of America in particular, to help assistance, economic assistance and to turn this area into a model so that it can be repeated in other places also.
I thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Inaudible) I thank you. And I announced yesterday that we will be providing additional funding — $25 million for the reconstruction in Malakand. We believe strongly that we have to help the people who have been, as you say, the victims. I agree with you in applauding the courage of your military.
But as you point out, this is by no means over. There are still challenges to the lives of livelihoods of the people in Pakistan and to the writ of the government. So we will work directly with local officials and local NGOs, as well as to the government to try to help.
MR. WOOD: I’m (inaudible). I have three quick (inaudible). We appreciate that (inaudible) you give us, also to talk to you and talk about (inaudible). As a social worker (inaudible), I’m dealing IDPs also and all other social protection we are dealing. Right now, we are (inaudible) IDPs, including (inaudible) it’s an ongoing problem. We are waiting for peace in the tribal (inaudible) as the senator said. It’s all the – the problem is the FATA area.
But we, the provincial government, we have extra burden of all the IDPs as well as other problems which we are facing like (inaudible), the bomb blast and the civilians are facing a lot of problems. So we all have to work on the one side to strengthen the government departments, because it is very important. We are just a poor country. We are civilians actually. We are facing a lot of problems. So we have to work for our civilians. We have to give them (inaudible) and that should be a quick and visible change in their lives; that is very important, because they are looking at us right now, at what we are doing for them.
And in the trust (inaudible), I believe that this is very important, and that 50 percent trust fund should come directly to the (inaudible). We can then work with NGOS. I personally believe that (inaudible), public partnerships are very important for sustainability and (inaudible). So it should come to the (inaudible) and (inaudible) with NGOs, the public and NGOs will work together on different issues.
Then (inaudible) also. And right now, we are (inaudible) and IDP situation. But along with that, I think (inaudible) development is very important, because we are the ones who are suffering from this (inaudible) situation also. And we have a lot of skilled women. We should develop (inaudible) for our skilled women who are already there, especially in Malakand when they are talking about their recent (inaudible). And there is (inaudible) region. And then there (inaudible) that (inaudible) division, (inaudible) division. This all should (inaudible). But they are the ones who are suffering a lot indirectly because of these militant attacks.
And at the end, I would like that we all should work for our civilians to give them more comfort (inaudible). We have got to find (inaudible), even they don’t that what is happening, but they are suffering. So we all have to work for them.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think you’re right. And I think that people who are being subjected to this violence deserve to have comfort and assistance. And then I share your emphasis on women and children, because very often they are the ones who are suffering, sometimes the loss of a husband and a father, which makes it impossible for them to figure out to support themselves. As we saw in the terrible attack the other day, it was aimed at a women’s market. So I agree with you. And we will follow up with you to see what specific ways we could target some of what we’re hoping to do.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) And I have a difference of opinion (inaudible). We are sitting on a wall —
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Inaudible) pull it up, so we can hear you.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) We are sitting on a wall, on the side of which there are government forces and the other side (inaudible) that are Taliban forces. And we know the strengths and weakness of both the parties.
When other people talk against extremism, it’s easier for them because they are not from the same community of people. But when we talk against it, it’s different for us because we are from the same community, the same mosque, and the same areas. And about a week or so ago, we had had a convention in which we had – we gathered many scholars who (inaudible) – 20,000 scholars (inaudible) against terrorism.
Our opinion is that either there is something wrong with a prescription which cannot heal person, that prescription should be changed. Our (inaudible) that can set up (inaudible) work in the fields. Every (inaudible) person (inaudible) of white people. The Obama Administration has called for change, that is why (inaudible). If you won’t change your policy, then we’ll still keep using our (inaudible), then we would think that that slogan of change is not being (inaudible).
(Inaudible) I would like to say that we’ve been fighting your war, and we were fighting in the past and we are fighting your war now. And it is in such a way that the people (inaudible). And in America (inaudible) of peace we want for our people (inaudible).
Your presence in the region has not been good for peace, because (inaudible). War has given you power (inaudible). Talk of (inaudible) is the talk of (inaudible). We have known from the (inaudible) that the use of power (inaudible). So why are using that means which (inaudible)? It’s important for the nations of the world (inaudible). When you come to Iraq, you don’t ask the United Nations. When you came into Afghanistan, you asked the UN, but you pressurized the UN into submission and they agreed to what you were demanding of them. (Inaudible) the problem, even the problem like (inaudible).
In (inaudible). To all of our problems (inaudible) we should negotiate again (inaudible).
Thank you for (inaudible) to be patient.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. And I certainly agree that negotiations are important, and I hope there will be an opportunity for there to be negotiations so that the violence will end and the perpetrators of the violence will be prevented from continuing their activity. That is our hope, and we certainly would welcome the ideas and the support of local people to enable us to (inaudible) that, because (inaudible) there has to be willingness. And after we were attacked on 9/11 (inaudible) was a terrible tragedy in our country. (Inaudible) to the Taliban then in charge (inaudible). If he will turn over the people who attack us, we will go away. And the answer came back, no. So the local people basically sided with foreigners who had brought different ideas and different attitudes to this beautiful land.
But I think you understand, even though we prefer negotiations, and we (inaudible) system, we could not leave such (inaudible), especially after we tried to solve it peacefully. So we looked for chances to do exactly what you are proposing, and we would welcome your ideas about that.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) from the (inaudible). I’d like to focus on (inaudible) to this country. The first point is that I think in Pakistan institutions are weakened and in the last few years they have become even weaker. Most of it is driven by personalities and (inaudible) personalities. A good example of this was the IDP crisis in the North-West Frontier. The institutions (inaudible) did not function. But a special unit that was created for it, functioned perfectly because it brought the (inaudible) people together. (Inaudible.)
Secondly, I think the U.S. Government has exercised democratic responsibility in its aid to Pakistan. I think there is very good (inaudible). But it seems like –
If soldiers are going to die in the field, and governments is not going to improve on the other side, I think it will be a severe setback for democracy in this country. There are very simple instruments by which governments will be dealt at the local level –
The third point is, I think the U.S. Government needs to balance (inaudible) accountability around the country. (Inaudible) accountability to the Congress is perfect. I think it’s very good –
So these two really need to be balanced.
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s very useful and (inaudible) specific ideas about how best to do that.
Now we have around about 1,000 students. We have affiliated about 21 colleges for (inaudible). And that makes the total number of students –
And plus we would like you to help us in the capacity building of our –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. We will look into that, because I’ve heard that in Lahore yesterday and again today with your comments. And we want to be helpful with education, so we’ll look into the programs –
An educated family has a very positive effect on that family’s future, so we will follow up with you on that.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) I think my visit because we have –
So I think we should keep that (inaudible) that we should proactively access the impact of policies on women and children, especially (inaudible) community. Peace building is something – I keep on saying that most of the conflicts –
We should include women in decision making and peace building more and more. Women have naturally – natural instinct for peace. And you being on a very important position, we expect more and more such effort will be —
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Inaudible) we need more peace builders and everyone is capable of helping that. It doesn’t take any money. It doesn’t take any big institutions. But we want to support the work of the people you’re describing because we think it’s important for Pakistan to really work out a lot of its own challenges, among its own people. But we want to be your partner in assisting wherever that’s possible.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Ma’am before your visit and during your visit (inaudible).
Now, during your visit you met different political leaders and you discussed (inaudible). So I just want to know what –
SECRETARY CLINTON: A very good question. And let me say that we discussed in detail the kinds of plans and assistance that we’re offering. I announced that we want to help with electricity because it’s a big problem from what everybody in Pakistan tells us. And the –
We want to also work through plans to help with education and healthcare, to try to get it down to the local level. And we’ve had a very open exchange, because we know that there are many ways that different groups in Pakistan want us to be of help, but we’ve also said that, ultimately, the future of Pakistan is up to the people of Pakistan. And we now have a new democratic government and it needs to be strengthened. Democracy needs to be strengthened so that people will feel confident that their voices are being heard. And I think that’s one of the most important paths that lies ahead of your country right now.
But I believe that the – if the government sets forth a plan as to how to address a lot of the needs of people, we will be a very willing partner. We do not want to come and say, “Here’s what you should do and here’s what you should do.” That is not our place. But if the government and the people, and not just at the national level in Islamabad, but at the local level –
That’s what we’re looking for, because that’s the kind of partnership we think is (inaudible) and it goes to the kind of reconstruction that we’re talking about in Malakand, and it goes to the kind of education and (inaudible) build cooperation on higher education, that has already been mentioned.
But we believe that no plan can be successful unless the people themselves devise it and own it. There have been too many examples over too many years where people come from the outside and say, “Here’s what you need. And here’s what you need or here’s what we’ll offer to you. We are trying to change that. But it requires that the government –
So that’s what we hope for. And I got a very positive response from your government officials. And we’re going to continue to work together.
QUESTION: I’m (inaudible). I’m the chief executive officer for (inaudible). (Inaudible) we are one of the largest employers of people from (inaudible). I’m also the president for the last four, five years (inaudible).
Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. (Inaudible)
And we agree with you, that we were spending and are spending a lot of money that nobody knows we’re spending. And we have put billions of dollars over the last year, but it doesn’t have any real impact. And people can’t see it. It doesn’t have an identification with our country, so many people in Pakistan think we’re not helping at all. And that’s an incredibly frustrating for us, so that’s why we’re changing our aid approach. Because I agree with you, we need to do some things that are highly visible in order to restore the awareness on the part of the people of Pakistan and what we’re trying to work on together. So we will take your ideas on work on them.
I’ve been told that I’m going to have to ask everybody to be a little bit shorter in what you say, so that we can get to everyone. So if we could, I will be short in my answers, I promise. (Inaudible) short in your comments.
QUESTION: Thank you. (Inaudible)
And these are two different things. My next one will be that now the time has come that we have demonstrated that the Government of Pakistan, that we can do things and we can develop –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me (inaudible) and we will have meetings with –
I think we should retire inside because it is just too windy, and I see the women covering up from the (inaudible). So I think if we can –
QUESTION: My two questions —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you’re most welcome. My mother language is –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: So we’re going to go downstairs? So that way, we’re go down stairs and get out of the sun. It’s too – (part 1 ends here)
QUESTION: (Inaudible) collectively is very important. The other (inaudible) is also very important (inaudible). I would say that in Pakistan and Afghanistan there are two (inaudible). One (inaudible) extreme version and one is the modern version. There’s no version (inaudible) and there is no (inaudible) in Pakistan. In Pakistan the moderate version is being represented by (inaudible). Because that’s not a fight we should be fighting for the United States. (Inaudible) a fight which we are fighting for Muslim (inaudible), that we are fighting for the Pakistan, and that we are fighting for the Muslim (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am absolutely thrilled to hear (inaudible). I’ll make three quick comments. First, as I understand what you said and you believe that the President should order 40,000 troops as soon as possible. And is that because you think it will show a resolve and it will break the momentum of the (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: The second one, on the scholarship issue, if – I want to come back to you about that, and I’ll have Ambassador Holbrooke and his team and Ambassador Patterson and hers, come back and talk to you about that, because we do want to do something specifically aimed at young people in FATA and in the North-West Frontier Province, so we’ll follow up on that.
Thirdly, we need to turn to you on this ideological struggle. We are not equipped and it would be inappropriate for us to be involved in that in any way. But I think what you’re saying is critically important, because there is an opportunity – after the Soviet Union, when religions (inaudible) and there was an effort to turn away from religion or try to suppress religion, what came out – it’s part of the reason it originated, as I understand the history, was out of a sense that people wanted to live publicly their faith and (inaudible) students was a way of kind of bring out that commitment (inaudible). It became a very harsh form. It became, unfortunately, influenced by foreign thought. But we need your idea – not for now, but maybe (inaudible) – what would be the best way to accomplish the mission you have just described for academics, for imams, for people to be present in Afghanistan to begin talking about the form of Islam that is predominant in Pakistan, which is actually predominant in the world. So would you think about that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: To how that might be done.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right. But we will follow up on it.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) What I would like the (inaudible) engagement in Pakistan (inaudible). But this is our war, but we all have a common enemy. It’s a war of the world (inaudible). But we are fighting it with the blood of our children, our husbands, our brothers, our sisters (inaudible). So the world (inaudible).
And also (inaudible) I would also like to talk about scholarships. I would like to request scholarships for the children of the (inaudible). Another thing also, any future aid that is coming into (inaudible) should be more people-centric projects (inaudible). And also I would suggest public-private partnership. You talk a lot about dealing with the government, dealing with NGOs (inaudible). And development only takes place when the private sector is involved (inaudible). They have to make it happen. If the private sector is not involved and you (inaudible) development is not sustainable. And it’s just very, very short-term because governments come and go. (Inaudible) and the projects should be people-centric. And you have to invite the private sector. And by public-private partnership, I mean, not (inaudible), not the Government of Pakistan, but the private sector and the Government of U.S. directly.
Why shy away from that? Why only go to government and why go to (inaudible)? Because most of (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I agree with completely on the private sector part. You’re absolutely right. And we will look for ways to do that.
QUESTION: And another question also I would like (inaudible). Is why not have media (inaudible)? Media these news is the mass weapon that we have. If we can (inaudible) and talking about (inaudible) development and all, that’s how we change (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: I agree with that. And we will do more of that. That’s something that Ambassador Holbrooke has been talking about that we need to have different sources of information for the people (inaudible).
QUESTION: And we talked several times (inaudible).
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) I think the major chunk of it should be allocated (inaudible) and FATA, because we are the largest (inaudible). And we need this development.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I agree.
QUESTION: Please make sure that that happens.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ll do my best.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I’m from (inaudible). We started it seven years ago and we have (inaudible). And the reason I mention that is just to give you an idea of the complexity of this part of the world. (Inaudible.) And most of our focus is on the youth. Our focus is on intergenerational changes. If you look at the leadership of (inaudible). And all of the people that come into these places are 15, 20 years old (inaudible).
So my first question, and the question I have is: What happens to (inaudible)? (Inaudible) what do we do next? Do we go back to the old system (inaudible)? Talk with the young people there and (inaudible). Because one of the things that we’ve come to the conclusion of is that there is intergeneration of (inaudible). There is sort of (inaudible) amongst the young people (inaudible). At the embassy we tried to set up some (inaudible) for Ambassador Holbrooke (inaudible) and Admiral Mullen also.
And I think things like that are important. Because after that meeting, although they were very vocal – some of them – some of the things they said were – I mean, it was a bit of (inaudible). When they came out of the meeting, I asked them, I said, what do you think? (Inaudible.) And they said, you know, we said all these things in there and I didn’t get any sort (inaudible).
AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE: This meeting, the group you assembled, young kids (inaudible).
QUESTION: So I think they were (inaudible) voices in and asking them what (inaudible). (Inaudible) very concrete suggestions for what do you do next. (Inaudible.) Also there’s too much of a shock. I think it would have to be a (inaudible) approach into being integrated. So there you bump (inaudible) the elders in this council (inaudible).
Once the money arrives in the agency, you set up a new public sector service (inaudible). Where you populate it with young people, doctors, new teachers (inaudible). They can be part of the mainstream, part of the public sector, and part of development in their own areas. And tomorrow, they will be your elected leaders to come and sit in this council. They will have an understanding of how that (inaudible) works. And the (inaudible).
I mean, sitting in a legislature or making laws, which are (inaudible) because (inaudible). So what’s the point of (inaudible). And there’s never really been communication. (Inaudible.) This is a time to have that messaging (inaudible) to what it actually stands for, what do we want to do, and cooperating on development and trying to (inaudible) of what we see (inaudible), in terms of (inaudible), ethics of what America is. And showing some of the vulnerable sides of the United States, because there’s poverty in America, there are differences of opinion. It’s not (inaudible). We never see that, you know, in terms of (inaudible).
The other thing (inaudible) national level, I think, some people mentioned earlier, is institution reform. We’re (inaudible). And I think that’s something (inaudible). Within the political parties – and you’ve been (inaudible) having more of a democratic process within those parties, bringing in (inaudible) voices, not having them dominated by (inaudible). (Inaudible) to also have a credible (inaudible). (Inaudible.) And I think when young people, like the people you saw in that room, you could feel a kind of (inaudible) expressed themselves, everybody in there wanted to say something (inaudible). If they want to come into the mainstream, how do we get in? I mean, they’re (inaudible). Over 55 percent of our population has (inaudible). What is their sort of thinking about Pakistan? Where does this keep going? They are a bit confused as to what kind of (inaudible) we have.
I think there is another talent here. There’s another (inaudible). There are people who really want to do things, and I think the (inaudible) part (inaudible). All over the world, there’s a huge (inaudible). I think there’s a lot that can happen here. We need a lot more engagement with (inaudible). But the more reaction there is, the more openness there is and the better (inaudible).
I just have to thank you for taking the time and (inaudible). And we’re all very tired from this long (inaudible). Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Thank you for what you’re doing, very specific kinds of interactions and outreach, particularly with young people, and it’s critical to everything. And I was struck by what you said about how the leaders of (inaudible). And we have to do more in working with your government to get your voices heard within your own government (inaudible). We will certainly raise that.
(Inaudible) thank you all for your patience, for being willing to come back and be with me. I am so grateful to you. And we’re going to follow up on this. I think you know from the work that our ambassadors are already doing, that we really are serious about learning. We can’t promise immediate results, but we really want to have an agenda that will make sense, and then try to begin to work with all of you. So thank you again, very much.
Posted in Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pakistan, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S. Department of State on October 31, 2009| 2 Comments »
While traveling in Pakistan, Secretary Clinton was reaching out via Pakistani media to the people. In fact, that was a major reason for this visit since the State Department review of our position in Pakistan resulted in a determination that we had not done enough, in the face of a media offensive there, to refute lies and misinformation. In addition to her availabilities to those in the Pakistani press, the Secretary made herself available to her own traveling press corps. Here are some interviews she gave that the Department of State has released.
Interview With Kim Ghattas of BBC
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 30, 2009
QUESTION: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, thank you very much for talking to the BBC here in Islamabad. It’s been a busy few days for you. I’ll go straight to the questions. I know you’re short on time. I wanted to start by asking you, during your time here, you’ve said often that you wanted the Pakistanis to trust America, that America was their friend. But do you trust the Pakistanis, all of them, the government, the army?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Kim, I think that you’ve put your finger on one of the issues that I’m trying to address. I don’t doubt that what we’ve been told here in Pakistan, over and over again, that there exists a trust deficit, is a challenge to the kind of relationship that President Obama and I believe is both possible and necessary with Pakistan. But it is also clear, as I have stated both publicly and privately, that we have questions that we are also seeking answers for. What I’m trying to do is to create a more open relationship, not only between our governments, but between our people.
We have so much in common with the people of Pakistan, and it’s not just the fact that we face a common enemy – violent extremists, al-Qaida and their allies – it’s that we have a long history, going back to the very beginning of Pakistan, that we have an extraordinary presence in our country of a very active, successful Pakistani American community, and that we are committed to this relationship. But in order to have a partnership of the kind that I am seeking, I think we have to be very honest with one another.
QUESTION: You were very honest in your comments here when you said that you cannot believe that there isn’t someone in Pakistan who knows where the top al-Qaida leaders are.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as I’ve said for many months, we have been encouraging and supporting the Pakistani people and their government to address the threat that they face. And we’re very encouraged by the commitment that we are seeing. The Pakistani army has suffered many losses. They’ve made a lot of sacrifice to push back the Taliban advances first in Swat, now in South Waziristan. And that is answering a lot of the concerns that we’ve been expressing to them about the capacity and resolve to take on the threat that was posed to them. We think it’s a common threat. And so of course, we are very encouraged to see what the government is doing.
At the same time, it is just a fact that al-Qaida had sought refuge in Pakistan after the United States and our allies went after them because of the attack on 9/11. And we want to encourage everyone, not just the Pakistani Government or the military, but Pakistani citizens, to realize the connection between al-Qaida and these Taliban extremists who are threatening Pakistan. They are part of a syndicate of terror. So I want to express my hope that we’re going to be successful in finding and rooting out the terrorists who threaten us both.
QUESTION: Are you convinced that the ISI and the Pakistani army are no longer cooperating with militant groups, be it al-Qaida or the Taliban or other such groups?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I believe that there is a great commitment and a sincere resolve. I spent several hours with the Army Chief of Staff, General Kiyani, and the director of ISI, General Pasha last night, and we had a broad-ranging, in-depth discussion. So I am certainly encouraged by their commitment to this struggle that they are waging. And they are aware that even as we speak about the courageous fight they’re waging in South Waziristan, their challenge goes much more broadly than that. But I think that the resolve and capacity that they are demonstrating now leads me to conclude that they are going to see this fight through.
QUESTION: So do you think there’s no collusion at all anymore?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, when you say at all, I mean, there are thousands and thousands of people who work in this government, just as there are in any government. But I am very impressed by the resolve of the leadership.
QUESTION: Do you think that the Pakistani army is interested mostly in tackling those elements of the Taliban that are a nuisance to them, and not so much those that are the real hard-core Afghan Talibans that are a problem for you and your troops in Afghanistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s a question of prioritizing. What we’ve seen in the last months, certainly, since I’ve been Secretary of State, is a joint commitment by the democratically elected government and the military and security forces. But their immediate threat are those who threaten them. I understand that completely. But since there is a connection between those who threaten them and those who threaten beyond their borders – not just in Afghanistan, but in the rest of the world – they’re well aware of our concern that attention be paid to the other elements of this terrorist syndicate.
And from my conversations with both the civilian leadership and the security leadership, I believe that they understand that there is a connection, and they’re going to be continuing this effort.
QUESTION: Moving on to Afghanistan, a new defense bill was passed by President Barack Obama just this week, which provides money for the Taliban in Afghanistan, those who switched sides. And I was wondering, as a staunch advocate of women’s rights, how do you feel about making political deals with people who, to say the least, have a very different idea of what a woman’s rights actually are?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have to be clear about who we’re talking about. The hard-core Taliban leadership are, in my view, not going to be interested in anything other than continuing their efforts against us and against Afghans and our allies. So I don’t think we’re talking about the people who are ideologically committed to their view of the world which is, frankly, repugnant to anyone who cares about human rights and women’s rights, as I passionately do.
But many people were caught up in the Taliban, young men who were essentially drafted out of their villages because of intimidation and threats, young men who had no other means of livelihood. And what we’re finding, and what our soldiers and our marines are finding on the ground, as they found in Iraq, is we began to watch the change from al-Qaida in Iraq and some of the other groups, that there are a lot of people who are the foot soldiers who are very interested in coming back to society.
QUESTION: But that’s when it relates to military strategy and military thinking, and what they do on the ground. But when it comes to treatment of women, there isn’t that much difference.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but I think there is. I think that there – from all of our work in Afghanistan over the last number of years, the vast majority of people in the country want to see their daughters educated, for example. I was so touched by what happened after the horrible attacks where the Taliban would throw acid at these young girls trying to get an education. And their parents – fathers and mothers – insisted that the schools remain open, that their daughters continue to go.
Now, it will be up to the Government of Afghanistan to make clear that they want to provide services, and this is at the national level, as well as the local level – schools and clinics. But I don’t think the vast majority of the people of Afghanistan want to deny their wives and their daughters access to healthcare. So we just have to separate out what are the most radical elements that terrorize the country. The people of Afghanistan do not want the return of that. In every poll that has been taken, the Taliban are rejected, and people are looking for the security that they need in order to get on with their lives.
So I do think that it’s important – and your question is critical – that we look very carefully at who we would possibly be able to reintegrate into society, and who you have to capture, kill, defeat. And that’s a much smaller group than the people who call themselves or are called Taliban.
QUESTION: I’ll move on to the Middle East because that’s where we’re moving on —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: — physically. We’re going to – you are going to hold talks with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Is your – are you talks a sign of how bad things are, that you need to intervene personally? Or is it, on the contrary, a sign that perhaps something is moving and you’re going to help edge it along?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s more because we know that this is a high priority for not only our Administration, but for much of the world. It is one of the most common questions that I’m asked. And we started this. We knew it would be a process. We knew that it would be challenging. I think the fact that I’m in the region, I’m able to meet Senator Mitchell and have these conversations, reinforces the seriousness with which we are approaching our desire to get the parties to begin a serious negotiation that can lead to a two-state solution.
QUESTION: The – you know, Washington pressed Israel for a settlement freeze. And so far, you know, you haven’t really been able to deliver. President Mahmoud Abbas will look weak if he agrees to talks now without that settlement freeze. He has also tried to please you by delaying the debate at the human – at the UN Human Rights Council on the Goldstone report, which undermined his position at home. Do you think your policies are undermining President Abbas, your ally?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No. I think that in any preliminary that leads up to negotiations, people stake out positions. That is the way it’s done, and I appreciate and understand that. I think that what we’re discussing in great detail with both sides is a very clear understanding of what each has to gain by moving forward with the negotiations.
But I wouldn’t question the fact that some of what has happened in the last weeks has made it more difficult. Because the Goldstone report, which you mentioned, was a very important issue to the Israelis and to the Palestinians. It is, as you know, going forward in the United Nations process. We happen to think that’s not particularly fruitful. We think that it was one-sided and it carried recommendations that would be unprecedented for any country, not just Israel. So there are a lot of problems with it.
But we’re going to be sitting down and talking with the leadership of both the Palestinian Authority and Israel to determine what more we can do. Now obviously, we can’t want this more than the parties want it. I mean, that’s just the way negotiations are. But the fact that the United States is engaged, and that we are serious about this engagement, is, in and of itself, I think a very positive message.
QUESTION: On Israeli settlements, the International Court of Justice ruled in 2004 that Israeli settlements were in flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which clearly states that occupying powers cannot move their population into the territories that they occupy. Do you believe that Israeli settlements are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what we have said, and what President Obama said again in his speech to the United Nations, is that we continue to have very serious questions about the legitimacy of the settlements that Israel has promoted. We understand that to a large extent, it has to do with their security needs and fears about trying to have a defensible perimeter around Israel.
But we also are committed to a two-state solution. And as President Obama said, that two-state solution will take place in the territory occupied by Israel since 1967. The question is how we get to it. And that’s what we’re trying to achieve.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you very much for your time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Kim.
QUESTION: Thank you. It’s always a pleasure.
Roundtable with Senior Pakistani Editors
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 30, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you all very much. And I what I hope we can do in the time that we have is just have a very free-wheeling conversation. I will answer as many questions as we can get to in the time allotted. I am very determined on this trip to, as you have seen, go into many different settings and have people ask the questions that are on their minds. It has troubled me to see the level of distrust and just misperception that seems to have grown up over the last several years between our two countries and our people. And since I believe strongly in the importance of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan, I wanted on this trip to very openly answer as many questions as I could. Obviously, we’ve done the official part, and there’s more of that to come, but the town halls I’m doing, the media interviewing that I’m doing – it is all, for me, aimed at both understanding better some of the source of the objections or criticism, but also demonstrating clearly that we want to listen, we want to consult, we really want to put this relationship on a very strong and broad foundation.
So with that, let me throw it open.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) asked me to moderate. There isn’t much call for moderation. There are only six of us here. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: But I think what we need to do is just introduce ourselves very briefly to you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Excellent.
MODERATOR: I edit various newspapers and do a program on television. I also write what you read in The Economist about Pakistan from time to time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I do read The Economist, so, excellent.
QUESTION: I am (inaudible). I work with Dawn (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Excellent.
MODERATOR: Dawn is our leading English-language newspaper.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. And I’ve been interviewed twice by your correspondent in Washington.
QUESTION: I’m (inaudible) Pakistan. And I am president of (inaudible) Pakistan newspaper.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, great.
MODERATOR: The newspaper society is the apex body of all publishers.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, indeed. Well, that’s a distinguished position. Thank you.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) I represent (inaudible) which is a monthly magazine (inaudible) Lahore.
QUESTION: I am Jugnu Mohsin. I am the publisher and managing editor of the weekly The Friday Times and (inaudible) magazine. I also do – I am a trustee of a social services NGO which is based outside Lahore, and I work with women and schoolchildren. And I’m the better half in that relationship.
MODERATOR: Even if you say so yourself. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, this is the second time where I have been exhausted after hearing you all (inaudible). (Laughter.) You do so many different things. You wear so many different hats. It’s quite impressive.
So who wishes to begin? Najam, do you want to?
QUESTION: Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: Madame (inaudible) I welcome you to this city of Lahore, which is the capital – cultural capital of Pakistan and considered to be the heart of Pakistan. So you are here in the heart of Pakistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Indeed.
QUESTION: Therefore, we should talk heart-to-heart.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: I think it would be better. I would like to relate a verse from our poet (inaudible), the Shakespeare to South Asia. He has said (in foreign language). My friends, alas, are purveyors of wise advice, where all I need is a healing hand and a (inaudible) upon my wound. I want to say only this (inaudible) and a (inaudible). I want to say only this (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Would you like to?
QUESTION: Well, two things, Secretary. One, I’m sort of wondering when the Obama Administration and you and your colleagues are going to make up your minds about what do in Afghanistan. Two, I want to know whether you are aware of the fact that the decision not to send troops will be seen as defeat in this country? And three, I’d like to as, you at some stage about what you intend to do to specifically help the women of this country, the rural women of this country, which I can tell you is the area of most potential and the area which is most neglected.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right. Well, three very important questions. First, let me put the first about the President’s decision in context. When the President was inaugurated, he inherited the Bush policy which, until November of 2008, had been a policy that had a limited military commitment. There were only 30,000 American troops. In November 2008, President Bush ordered additional troops and then left office. When President Obama came in, there was a set of requests that were pending for the President to have to address, which he did. And we did a very intense but short review of what we saw happening in Afghanistan. We realized that Pakistan was greatly impacted by what went on in Afghanistan and that to look at one without the other was a mistake because of the nature of this threat.
The President decided to appoint Ambassador Holbrooke as a special representative to both countries. He also decided to send additional troops. But at the time – and he decided to change commanders. Well, those are all very important decisions. At the time, he said we will reevaluate where we are after the Afghan election. He said that back in March when he made his initial presentation, because he wanted – and I thought it was a very judicious approach – he wanted to see what was going to happen with the troops who were put in, what was going to happen with the election.
Now, as you know, the election is not yet over. We are still waiting for it to be resolved. And that has affected the timetable of the President’s deliberations, because clearly, everyone knows that we have to create a new set of expectations with the leadership of Afghanistan, that Afghanistan has to take greater and greater responsibility, as Pakistan is now, for its own security. We have to be much more effective in helping Afghanistan build a security force, both an army and a police force, that is up to the challenge that they confront. We have to have a different set of expectations than were apparently presented by the prior administration to the Afghan leadership as to accountability, rule of law, transparency, corruption, and other building blocks of stability and security.
So the President has engaged in a very thoughtful deliberative process. I’m not going to preempt his decision making, but I would imagine that he will be coming to a decision sometime after the Afghan election is finally resolved. Because if you look at General McChrystal’s report, it is certainly a military report, but it is also a call to action for the Afghan army and for the Afghan military – I’m sorry, for the Afghan Government, both civilian and military. And we have to be sure that the Afghan people and their leadership, however their election turns out, are committed.
And so that’s the kind of context, and the decision should be sometime after the Afghan election.
I think the President is well aware that it’s important that he show resolve, that he show a commitment to seeing this effort through. I believe he absolutely would agree with what I just said if he were sitting here. But I think he’s trying to determine what is the best way to effectuate that commitment. The strategy will not change. I mean, the strategy remains the same: to defeat al-Qaida and their extremist allies, but to be slightly more focused on who are those extremist allies, where are they, how best to go after them, what does the role of government in Afghanistan have to do to be an effective counterpoint to the Taliban, and all of the other aspects of this approach. So I think that the President has reached out and listened to a broad array of opinions and has heard everything you can imagine. And then it’s up to him. He gets to make this decision, and I’m sure he will soon.
On the last question, which is very near to my heart, to go back to the heart-to-heart, there is no doubt that improving opportunities for women in Pakistan is one of the best ways to secure democracy and to improve economic opportunity. This is a given. It is what we know from every World Bank study, every United Nations study, from every government and society experience.
Yesterday, I participated with President Zardari in the Benazir Income Support Program. And I handed certificates to eight or nine women who had come from all over the country who had been selected in the prior lottery. And I’ve been privileged to visit Pakistan. I’ve been in many places in South Asia, East Asia, Africa, Latin America. And trying to give women income support apart from their husbands and their families has the best payoff of any direct program you can do. We’ve learned this over 30 years of practice. I’ve seen the effects of it. One of the most interesting programs that is going on right now are women in India and women in Pakistan actually working together on microfinance.
QUESTION: That’s right.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And it’s that kind of confidence building, relationship building that may just start at the bottom grassroots but which can change attitudes. I remember in Bangladesh going to a Muslim village, and the women from a nearby Hindu village were brought over, so I was addressing an audience of both Muslim and Hindu women who were all in this microfinance program. And it’s the little things. So when I asked, “Well, what difference has this $50 loan made?” One woman said, “It allows me to contribute to my family, and my husband respects that. It has allowed me to have my own life because my mother-in-law knows I’m contributing.”
Human rights, as one of my heroines, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, start in those small places near to home. They start in the family. They start in the neighborhood, in the village, in the school. And we have to do more. And I think the United States stands ready to help Pakistan support programs that are really aimed at empowering, educating women. And if you have ideas, we are more than ready to entertain those, because I have just seen with my own eyes what a difference it makes.
QUESTION: Absolutely. I wanted to ask you about this (inaudible) on the fast track?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: And there is (inaudible) making it conditional on the resolution of the Kashmir issue. I wonder – I just want to know if there is a (inaudible) and what is (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to the transit trade agreement, Afghanistan and Pakistan first started talking about a transit trade agreement, I think, in 1964. Richard, 1964?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, it was never resolved. And what we discussed when we had the Afghanistan-Pakistan leadership in Washington was what steps could be taken in a relatively short period of time to increase economic opportunities and promote trade. And there were two that were mentioned. The first is the transit trade agreement. I got a report about that yesterday in Islamabad. I was told that it is on track to be resolved by the end of the year. Part of the hold-up is because of the Afghan elections. They don’t have a government, so they – the Pakistanis have really moved quite forward in trying to get this resolved. But since August or July when the campaign started, the Government in Afghanistan has not been able to resolve their part of it. But we hope that shortly after the election is determined and the new government is seated, there will be an agreement. There are a couple of minor outstanding issues that have to be resolved.
The second – but let me just say that the reason why this is so important is it opens up Pakistan to Central Asia in a way that will expedite traffic and trade. During the United Nations General assembly, I met with leaders from all the Central Asian countries. And I can’t remember whether it was Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, but one of the countries said to me that they were hoping that there would be a very good relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan so that they could facilitate trade down to your ports. And one of – apparently, I don’t know this, but I was told, Pakistan makes great cement and that the cement is really valued in Central Asia, but it’s hard to get it. So it’s that kind of little thing that stuck in my mind, and it was a reminder that trade is based on millions of individual transactions, and you have to make it as easy as possible for those transactions. And this transit agreement, I believe, will do that.
The other point which you made I agree with wholeheartedly, and I said that several times in the last two days. Opening up trade with India will have so many positive effects for Pakistan. The trade between India and Pakistan will explode and it will be far more advantageous, in our assessment, to Pakistan. Business people, I think, are there. I think people – business people here in Lahore, from what I’m told, are very willing to have trade opened. Of course, Lahore and Punjab would be the greatest beneficiaries because of the proximity. But it is something that would make a huge difference.
And I’m hoping that the dialogue begins again between India and Pakistan. It should not be a zero-sum game. There is more win-win situations that could be developed between the two countries, and trade would have an immediate positive effect on the Pakistani economy.
Did you want to follow up?
QUESTION: Yes, about the relationship, because the —
SECRETARY CLINTON: About the what?
QUESTION: As you mentioned before, Pakistan has (inaudible) made normalization of trade conditional on Kashmir resolution.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right, right.
QUESTION: But is there – is there any movement on that? What is in it for Pakistan and —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well —
QUESTION: Trade is very good thing. And Pakistan does not need to (inaudible) trade route. But on that Pakistan can do on its own and with (inaudible) already (inaudible) Afghan transit (inaudible) —
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, you don’t.
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, you have trade, but it is – there’s no agreement.
QUESTION: Transit trade we have.
QUESTION: But transit trade is from Karachi to —
QUESTION: Not from (inaudible).
QUESTION: No, but there has been some Afghan-Pakistan trade —
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, there is some trade going on. But there’s no framework agreement that decides on tariffs and decides on which trucks can cross the border. I mean, all of the things that go into an agreement, that’s why this agreement is so important, because the trickle of trade that you do have could be a flood of trade if this agreement were in place.
But with respect to your other question, we are encouraging the Indians and the Pakistani Government to go back to the dialogue that they were engaged in to look at all of these issues. Trade should be on the agenda, along with Kashmir and everything else. And we hope that there will be a resumption of that dialogue. I certainly think it is in the best interest of Pakistan that it be resumed. It’s up to Pakistan to decide if it’s an all-or-nothing agreement. I’ve talked to many Pakistani friends and they have different approaches. Some say, look, it has to be everything, and everything has to be conditioned on Kashmir. Others say, you know, if we had incremental agreements, we could get closer to an agreement in Kashmir because we would build more confidence between us.
So, I mean, that’s up to the Pakistanis. We’re not in a position to say here’s what you should do and what we expect. That’s not our business. We just want to encourage the dialogue to begin again because there are so many benefits that Pakistan could realize by this.
QUESTION: There are a couple of issues here to take up from where she left. You know, as soon as this agreement was announced in Washington, I think – or was it New York – the Pakistani Foreign Office here came under enormous pressure from the security establishment, and they gave a statement downplaying this whole thing. And we were —
SECRETARY CLINTON: The trade agreement.
QUESTION: The trade. And the perception in the security apparatus here is that the government is soft on India, the government is soft on the United States, and the government is not looking after the security interests of this country properly, which is why the Foreign Office then comes under pressure. Which is where this questions from, is there a quid pro quo?
The second issue is that after Musharraf (inaudible) really went off the agenda, in a sense. He was moving forward in very interesting areas which civilian governments had not been allowed to move on, but the army moved on those areas because it thought that this was a time to do so. Interestingly enough, the situation now is that all these things are hostages, are held hostage to this whole resumption of the Composite Dialogue.
And as far as we can tell, in all honesty, India is putting forward conditions which are not going to be easy to meet in terms of the ground situation over here. Maybe in three or four or five years’ time, some action can be taken to dismantle certain groups and things like that. But right now, the government is certainly not in a position to do that. And the establishment – the security establishment is not interested in doing that.
Why is it that although Mr. Holbrooke is a regional envoy, the fact is that India-Pakistan problems are impinging on Afghanistan as well, which is where all your problems with (inaudible) and everybody else is coming from, and which is why the attacks on the embassies take place or the consulates take place?
We definitely feel – those of us who support this entire process, we definitely feel that you and Ambassador Holbrooke should be playing a more active role in trying to persuade the Indians to get back on track and not put these conditions on their Composite Dialogue, because that is exactly what the terrorists want. They will derail – and something else, another Mumbai and this whole thing will be derailed. And then the Pakistani establishment will come to you and say sorry, we’re involved on the other side. You can go and fight your own war. This – we have to worry about the other thing.
And something like that can happen. And the Indians and the Pakistani have to, in a sense, preempt it. If they can’t preempt it, they have to sort out – sort this out that if and when it happens, they will not revert back to the warmongering hysteria that characterized the attack on Mumbai. What happened the last time, Madame Secretary, is that it took 24 hours for the Pakistani media to become anti-India all over again – 24 hours.
QUESTION: That’s right.
QUESTION: It took five years to get them on – to back to the peace process under Musharraf, and then under this government, and it took 24 hours after Mumbai – state of denial over here in the government, in the security administration, and in the media, for us to get back into the anti-India mode, so much so that some Taliban leaders were then called in to give statements saying that if there is a problem with India, they will give up the war with the Pakistani – against the Pakistanis and join the Pakistani army to defeat you.
QUESTION: To fight India.
QUESTION: So I think, you know, the thing is that we really need to get Ambassador Holbrooke to go to Delhi more often. I know the Indians are very sensitive about this. And – but I think just as some of us have been urging him to go to Saudi Arabia more often – (laughter) – I think he needs to go India more often, and I think you need to talk to the Indians also in the longer-term interests of the region. On the one hand, the Indians say that if the Americans were to pull out of here, it would be a disaster. And similarly, they also say that if the Taliban were to do things in Pakistan, then there would be a spillover.
Well, then the logical consequence of that is that the Indians should be talking to the Pakistani Government and to the Pakistani security establishment about resolving some of these things. And instead of doing that, what we now have is unresolved issues of the past, and now the new issues of water. I mean, we have water problems in this country, upper riparian versus lower riparian, Sindh Province versus Punjab Province. We can’t agree amongst ourselves over water here. And now the old Indus Waters Treaty that governs water distribution between India and Pakistan is being challenged. The Indians are building dams, we are building dams. We are in a rush to do this and we are in a rush to do that. This is conflict all over again.
And I think part of your difficulties in Afghanistan have to do with my assessment with your inability to address the Pakistani security establishment’s concerns or their mindset, which has taken a long time to build. And it – a lot of it is related to India. Therefore, I think you need to bring India into the loop more than you are doing right now if you really want to be successful in your endeavors in Afghanistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I appreciate your comments, because I think it reflects a perspective that we have to be aware of and take into account. But let me share my perspective because it is somewhat different. When President Obama became President, as you recall, the Pakistani Government and the security establishment had decided that they would accommodate the Pakistani Taliban, and they proceeded to do so. They signed agreements. And now, this was not done by the civilian democratic government alone. This was agreed upon by the military and civilian leadership. So they signed agreements in Swat, for example. They made deals in Waziristan. They thought they could buy off the Pakistani Taliban by giving them some autonomy and some leeway in certain areas that are quite far from Lahore or Islamabad, et cetera. That was the state of play when we came into office.
Within 60 days, it became apparent that this was not working, that the agreement for some kind of a Sharia state, some kind of a Talibanist/Talibanized area was not enough for the Pakistani Taliban, which I believe is, in large measure, due because they’re no longer indigenous. They are part of a syndicate of terrorism that takes both inspiration and other aid from al-Qaida, and that some of the fighters that are you are up against are not Pakistanis, they are Uzbeks and Saudis and people from other countries. So your government, both your military and your civilian government – remember, the civilian government was new and our government was obviously new – but your civilian government and your military concluded that this approach was not working. And so we saw the action pushing the Taliban out of Buner, pushing them out of Swat, and now we’re seeing the action in Waziristan.
From my perspective, that was a sea change by both your civilian and your military establishments. So maybe it’s just a difference in time that we are looking at. But I think the actions that your government are now taking in concert between the civilian and the military are in the best interest of Pakistan, but they are incredibly consuming. It’s kind of hard to think about a lot of things when you’re moving 25,000 troops to fight an entrenched foe.
At the same time, I know that there is a renewed interest on the part of the government in both countries of trying to get back to the dialogue. Obviously, that’s ultimately in the hands of the two governments, but we are certainly encouraging it. So I’ve been to Delhi. Richard’s been to Delhi. We have conveyed that. We’ve been to Islamabad. We have conveyed that. We would like to see that because we think that both India and Pakistan face a common foe now.
Mumbai was a terrible shock to the Indians, in part because they had a situation that lasted for three days with massive television coverage. I mean, one bomb is horrible enough, but three days of seiging and killing and firebombing. And we lost six Americans in Mumbai. So obviously, we take it very seriously. And I know that the effort that Prime Minister Singh put forth to avoid a reaction was extraordinary, and it was in the middle of his election. And you know. I mean, you follow this. The voices were loud: We have to retaliate. And he would not permit that to happen.
Now, the problem in both countries is that progress can be derailed by extremists. You have yours, they have theirs, and we know that. So it takes a lot of commitment to be able to get this dialogue back on track. And the Indians, I know, are talking with your government about the trial of the Mumbai defendants. They obviously take that very seriously, as they understandably would. Your government is talking to the Indians about how there can be clear lines of communication so that people don’t jump to conclusions. So there’s a lot going on. And we’re encouraging it, and we think that it would be so much in the best interests of both countries to build on what was done. There’s a lot of activity going on through Kashmir that hasn’t stopped – the bus routes, the trucking routes. There’s a lot of things that are going east – going back and forth between India and Pakistan that haven’t been derailed. But progress hasn’t continued and there’s a lot more that could be done, so we are going to do everything we can to try to make it happen. But you are right to point out that your government has to speak with one voice. That’s the thing that has to happen so that your military and civilian leadership together have to say this is what we want. And I think that is a very important development.
QUESTION: I don’t want to belabor the point, but you know what’s happened in the last two weeks is that the government and the military are speaking with one voice, and unfortunately, that voice is not terribly good. They’re raising the Kashmir issue again. They’re accusing India of fomenting trouble in Balochistan, and they’re – now the interior minister is openly coming out with statements that are as hostile to India as the Indians have been making against Pakistan. Things are not good. Instead of progress, I see a decline in India-Pakistan relations right now, and I’m very worried. I’m deeply worried and deeply alarmed. If there are forces here that want to derail the war on terror —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: — then this is the best thing to do.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right, right.
QUESTION: So I really —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, no, I understand this is a constantly challenging environment, and I can only assure you that we are doing everything we can to encourage your government, both military and civilian, to reopen that dialogue and to start building that confidence and to start moving forward together. Because if that doesn’t happen, both sides are victims of the same threat.
QUESTION: But you see, many Pakistanis believe that India is doing some mischief in Balochistan, and there are so many conflicts in Afghanistan and NATO forces are there, your forces are there, and their (inaudible) because some people (inaudible) are encouraging India to do some mischief in Balochistan. And President Musharraf (inaudible) I believe 200 percent it is true that India is doing mischief in Balochistan. And now (inaudible) our interior ministry is repeatedly (inaudible) like that. We want to know what’s the reality, and why it’s not being contradicted by you and scoffed by you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, we have no evidence of that. I mean, we just have no evidence of that. So from our perspective, we believe that anything like that, any charge that might be made like that – and Balochistan, as you know, is very – is a very volatile region. Look what happened with Iran just the other day. So who knows what’s happening in Balochistan. It is something that is very complex. There seem to be many players. I don’t know who they are, but we are not and we don’t know who is. I mean, we were blamed for the attack on Iran. We have nothing to do with that group in Balochistan.
So look, I think that the point that you were making is the right point. If this is not addressed by the two countries, then anything any of us say on the outside is not going to make a difference. The two countries have got to get back to working together; otherwise, this could spin out of control again, which is Najam’s point. And the terrorists know that. Why do you think they attacked Mumbai? They attacked Mumbai because there was too much progress going on between India and Pakistan. They don’t want India and Pakistan to come to any kind of accommodation.
So we are dealing with a very sophisticated enemy, and I think we have to get to the facts, whatever they might be, between the two countries. And I know that when Prime Minister Singh met with – I can’t remember whether it was your president or your prime minister – and he specifically addressed that charge. And I think that that needs to – there needs to be exchanges of information, but it only can happen in some kind of confidence-building dialogue process. I don’t think it can happen on a one-off, call me up and tell me what you know here, call me up and tell me what you know there.
Now, India has had its embassy bombed twice in Kabul, and they believe that Pakistani elements were involved in bombing their embassies. I don’t know if that’s true, but certainly the Pakistani Government should say, look, no, that’s not true, we had nothing to do with that. All of these issues have such potential for derailing everything, and that’s I guess, Najam’s point is we know that there are forces in both countries who benefit from this state of hostility and tension. The countries don’t benefit. The people don’t benefit. So how do you get – how do you marginalize and isolate those elements in both countries? And that can only come from leadership.
QUESTION: But the Government of Pakistan has not provided you any information or any evidence about the years of activity in Afghanistan or Balochistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Not that I’ve seen. Others in my government may have. I have not seen it. I have not seen anything like that. So I can’t agree with you because I personally don’t have any information. And I know what Prime Minister Singh said and I know what he said when he met with your leadership.
But let’s, for the sake of argument, let’s assume it’s true. Well, where does that lead you? The Indians think that your government was involved in the Mumbai attacks. Where does that lead us? I mean, at some point, we’ve got to get out of this zero-sum analysis. So even if you were to think the worst about each other, that the order to attack Mumbai came from government officials and the order to do whatever they were doing somewhere else in Pakistan came from the other side, then isn’t that even a stronger argument to increase confidence-building measures and to try to prevent those elements in each of your countries who are determined to prevent any kind of agreement between India and Pakistan, whoever they might be?
QUESTION: No, I think the point we are making is that India should not put conditions on the resumptions of the dialogue. That’s the best way to thwart all this – start talking. And the Indian prime minister —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will certainly —
QUESTION: — wanted to move on this and I think the Indian media and others stopped him from doing so.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right, yes.
QUESTION: He’s just won a strong election. This was not even an issue in the election. This is the time for him to make this, and I think whatever the United States can do to get that resumption of that dialogue —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want to assure you we are doing everything we can. I want you to know that. This is something that is very important because of our relationships with both countries, and we think it would be in the interest of both countries for this to happen.
QUESTION: My question is more about perception than about all of these facts that you have discussed so far. I think many journalists here and in the U.S. have written about that, and that is the tone of the relationships between Pakistan and the United States of America. It has become very sort of overbearing for the people of Pakistan to keep listening from the U.S., do more, do more, and then many thing else, and then Kerry-Lugar bill comes in, and then it brings in a lot of conditionalities. I’m not going into in terms of the details of those conditionalities (inaudible). But I’m just concerned about the tone of this relationship. Can’t something be done to make a relationship which is…
QUESTION: More alatable to us here? (Laughter)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, why don’t you tell me what that would be, because as I have said for the last two days, we certainly saw the Kerry-Lugar bill as a visible commitment of our government to the partnership we want to build even more strongly between our countries. And so why don’t you tell me, like you were telling me very helpfully about what you would like to see happen with India? So what is it that we could do? Because I think the Kerry-Lugar bill is a perfect example. For the United States Congress to pass a bill unanimously saying that we want to give $7.5 billion to Pakistan in a time of global recession when we have a 10 percent unemployment rate, and then for Pakistani press and others to say we don’t want that, that’s insulting – I mean, it was shocking to us. So clearly, there is a failure to communicate effectively. So what could we do that would be more helpful or more useful?
QUESTION: I think in my personal opinion, there is a lot of cultural gap involved here. What you think is a help or assistance to Pakistan, when it is couched in certain words and phrases, it becomes an insult for the Pakistani media and the public opinion in general. So I think instead of creating a language or focusing on the language that is very prevalent in the United States for its very own cultural reasons, I think when you’re dealing with countries like Pakistan which are very sensitive about their own identity, which take a lot of pride in their so-called sovereignty, there needs to be some cultural sensitivity involved when you word your legislation, when you word your statements, when you word your interactions with our people, with our government like this. In my personal opinion.
QUESTION: My concern is about the – I think the (inaudible) as we were discussing earlier that the Pakistani Government (inaudible) Swat, and (inaudible) it was a very, very localized problem. And then (inaudible) India and other countries is that the impression one gets is that everybody wants just (inaudible) that there is (inaudible) Pakistan at the epicenter. But it is (inaudible) from Pakistan, it is very widely spread, and we think – the people of Pakistan think that it is being fought in our backyard while the rest of the people who could have played a part in it, in fighting it, are not participating (inaudible) there is too much U.S., there is too much Pakistan in it, and it leads to certain kind of reactions in Pakistan especially.
My point is – my question is why can’t we involve other countries? I mean, if you want to make it truly global war against terror. (inaudible) to just involve the rest of the world? And when – so that it becomes truly (inaudible) from the world. Right now, what we are doing is just – in my opinion, just – we are just fighting symptoms and we are not really closing those channels from where the money comes in, their cash flows and all these things. I mean, they are countries which are openly supporting these elements.
So what are we doing on the world stage globally just to show the Pakistanis that it is not only just a war of the U.S. that we are fighting, it’s a war of (inaudible)? And again, what are you doing just – what is the U.S. doing just (inaudible) close those channels? They’re just a (inaudible) between two resourceful enemies, it seems. I mean, we are just providing them with foot soldiers, but they have the money, they are fighting it out with the U.S., which is (inaudible) more resourceful. But they have the resources. What have you done to just snap those supply lines?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We’ve done a lot, and we have worked with the international community. We have, I think, a very vigorous effort to go after the funding that comes to the Taliban and al-Qaida. We’ve been partially successful, but not fully. We are trying to eliminate the funding that comes from the drug trade. We’ve adopted a more successful policy in going after the drug traffickers instead of going after the poor farmers who were growing the poppies. We have, I think, 42 nations with troops in Afghanistan, including Muslim nations like Turkey and the UAE and others.
So this is an international effort. Now, because of Pakistan’s sovereignty, you only have Pakistani military assets, except you have a lot of American equipment, you have equipment from other countries. I know that your military doesn’t just buy from us. It buys from China, it buys from Russia, it buys from a lot of places. So in that sense, your military is going out looking for the assets it needs to take these people out.
But let me ask you something. Al-Qaida has had safe haven in Pakistan since 2002. I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to. And maybe that’s the case. Maybe they’re not getable. I don’t know. But that’s something that in respect for your sovereignty, al-Qaida has run attacks against Indonesia, Spain, Great Britain, the United States, other countries, the Philippines, et cetera, through either direct or indirect approaches. So the world has an interest in seeing the capture and killing of the people who are the masterminds of this terrorist syndicate, but so far as we know, they’re in Pakistan.
So I think I am more than willing to hear every complaint about the United States. I am more than willing to do my best both to answer but also to change where we can so that we do have better communication and we have better understanding. But this is a two-way street. If we’re going to have a mature partnership where we work together on matters that really are in the best interest of both of our countries, then there are issues that not just the United States but others have with your government and your military security establishment.
So I think that that’s what I’m looking for. I don’t believe in dancing around difficult issues, because I don’t think that benefits anybody. And I think part of the problem that we’re facing in terms of the deficit of trust that has been talked about is that we haven’t taken seriously a lot of the concerns. I’m here to take them seriously. But I ask in the pursuit of mutual respect that you take seriously our concerns so that it’s not just a one-sided argument. And I believe that if we do that, we may still not agree or there may still be answers like, well, I don’t know what is happening in this province of your country or I don’t know what the reasons are that al-Qaida has a safe haven in your country, but let’s explore it and let’s try to be honest about it and figure out what we can do.
Because the enemy that we face – there’s no doubt that from what we believe, that many of the horrific attacks that took place in Lahore, the planning of the attacks on the military headquarters, the ISI, the university, et cetera, al-Qaida’s hand is in there. They train people. They fund people. And we’re doing our level best to break them up, to kill them, to capture them, to end their role in this terrorist network, which we think would be to Pakistan’s benefit. Because a lot of the people that you’re fighting now, they are influenced by, trained by, and fight alongside foreign fighters who were recruited and brought to Pakistan by the al-Qaida network. And I —
MODERATOR: Would you like to tell the Secretary about – you know, she asked – she said what do you think the United States should be doing in terms of the sensitivities that (inaudible) talking about.
QUESTION: I also want to make a point on that, yes.
QUESTION: Secretary, you – I know that there’s an argument against micromanagement and I know that there’s an argument against sort of excessive toing and froing, et cetera. But since we’re there already in many ways, including the Kerry-Lugar and other things, I know you’re aware of the potential for better understanding by managing the political leadership of the Punjab, particularly Mian Shahbaz Sharif, who has a lot of personal respect for you and for President Clinton. He is the leader of the Punjab, which is also the province from which the military is drawn, which is also the province which – parts of it – which have this – harbored this anti-India status quo pro military (inaudible) sort of mindset, if you like.
QUESTION: And now the terrorists.
QUESTION: And now the terrorists. The so-called Pakistai mindset, which, may I tell you, I come from a rural background 60 miles south of Lahore, and we don’t share that mindset, which is that, you know, we have to have enemies all around in order to sort of (inaudible) having these inside you. Are you seriously in touch with him and his party with regard to what a helpful role they can play in allaying these kind of misperceptions and fears that (inaudible) just mentioned, that (inaudible) spoke about? For instance, if Mian Shahbaz Sharif’s attitude towards the criticism of the bill had been more – less politically opportunist, let’s say, and more, let’s say, reasonable, rational, don’t you think it might have helped shape public opinion in Pakistan enormously and have also put naysayers in their place? And don’t you think that you need to talk to him more often – you personally, I think – and work with the political opposition, and also get them something from the government which they want in order to be able to work together in terms of the charter of democracy so that their fears about all-powerful presidencies, et cetera, can be allayed somewhat? A little bit of give and take so that the civilian process can move forward and not face the kind of challenges that can derail it?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think you make some excellent points, and I am going to see both Sharifs later today and we will have a broad-ranging discussion. But I think it is important to create an atmosphere in which the political parties, even if they’re in opposition, work together on some kind of common national agenda.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Because it is important to have a stability within democracy in Pakistan, because it is still evolving. You know what you went through and had lack of democracy. So I do think that the political parties and the personalities should look for ways to cooperate and work together.
We were disappointed by the criticism because some of the criticism was just totally unrelated to the facts. And we reached out. I know that our ambassador and Ambassador Holbrooke and others talked to many people, and Senator Kerry came. So we did try to explain what our legislative language is like, that what we were talking about was not in any way unique to the Pakistani legislation, that we have all kinds of accountability that we impose on ourselves when we give aid, especially this amount of aid, that we have to answer to the taxpayer and to the public. So there was a lot that kind of just was ordinary legislative language in that bill that should not have raised those concerns.
And remember, this was just what we call an authorizing bill. This bill just created the opportunity for us to go to the Congress to ask for the money. But you’ve got to understand, I mean, the Congress is sitting there saying, God, I have all these unemployed people in my district, we are in tough shape in America, and this Administration is asking us to put a $7.5 billion commitment on the table? Well, they say it’s important because they really want to bolster democracy in Pakistan and they really want to create a good partnership. Okay, I’ll do it. Then they pick up the papers and they read that the people in Pakistan don’t want it. So I had members of Congress calling me and saying, well, look, if they don’t want it, why give it to them. So as I said to the press roundtable yesterday, nobody is making Pakistan take any aid. That is up to you. That is your decision. We thought – we have worked with successive governments in Pakistan, but the discussion about this bill goes back a couple of years because it started as a Biden-Lugar bill when Joe was still in the Senate. So it’s been through a lot of hands in Pakistan. It’s been through a lot of review – different administrations going from Musharraf through Zardari. Lots of people have looked at it. So when the criticism became so vocal, a lot of members of Congress are scratching their heads. I mean, they don’t understand all this nuance. They think, well, we’re trying to help somebody, we like Pakistan, we think they’re a good partner, and they’re being very brave in this fight against terrorism and it’s got to be a big challenge for them to deal with, so let’s help them. And I mean, nobody is going to make you take the help. That’s your choice.
QUESTION: But we were happy to hear from your ambassador that this was a mistake. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: One clause.
STAFF: Madame Secretary, we’ve got a signal from Huma.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, okay.
QUESTION: You were talking of cultural (inaudible) aspect (inaudible) our own cultural values. Our (inaudible) says that (speaking in foreign language), I love you so much that I have complained against you at every moment. (Laughter.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Sounds like a marriage. (Laughter.) Well, we don’t want a divorce. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Did you understand the nuance?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: The criticism here?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: And where it’s coming from?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: How it’s motivated and why it’s motivated? The people of this country want the help, so you have to explain this to Congress. It’s not we the people rejecting it.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right, right.
QUESTION: Other people are rejecting it for their own reasons.
QUESTION: Just you last night in your interaction with the media person (inaudible) anchors.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Anchors.
QUESTION: You said that there are conditions (inaudible) when the aid is provided to them.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: And although it was not a good example, Colombia, but you did mention that. But what do you want to say?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, yeah, there are conditions. Absolutely. There are conditions on Israel, on Egypt, on —
SECRETARY CLINTON: What?
QUESTION: Why do you think you establishing (inaudible) these settlements and refusing to accept the UN resolutions, killing the Palestinians, and that aid is there? That aid flows there. (Inaudible.) We have people here in Pakistan —
SECRETARY CLINTON: But that proves my point. It is that we put conditions that we are subject to. The money goes, and then we decide whether we’re going to continue the money. But it’s up to the countries to determine how it’s going to be used within the categories of the aid. So it is true that we have conditions in a lot of our aid programs because we have to answer to our people. And – but that doesn’t micromanage the country that the aid is going to.
QUESTION: Because (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that, look, we all know that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is one that is a very serious and difficult problem that we are working hard also to try to resolve. We inherited a lot of problems. If you remember, when my husband left office, we were very close to an agreement because he worked on it all the time. The next administration did not make it a priority and did not really do much until toward the end. And unfortunately, we are trying to make up for some lost time, in my opinion.
So I can’t snap my fingers, just because we have a new administration with an inspirational young president, everybody’s going to do what we tell them to do, as evidenced by the reaction we got here. (Laughter.) So my view is we are doing the best we can, and we are trying to make a difference, and we are certainly listening and consulting and trying to be more sensitive so that people know what our intentions and our motivations are. Because we do want to see progress on all of these difficult issues – India, Pakistan, Israel, Palestinians. I mean, there are lots of very thorny problems that surely predate this Administration that are not going to be solved overnight. But I can guarantee you we’re going to work every day to try to help solve them, and that’s what we’re trying to do. And I’m —
QUESTION: You see the hundreds of Pakistanis have become the victim of this terrorist attacks. They are wounded. They are killed. They are handicapped. Well, will you please like to allocate some portion of your assistance for those people (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a good idea. Of course. And in fact, I announced yesterday we’re going to be providing more assistance, more humanitarian assistance.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) specifically for that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, again, this is up to your government. If your government asks —
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no. No, we are more than happy to do it. But the way this works is we are trying to respond to the needs and requests of the Pakistani Government. We’re not coming in to say here’s what you should do and here’s the money to do it. What this whole process has been about is what do you need and how can we help you meet your needs as you define them. If your government says this is a need, we will certainly work to fulfill it.
QUESTION: It’s good for people (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely.
QUESTION: I just want to leave you with one thought. After the Kerry-Lugar bill, the next big thing that’s going to come up is going to be the role of private security companies that assist your administration here and your personnel over here. There is a lot of misinformation going around, but there are also opportunities for exploitation of that. I would urge you to talk seriously with the Pakistan Government and with the Pakistani security establishment in order to minimize the blowback effect of anything – any unpleasant incident or anything like that. This is on the cards. Small things are going to be blown up. You are going to have a thing on your hands. It’s very important for you to be sensitized.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, certainly, we’ll do our very best to try to set the record straight and meet the legitimate concerns. Some things we’ll agree on and some things we will not, but I think that the larger hope is that we’re going to be able to work together and actually see progress between us.
QUESTION: Thank you so much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.
Secretary’s Remarks: Interview With Andrea Mitchell of NBC
Fri, 30 Oct 2009 13:04:01 -0500
Interview With Andrea Mitchell of NBC
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 30, 2009
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you very much for doing this interview. You arrived in Pakistan trying to turn the page, and the same day you arrived, the horrific bombing in Peshawar, the worst in two years, how does that make you feel about the possibility of changing the dialogue here from just security and terrorism?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, it was horrific, and it was such a tragic event, the loss of life, particularly targeting women and children. It was a women’s market that the terrorists decided to blow up. And on the one hand, it is a stark and terrible reminder of what the people of Pakistan are up against and the common enemy that we face. Yet I think it’s also a spur to greater cooperation and partnership, which is what I am seeking and offering.
So out of this tragedy, even though security and terrorism are obviously a high priority because of the reality of what the people of Pakistan face every day and what we are fighting against, we don’t want that to define our whole relationship, because we actually believe that there’s so much more we can do to really bolster the economy, to give hope to people, to support this democratic government. And so we don’t want to lose the full dialogue and the comprehensive agenda that goes along with the emphasis we place on terrorism.
QUESTION: But when you went and talked to the university students, you went and you came across a wall of resistance and suspicion, low-grade anger. They were not disrespectful, but they challenged you. They said, you know, “Why should we trust you? America has betrayed us in the past.” How do you deal with that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, actually, one of the reasons I’ve done this trip in the way that I have, so that I’m not just talking to government officials, but I’m out there in university settings and with other groups that we’ve seen over the last three days, is because we know that that is the feeling harbored by many people in Pakistan. But rather than just ignore it or paper over it, I invited that. I knew very well that these questions would be asked by the Pakistani press and the people that I am interacting with.
I wanted to get that out on the table because the Pakistanis have talked about a trust deficit, and it’s a two-way street. We have questions, they have questions, we need to be responding, and we need to be as open as possible. So I thought it was actually very healthy that there was no false politeness, that there wasn’t any holding back. I mean, as you say, everybody was very respectful and personally very supportive, but they had questions about our government’s policy. And I feel like I have a responsibility to try to answer them.
QUESTION: But everywhere else you’ve traveled in the world, you’ve come across skepticism and some tough questions. But your star power, your personality, your passion, your commitment, all of that has won people over. That audience was silent. There was no applause.
SECRETARY CLINTON: But think about it, Andrea. Think about what they have experienced about their perception and about the fear that they’re now living with. I have many people who I’ve seen on this trip that I’ve seen on my prior four trips. And they’ve all said to me, “You can’t imagine what it’s like now. It’s so different. And we’re scared. We’re scared to go places. We’re scared to go to some of the most beautiful parts of our country any longer.”
So when you’re living with that level of anxiety and insecurity – and there is, to be fair, a history of us coming in and going out, even though we’ve been a partner and an ally ever since Pakistan’s inception, we haven’t always had a consistent relationship. And I think if I were sitting where those young students are – and remember, young students are more likely to say the things that other people are thinking – I would have had some of the same tough questions. In fact, I was thinking back, there was one young woman who was standing up and she was very, very kind about me personally and all the kinds of things that people say.
QUESTION: Yeah. And then she lets you have it.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And then she came with a zinger and I thought, oh my gosh, “There but for accident of birth go I 40 years ago,” because it is to the young people that we’re trying to reach out – I announced, as you know, yesterday, a new service that we are partnering with Pakistani telecom companies so that we get young people cooperating and talking about what’s on their minds. We try to increase civil society.
Because it’s not only the fear that is now unfortunately part of their daily lives, because of the attacks that they are suffering, but for eight years, they feel as though they lost their democracy. So there’s all this pent-up desire to be out there talking, and I think it’s a healthy sign. So for me, it was exactly what I expected.
QUESTION: Well, you said, “I’m not going to dance around the issues.”
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: And you were blunt. And then you basically laid out the suspicions that Americans and the American Government have long had that the Pakistani Government missed opportunities, did not go after al-Qaida aggressively enough, provided, as you describe, a safe haven for al-Qaida since 2002. People are really angry about that in the government and outside of the government. Were you too blunt?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I don’t think so, because I believe that the responses that I’ve gotten and from reading the Pakistani press coverage, they understand that if we’re talking about the kind of partnership that I believe we should be, that it is not just a one-way street. I am more than happy to both take responsibility for some of the past problems that have existed, offer a new way forward, but I think it’s important if this is going to be the open and cooperative relationship that I believe is in both of our interests, that we express some of our concerns as well. I would not be representing my country if I were not to be as forthcoming with them as they have been with me.
QUESTION: What if your visit makes things worse, increases the —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I don’t think so.
QUESTION: — distrust, suspicion?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think so. That is not at all my impression or what we’re finding as we look at all the reaction across the country. Now, is it uncomfortable to hear what I’m hearing from them and maybe what they’re hearing from me? Well, it may be, but I think that’s part of us beginning to sort out these differences. It’s a fact that even after President Obama’s election and his personal popularity around the world, the attitude in Pakistan toward the United States has been very negative.
So what we are seeing with the democratically elected government, with the courage of the Pakistani military going after the Taliban in Waziristan after their successful campaign in Swat, shows a resolve to dealing with the threats that they face internally that we welcome. But it’s not just that we want to see them go after those who are directly attacking them. What we’re explaining is that we see a syndicate of terror. Al-Qaida is clearly directing and training and funding many of the very same people who are attacking targets here in Pakistan.
QUESTION: And you suggested that people in the government could get these al-Qaida figures if they wanted to.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I said I didn’t know, but I think it’s a fair question to raise because clearly, we want to get as much cooperation as possible. The Pakistanis, the people, and the government certainly want to cooperate with us on economic development, on security assistance, and we are more than happy to come forward because we think it’s in our interest as well as in the interest of Pakistan.
But we do have a continuing commitment to get the people who attacked us, and you know I feel very strongly about this, because I was a senator from New York on 9/11. I lived with the consequences of that horrific attack on my country. And I want the people of Pakistan to know how strongly we feel about making sure we get a chance to see the capture or the killing of the masterminds of that 9/11 attack. And it is also in Pakistan’s interests, so that is the case I’m making.
QUESTION: This has been the worst, the deadliest month in Afghanistan now.
SECRETARY CLINTON: It has been.
QUESTION: A terrible toll. The President took the unusual step of going in the middle of the night to Dover for that very solemn ceremony. What would – what do you think that signifies, and what would you say if you had the opportunity, as you have in the past, to the families of those 18 soldiers who made this ultimate sacrifice?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I really am grateful that the President went, because he did it not only in his – out of his personal concern, but because he does represent our country and the people of our country who are deeply saddened by the loss of the lives of our young men and women who are serving in Afghanistan.
I would say, as I have said on many occasions, both privately and publicly, that their sacrifice is in the great and honorable tradition of those who have gone before them, because they truly are the very best we have in our country. And they are committed to serving our nation in the most dangerous and difficult mission that we are now pursuing. But that their sacrifice is part of what we are trying to achieve. And so it is something that should be honored. It is something that every American should be grateful for.
That doesn’t in any way answer the loss and the pain and the grief that their loved ones and the rest of us feel about these losses. But I have no doubt in my mind that they are fighting for their country in a faraway place for very big stakes.
QUESTION: And are you persuaded, absolutely convinced that the mission is achievable, the mission that you and the President and the rest of your advisors and military experts – that you can come up with a solution out of these deliberations on Afghanistan that will have a definable, achievable mission of – no matter how many troops we send in?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, I absolutely believe that, and after sitting through many hours of intense meetings in the Situation Room in the White House, I know that the President is resolved and committed. The strategy hasn’t changed. We know we have to defeat al-Qaida and their extremist allies. How we go about that, how we operationalize it, how we try to make up for, frankly, lost time over the last eight years in working with the Afghans themselves and trying to help train and deploy their own security forces so that they will be able to protect their own country, is what we are trying to determine the best way forward on. But I am absolutely convinced of their resolve.
QUESTION: And do you think that there is an end that – depending on the kinds of forces, the way they are put in and the mission that’s defined, is there a way out of Afghanistan for the American people?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely. I mean, this is not an open-ended, never-ending commitment. But it is one that we have to see through and do our very best to create the conditions inside Afghanistan. I’m not talking about nation-building. That is not at all what we are focused on, but to create a level of stability and security. We have our very best military minds who are looking at that. We have our very best civilian diplomats like Ambassador Holbrooke and others who are very experienced in this.
And I believe that we’re going to come up with an approach that will enable the people of Afghanistan who do not want the Taliban back. They totally reject the Taliban. There is a misconception, I think, in some quarters that somehow the momentum or the advances that the Taliban is making are because the people of Afghanistan reject the alternative. That is just not true. But the people deserve to have a government that can deliver services for them at the local level, a government at the national level that can help to create a security force that can be appropriately deployed to protect them. Those are very basic needs, but the people do not want the Taliban back.
QUESTION: And to those who say that Pakistan with nuclear weapons is a more urgent priority, should be, than Afghanistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Pakistan has a very professional military. They are very committed to this fight. They’re taking it to their enemies who also happen to be our enemies. I have confidence in their ability to secure their nuclear arsenal. So it’s a very different situation on both sides of the border. We have encouraged the Pakistani Government and people to take seriously this threat, which they are doing. We think that they have a struggle ahead of them, because unfortunately, it doesn’t take very many suicide bombers to cause havoc and destruction like we saw in Peshawar.
But they are in the fight and they know what is at stake. The president lost his wife to these terrorist assassins. So I have no doubt about the resolve and the commitment. There’s a way to go to make sure that in Afghanistan, they have the same capacity and the same resolve to do that.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, and I don’t know how you timed this trip to miss the World Series with the Yankees playing.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ve been getting updates, and just before I came in, it’s 1-1. The Yankees won, so I was breathing a little easier.
QUESTION: All right. Well, get us on home in time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) I will try.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
Interview With Jill Dougherty of CNN
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 30, 2009
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you for talking with us. I know it’s a busy trip, and thanks.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Jill.
QUESTION: I want to start with Iran. We’re at a very important moment, because they are reneging on that draft agreement about shipping out most of their low-enriched uranium. Is it time to stop talking and to go to sanctions?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, we are working with the IAEA, with France, Russia, the other members of the P-5+1 who are all united and showing resolve in responding to the Iranian response, and seeking clarification, so I am going to let this process play out. But clearly, we are working to determine what exactly they are willing to do, whether this was an initial response that is an end response, or whether it’s the beginning of getting to where we expect them to end up.
QUESTION: But you have always personally been very skeptical about the fact that they might do what the international community wants them to do. I mean, are you being vindicated in that? Are you right?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are going the extra mile, as we said we would, as the President made clear in his inauguration speech we would. And I think it’s very significant that Russia and France and the UK, Germany, China, are all united about this. I mean, this is not the United States saying, “We have an idea we want you to follow through on.” This is all of us saying, “We came to this idea. You agreed in principle. And we expect to have you follow through.”
So, I think we will take it day by day, see what the final outcome is.
QUESTION: Just one more on that. Do you have a commitment from Russia and China that if the Iranians don’t follow through on this particular low-enriched uranium part of their agreement that it is time to move to sanctions?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t want to speculate or answer a hypothetical. I want this process to play out. This was an agreed-upon approach. I signed an agreement back in New York during the United Nations General Assembly, along with the foreign ministers of every other country that is part of the P-5+1 plus the EU. So let’s see where this leads.
QUESTION: Okay. You are off to the Mideast.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: Big job. You just reported to the President that things are not looking good, that there are major challenges, to put it diplomatically. What can you possibly do to pull this back on track?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am in the region. And I am going to be meeting Senator Mitchell to visit with the leaders of both the Palestinian Authority and, of course, Israel.
I have a different take on this. I know that what we are asking after eight years of very little being asked of the parties is difficult. I understand that. And I also know that patience is called for, because a two-state solution is challenging for both Israel and the Palestinians because of the positions that they historically have taken. But I am a strong believer in persevering, and so is Senator Mitchell. And we are going to continue down this road. We are going to do everything we can to try to clear away whatever concerns that the parties have to actually get them into negotiations where they then can hash out all of these difficult issues.
I mean, President Obama laid out the menu of difficult issues in his speech at the United Nations. But we have to start. And I watched in the 1990s, as my husband just kept pushing and pushing and pushing, and good things happened. There wasn’t a final agreement, but fewer people died. There were more opportunities for economic development, for trade, for exchanges. It had positive effects, even though it didn’t cross the finish line.
So I think that being involved and at the highest levels sends a message of our seriousness of purpose.
QUESTION: But the strategy that this Administration has been following – settlements, number one; working with the Arab nations, confidence-building, et cetera – that strategy doesn’t seem to be working. I mean, are you reevaluating that approach, especially on the settlements?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we believe that all of the elements that have to be addressed for any kind of final resolution are important. Again, the President mentioned every one of them, settlements included. And there are many ways of getting to these negotiations.
So, I don’t want to prejudge, and I don’t want to be unduly pessimistic. And I am certainly not unduly optimistic. I think I am pretty realistic about what has to be overcome for there to be the level of acceptance that is required to get into these negotiations.
But remember, prior to negotiations, people stake out all kinds of positions. And then in the cauldron of actually getting down to specifics, that all begins to be worked out.
QUESTION: Let’s talk about Pakistan, where we are right now. You were talking to some Pakistani journalists, and you made pretty strong comments about al-Qaida: “It is hard to believe that your government,” the Pakistani Government, “that nobody in that government knows where al-Qaida is. They could get them if they wanted.”
Are you actually saying that the government or someone in the government is complicit, or not, you know, following through on getting al-Qaida?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no. What I was responding to is what I have been really doing on this trip, which is that there exists a trust deficit, certainly on the part of the Pakistanis, toward the United States, toward our intentions and our actions. And yet we have so much in common. We face a common threat. We certainly have a common enemy in extremism and terrorism. And so part of what I have been doing is answering every single charge, every question. I am going to continue today to put myself in as many different settings as possible, because it’s not adequate just to meet with government officials.
But trust is a two-way street. And I think it’s important, if we’re going to have the kind of cooperative partnership that I think is in the best interests of both of our countries, for me to express some of the questions that are on the minds of the American people. And I am not prejudging the answer, but I am asking the question.
QUESTION: But isn’t that your – is it your question, your own personal question?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am an American, and I think we have every reason to say, “Look, we are applauding the resolve you’re showing in going after the Taliban extremists who threaten you.” But let’s not forget they are now part of a terrorist syndicate that, in sort of classic syndicate terms, would be headed by al-Qaida. Al-Qaida provides direction and training and funding. And there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that they are certainly encouraging these attacks on the Pakistani Government, which are so tragic, and which the Pakistani people are determined to beat back.
So even given the success of the Pakistani military’s operation, which has been extremely courageous in both Swat and now in South Waziristan, success there is not sufficient. It is necessary, because you have to take on these threats wherever they occur. But it’s not sufficient to eliminate the threat that Pakistan faces. As long as al-Qaida can recruit and send forth suicide bombers – as we’ve seen in our own country, with the arrest of Zazi, who is clearly connected to al-Qaida, trained in an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan – I just want to keep putting on the table that we have some concerns as well. And I think that is the kind of relationship I am looking to build here.
QUESTION: Did you under-estimate the level of anti-Americanism here in Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, because I have been following the research and the polling that has gone on for a couple of years. I knew that we were inheriting a pretty negative situation that we were going to have to address. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to have a long enough period of time. Three days is obviously a long trip for a Secretary of State.
But I was committed to doing it, and finding the time in my schedule, because I wanted to have these interactions. I don’t think it is – I don’t think the way you deal with negative feelings is to pretend they’re not there, or to gloss over them, or just come with happy talk.
That’s why I wanted to elicit all of these questions from the Pakistani press and the people that I have met with, because I wanted to demonstrate that, look, we are not coming here claiming that everything we have done is perfect. And I have admitted to mistakes of our country, going back in time. But I have also reminded people that we have been partners and allies from the beginning of Pakistan’s inception as a country. Pakistan has helped us on several important occasions, and we are very grateful for that. So let’s begin to clear the air here.
Now, we are not always going to agree. That never happens in any relationship that I am aware of, but – we are going to honestly set forth our areas of disagreement, but then we are also going to work on all that we agree on, and we are going to try to demonstrate results from our partnership that the people of Pakistan and the people of our country can see.
QUESTION: Okay. Let’s talk Afghanistan. The policy, or the approach, I should say, at this point seems to be looking at those regional provincial leaders, assessing how well they work, what’s the situation on the ground, working with them.
Now, does that mean that the Obama Administration has a lack of faith, to put it mildly, in what kind of a government Mr. Karzai will create, if he should win, and you seem to be indicating that he will?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jill, I don’t think it’s either/or. It’s got to be both/and. The very nature of Afghanistan as a country is that it’s never had a strong central government. It’s always had local control of one kind or another. So, of course, we are going to work with governors and district leaders and village elders and the like.
But there are certain functions that only a central government in Kabul can perform. One of our goals is to help stand up an effective Afghan national security force. Well, that has to come from Kabul. That has to come from the president, the minister of defense, and others, to create more of a police force to deal with day-to-day crime and some of the challenges that people report to us about. Well, that requires the minister of interior and others to work.
So, we are not – I think in the past, and it’s difficult to go back – but I think there might have been too much emphasis on the central government, and this idea that there could be some kind of nation-building that would transform Afghanistan overnight. But we don’t accept that. We don’t think that’s going to happen. But what we do believe is that we have to work with the president and the cabinet, the officials in Kabul, and the officials at the local level. And that’s going to be our approach.
QUESTION: Just one quick domestic question. David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, is writing a book coming out. He says that you were seriously considered by the President for the vice presidential role. However, your husband Bill Clinton’s role seemed to hinder your chances.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am very happy with the position that I have. And I think Joe Biden is doing a great job as Vice President. So I think we should move on from the campaign of 2008.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary, for giving us that time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Jill.
Interview With Wyatt Andrews of CBS
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 30, 2009
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you for the time this morning.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Wyatt.
QUESTION: I want to go back to your discussions with Pakistani journalists yesterday. You were referring to the Pakistani Government and the al-Qaida leadership. And you said, “I find it hard to believe nobody in your government knows where they are,” meaning the al-Qaida leadership, “and could get them if they really wanted to.”
Are you saying you think the Pakistani Government is harboring al-Qaida?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No. But what I was conveying is really part of the message of my trip. I knew when I was coming here that there was a trust deficit, that the people of Pakistan had a lot of questions for us. And some of its based on past history, which I understand; some of its based on nothing but misperception and misinformation. So, as you know, for two days – and then I will do it again today – I have been fielding questions on anything that was on people’s minds, from the press or from the public.
But I think it’s also important that if we’re going to create the kind of cooperative relationship that is in our best interest – we have a common enemy and a common threat, we want to see Pakistan succeed – that it be a two-way street. Trust has to go both ways. So I’m not drawing any conclusions, but I am asking the questions that are on Americans’ minds as well.
QUESTION: But to be fair to this quote, it does sound like you’re saying it has to be that somebody knows something some —
SECRETARY CLINTON: No – well, there was some more that I said – I don’t know, I don’t know. Maybe they’re not getable, and —
QUESTION: Maybe they’re not —
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t know. I don’t – I am not in any way imputing any knowledge or motive. But I do think it’s important for the people of Pakistan and for the government, as they express their mistrust of us, our motives and intentions and actions, to realize that when we arrest somebody like Zazi a few months ago, who was trained in an al-Qaida training pack in Pakistan, we have questions.
Now, I am very impressed by the resolve being shown by the Pakistani Government, the people, and the military in particular, to go after the Pakistan Taliban, first in Swat now in South Waziristan. But I don’t believe, no matter how successful these campaigns are – and they are successful – that will be enough, because the Pakistan Taliban, like the Afghan Taliban, are now part of a terrorist syndicate that is headed, or at least directed and inspired, to some extent, by al-Qaida.
We know al-Qaida runs training camps. We know al-Qaida recruits. We know al-Qaida provides funding. We know that they encourage the attacks on Pakistan, the attacks within Afghanistan, and attacks elsewhere in the world. So my message is we really applaud what you are doing to go after your enemy, but that’s not your only enemy, because your enemy is also our enemy.
QUESTION: Let’s talk about that offensive that you just raised. I know you got a briefing from the military and security —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: — the top leadership last night. But you have also said in the past there has been a suggestion in previous Pakistani assaults on the Taliban in their own country that it wasn’t serious, that the job wasn’t done.
The tone seems to have changed now. Is this a serious invasion?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that in the past, and prior to our Administration, there were many approaches tried by the Pakistanis. As you recall, they struck an agreement in Swat with the Taliban. And the theory behind that was, look, this is a sparsely populated area, it’s a long way away from our population centers. If they want to have some autonomy, we’re willing to give it to them. But of course, they quickly found out that that wasn’t the only objective of the Pakistani Taliban. They continued their offensive.
SECRETARY CLINTON: They moved into Benir, they moved closer and closer to Islamabad, where we are today.
QUESTION: And so no losses really suffered.
SECRETARY CLINTON: But I think that what happened is that the Pakistanis themselves concluded that this was a direct threat. I think it’s important for us to recall that this border area in Pakistan has never been “governed.”
SECRETARY CLINTON: It wasn’t governed by the British, it wasn’t governed by the Government of Pakistan. It was kind of viewed as a part of the country, of course, but one that was remote, that didn’t really have the direct connection to Lahore or Karachi or the rest of the country.
But in the 21st century, given mobility, given communication, and given this virulent ideology that al-Qaida has promoted and represented, there is no such thing as remote places. People are able to move, they are able to wreak havoc. This horrible attack in Peshawar the other day is evidence of that.
So I think the Pakistanis themselves have really come to the conclusion that they have no choice, and they are pursuing a very vigorous, aggressive campaign against the Taliban.
QUESTION: But you suggested this week that this time, militarily, it’s different. They’re going after them this time, you said at one point. What do you mean by that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, in previous years, going back in the 2007, 2006, 2005 period, I think the Pakistani military thought that if they just went into a place, then taught them a lesson, then they could pull out. And what they have learned is you’ve got to defeat them, you have to capture and kill them. You have to then come in quickly with the writ of government and with services for people.
In large measure, there has been a recognition that the Taliban found fertile ground in some of these remote provinces —
SECRETARY CLINTON: — because there was no judiciary system to resolve people’s disputes. There were not adequate schools, so families turned to the madrassa system for their sons. There wasn’t healthcare. I mean, there were no economic opportunities.
And part of what we have tried to do in our approach – and it came out of our March review and the creation of our Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Holbrooke – is to say, “Look, you have to have a political, economic strategy that goes along with the security strategy.” And we are working with the Pakistanis on just that approach.
QUESTION: Not to belabor this, but I am hearing that you feel a bit more convinced this time that the goal is military defeat.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. Now, given the terrain that the military is operating in, I mean, a low –
SECRETARY CLINTON: — battle takes place at 7,000 or 8,000 feet. It’s kind of hard to imagine. There is going to be leakage. You are going to have —
SECRETARY CLINTON: — people who know these mountains as well as the back of their hand escaping to live to fight another day and launch another suicide attack against Pakistan.
But going into South Waziristan, which has been the headquarters – and where Baitullah Mehsud, who was a sworn enemy of Pakistan until he was killed, was located, sends a message of the resolve and the determination of the Pakistani people as exemplified by the military’s campaign. And remember, President Zardari lost his wife to the terrorist assassins. I sense a great resolve on the part of both the democratically elected government as well as the military.
QUESTION: Let’s talk about your week here. You worked very hard this week on America’s image here.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, yes.
QUESTION: It seems like you singlehandedly took on the Pakistani media. But I was thinking, you know, it is not automatic that, diplomatically, you’re going to care about public opinion. But you are worried about it here. Why is that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, actually, Wyatt, I am concerned about it everywhere. I mean, you have traveled with me before. And everywhere I have gone, I have tried to expand my contact beyond just the official government-to-government meetings, which are part of my job, and which are very important.
So I have done town halls, and I have visited projects that the United States Government is funding to see their effects, and I have done cultural events. I really believe that in today’s world, where information is pervasive, universal, even in countries where the governments may not be as responsive to their people as we would want, public opinion matters. People need to be connected to what their people are thinking. And because the United States has such a global interest, then public opinion in these countries matters to us, too.
So I have been willing to put myself out there to take questions, but not just to receive incoming fire from the press around the world —
SECRETARY CLINTON: — or the publics that have problems with our country or historical grievances, but to try to reset these relationships, and to turn the page, so to speak.
QUESTION: But I have had the sense that the stakes are higher here. This is now a for-real democracy, just having held a legitimate election. Public opinion is up for grabs. It’s not going well for the United States. And we are at war.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s a good summary.
QUESTION: Fair to say that the public opinion fight here is high stakes?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It is high stakes. And when we came into office, the attitude toward our country was very negative. And President Obama, who is so popular worldwide and viewed with such great acclaim by people, including here in Pakistan, has high personal favorabilities. But the problem is translating that into an understanding and an approval of what the United States does.
So, I very consciously wanted to come when I had a schedule that would permit me to spend a lot of time – as you know, this is a long trip for a Secretary of State – and to engage in the kind of discussions and settings that I have been participating.
Now, this is not going to change overnight. But I think from what I have seen in the Pakistani press, what has been reported to me, we’re breaking down some of the barriers. People are beginning to say, “Okay, this has to be a two-way street, and at least the United States is coming forth and listening to us and answering us.” We may not always agree, but let’s try to broaden the basis of agreement and cooperation, and where we disagree, let’s have an honest discussion about that.
QUESTION: But is it fair to watch you this week doing all these public outreach events and see that, wait a minute, we can’t lose – we, the United States, can’t lose much in the way of public opinion here, because that would undermine support for the war?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s deeper than that. I mean, certainly our security interests and our concerns about the threats we face are at the top of the priority for me, or for any member of the President’s national security cabinet. Obviously, we think about it all the time. And as someone who represented New York during 9/11, it is never far from my mind.
But I think it’s important to broaden our relationship. Because one thing we know is that if all you talk about with a country is security and terrorism, you lose a lot of the people who are saying, “Wait a minute. Yeah, that’s a problem, but it’s up there somewhere. My problem is I can’t get the electricity to turn on in my country. What’s the United States doing about that?” Or, “I have no school to send my daughter when she graduates from primary school,” or, “Where do I go to get healthcare?”
And the United States has always been a beacon of hope and opportunity to people, historically. And I think we still are. But I think we have to be more aware in this information world that we live in that everything we do is now not just communicated to governments, it’s communicated with the flick of a mouse. I mean, everybody knows. And we have to be much more committed to public diplomacy.
It is not “You are with us or you are against us,” or, “Take it or leave it.” It is, “Let’s talk about this.”
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, the – I’m down to the last couple of questions here. You are going to the Middle East for two days. Context here is that there are reports of very little progress going on on the ground. What good is a two-day visit?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am going to meet with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority and, of course, of Israel, because I believe that this is an important effort by the United States. I am not expecting any kind of big breakthroughs. That’s not the purpose of it.
But Senator Mitchell is there. I want to go meet him, consult with him, consult with the leadership because we are committed to this. This is something that the President started on the very first day, and we are going to see it through. It takes persistence. We know how difficult it is for both sides to enter into negotiations.
Frankly, I think we’re making up for eight years of lost time. That is my personal opinion, because I saw what can happen when the United States stays committed, even though you don’t get across the final finish line, but along the way you make real progress. Well, we are going to do that again. And we believe in the two-state solution. We believe that the Palestinians deserve their own state, and we believe that Israel deserves the security that they should have so that they can pursue their own lives.
That is what we are committed to, and I am not somebody who believes that it is ever going to be easy. But we are going to keep trying as hard as we can.
QUESTION: Has it dawned on you we’re almost one year since the election?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, that’s true. We nearly are, aren’t we?
QUESTION: What would you say is the number one area of the world, one year later, where you wish you had made more progress?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you see, I feel like we have made progress everywhere. And why do I say that? Because I think we had to undo a lot of the attitudes and concerns that people had about our country, about whether we were a true partner, whether we were willing to work with people, whether we had any interest in people, other than pursuing the war on terrorism, which alienates people, instead of brings them to the cause of this fight against terrorism —
QUESTION: Is there one area in particular where you’re saying, “I wish – we need to be doing a lot better right there?”
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I get up every day thinking we need to be doing a lot better. I mean, obviously, I am here in Pakistan because even with President Obama’s election, it didn’t change attitudes overnight. That is something you have to work on, be patient about. As you say, I am going to the Middle East because this is a very long history of problems that we are willing to tackle. We’re not walking away from it. We don’t expect immediate progress, but we’re not going to give up, and we are going to keep pushing.
I just think around the world what we have tried to do is to – in this first nine months – is to establish a platform that our goals, our values, our concerns can be viewed in a much more comprehensive way by the rest of the world. And in the middle of a global recession, and all the other transnational problems we face, from H1N1 to climate change, I think we have teed up a lot of very positive changes.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
Roundtable with Radio Journalists
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 29, 2009
STAFF: Madame Secretary, Mr. Solangi will be the moderator for this event.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. Great. Thank you. Oh, and we have someone on the phone.
MODERATOR: And we have one on the phone, Miss Neela Ilyas. She is affiliated with an FM station in Quetta, Pakistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay.
MODERATOR: And we will give her the chance to ask the first or second question. But let me introduce everybody. Hello and welcome.
QUESTION: Hello, and asalaam wailakum.
MODERATOR: Well, asalaam. And Neela, just hold on your thought for a minute. We will get back right to you just in a minute.
QUESTION: Okay, fine.
MODERATOR: Thank you.
QUESTION: Okay. Okay, fine. Okay.
QUESTION: Hello. My name is Murtaza Solangi. I’m a broadcast journalist and director general of Radio Pakistan. I am joined by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today. And I have a panel of eight radio gurus here who work in different capacities in the different radio outlets. This is a combination of a group of both private and public radio people.
First of all, we welcome you here. I will ask you the first question and then we will go to everybody. They will introduce themselves, who they are, and they will ask the question. And we’ll go in a circle until our time runs out.
Well, paradoxes abound. Your trip to Pakistan this time, which is your fifth trip, as you just said, and your first official trip, has been categorized as “charm offensive.” (Laughter.) And since you are almost at the end of your trip, so my question would be: What are the achievements of this trip both for United States of America and Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for the question, and thanks to each and every one of you for participating in this radio roundtable. I think it would be fair to say that my trip is part of our commitment to a long-term relationship with Pakistan. And as I have said in several different settings, we want to turn the page on what has been a strained and somewhat difficult period in our relationship.
Now that Pakistan has a newly elected democratic government, we want to fully partner with you on not just security, which has been the driving force of the relationship for the last several years, but on a broad and comprehensive agenda that includes everything from electricity to water, health to education, women’s rights and empowerment, to agriculture — just the entire range of concerns that have been expressed to us by the people and Government of Pakistan.
I came with a very specific desire to listen and to try to answer questions and confront some of the unfortunate feelings and attitudes that I know exist in Pakistan today toward the United States. I came with the announcement of several projects that we have been working on through the last nine months on everything from help, to your electricity system, to a new program for young people to use their cell phones to communicate and to build networks of citizen activists around the country.
I think we have a lot of work to do, but I’m encouraged by what I’ve heard. And I think my hope is for the kind of positive, comprehensive partnership where we can speak freely and openly, where we listen to one another, where we agree to try to work together, and where we have disagreements, to air them and try, if possible, to resolve them. And I think we’ve had a good start, but there’s a lot of work ahead.
MODERATOR: Thank you. You have been advocating human rights, and I remember your slogan: Women rights are human rights. And let me give the chance to one of our female broadcast journalists from Quetta. She’s on the phone with us.
Neela Ilyas, would you introduce yourself and ask the first question to Madame Secretary, please?
QUESTION: Okay. First of all, I would like to say asalaam wailakum to those who are listening to me. My name is Neela, and I’m broadcasting from FM 105 from Baluchistan. And my first question is also regarding with the health and humanity, as you were talking about. The belief of mine is that men should not – men should take your maximum opportunity (inaudible) education for all. Sound health, a vision of good life and considering woman is a total source of peace and prosperity as man is, and ensuring that a man – that a child of today is nation builder of tomorrow, regardless his or her caste, religion, color, and (inaudible). So my question is also related with the same child as we all are really much well aware about the child labor that is really much (inaudible) all over the (inaudible). We can talk about Pakistan and especially with Baluchistan, we are having this really great and burning issue of our current experience that the child laborer is increasing its – by, you know, the society is by the low categorized people (inaudible). Why is it so?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, Neela, for that question. I started off in public service working on behalf of children and children’s futures, so I am particularly sensitive to the problem that you just raised.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Child labor is a problem. It’s a problem not only in Pakistan, it’s a problem in many countries. And part of the reason for it is, number one, families need extra income, so children are sent out to work, and often at the expense of their education. There is also a problem that there aren’t enough schools for children to attend. And therefore, they are left to their own devices and so they take on jobs or they are put into almost forced labor situations.
And I think it’s important that we tackle the problem of child labor. It is not always the case that it is injurious to a child, but in many instances it is. The conditions under which children work, the exploitation of children, the fact that many children are not paid fairly for the work that they do. The situation in some places in the world, including here in Pakistan, of bonded labor or other forms of forced labor, means that governments need to stand up for children’s rights to be children, for children to get an education, for children to be cared for.
QUESTION: Sorry to cut you off, but I’d also like to bring some more issues, like we are having with child exploits of sexual, commercial exploitation, not even that so the child laborer, the trafficking, the smuggling. These all are the really, you know, important issues which we are neglecting day by day. What do you think? So does it sound good?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think you’re right. I think that the problem of human trafficking and trafficking children into abuse, often the sex trade, is unfortunately all too common. And I’ve worked on this issue for many years. I’m not satisfied that we’re doing enough yet. But we need –
SECRETARY CLINTON: We need strong laws in every country, we need to enforce those laws, and we need to make sure that children are rescued from being exploited in such cruel and inhumane ways.
MODERATOR: Neela, we’ll get back to you. Please stay on the line, because we have to have a round of questions.
QUESTION: Okay, fine.
MODERATOR: So you’ll get another chance. So stay with us. Let’s move clockwise and give the folks a chance.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary of State, I had the opportunity to cover tripartite dialogue between America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan this week. I also was there at the time of the briefing, that briefing by you and the presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan. And I am watching the those tripartite dialogue and (inaudible) are taking place to meet the common objectives to combat extremism, terrorism. But sometimes I wonder that, you see, despite all this intensive consultation and coordination between the (inaudible) countries and all of the regional powers since President Barack Obama took power, there are still sometimes, (inaudible) they become so clouded that whatever the progress has been made on certain issues or arguments which have been made, they somehow go in the background and (inaudible) and all that achievement (inaudible) also. So what is your (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for covering the tripartite dialogue, because we think it’s a very important opportunity for the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to work together to solve common problems and to try to create some very positive outcomes. And of course, it is true that sometimes disagreements get magnified. But I think that it is important to stay with the consultation and the negotiation. This is absolutely critical to any progress we might make.
One of the first things that Ambassador Holbrooke raised at the very first tripartite meeting was a trade transit agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pakistan has an enormous amount to gain by opening up more trade into Central Asia, which could be done by moving across the border more efficiently without obstacles. So that was started back at the meeting you attended. There have been several meetings between our governments. And we’re hopeful that such an agreement will be signed by the end of this year.
So positive change can come, not easily, because there often has to be a lot of careful consideration and analysis and we have to listen to each other, but it is far better than the alternative of either ignoring the legitimate interests and needs of the other county, or, as you say, having disagreements that get out of hand because there’s no forum or venue to try to rein that in. So I think it’s a very positive development.
MODERATOR: Now, we go to Najib Ahmed. Najib Ahmed represents an independent FM network, FM Power 99, as it’s called.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you, Madame Secretary. I am also the chairman of an
of (inaudible) that is known as Association of Independent Radio Broadcasters. I am the first channel which came after the (inaudible) to come on air, and we started broadcasting in 2002. And now, there are about more than 100 radio stations covering (inaudible) radio stations broadcasting in different parts of Pakistan. And right when the (inaudible) radio came on air, the value and importance of (inaudible) FM station became more important. It was very much (inaudible). And the U.S. side as well, there is (inaudible) importance to the (inaudible) radio station.
But unfortunately, the conditions here in Pakistan which I feel that our journalists here will be in a better position to tell, that we don’t have that much technical and professional facilities here, or trained or different kind of staffs here. There are – of course, there’s the USAID-funded organizations giving some support to some of the radio stations, but we do need an aggressive approach towards this because if these radio stations are vulnerable economically or technically, they may become victim – you see they may go in the hands of very dangerous people. And like we have seen in the more rural areas, most of the radio stations are doing unethical advertising. And for this, of course, there is some work that’s being done, but we want to know what support and what effort, other than retraining, U.S. Government is going to give to the Pakistans to improve the situation in the broadcasting (inaudible) the broadcast sector.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s interesting that you raise that, because one of the comments that was made to me in the last day is that we are losing the information war. We may be winning the military war in Pakistan, but a Pakistani said we’re losing the information war. And I think what he meant by that is that the extremists run their own FM radio stations, as you know. They are very small mostly, but there are many of them. There are many illegal, but they operate and they are used for propaganda purposes, to intimidate people. You know better than I all of the impact.
So I think we do need to look at the broadcast industry and figure out how there can be more support, and particularly in areas that don’t have a lot of coverage now. I would imagine that in some of the rest of the country, there’s a lack of different voices and information. But I know that Ambassador Holbrooke’s team is working on a whole communications strategy, so I would hope we could follow up and speak with you about that.
MODERATOR: We go to Colonel, Retired, Khalid Munir. He represents FM 88, Laki Marwat in the NWFP province. Please.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my FM is the only FM now which is being heard in South Waziristan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Really?
QUESTION: In the battlefield. What I would like to ask you is the operation is underway in South Waziristan. If it is successful when 5 percent of our military (inaudible) will be solved, but will the USA will be satisfied with South Waziristan operation only or you would like that everywhere with the networks out there they should be taken care of, apart from (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I think that the Pakistani army is doing an excellent job. I was briefed at length by both General Kiyani and General Pasha last night, and the operation in Swat and the operation insofar as it’s going in South Waziristan seem to be quite successful.
It is just my opinion, and I discussed this with the generals last evening, that there is this syndicate of terror now, and defeating it in one place doesn’t guarantee that you will have defeated it in every place. I think that going into South Waziristan sent a very good message, because that was a center of a lot of the terrorist operations and planning. But because I do think there’s a network, it is very likely that the remnants of this network – informed by, trained by, equipped by and funded by al-Qaida – will strike again at the Government of Pakistan, as it has been. I think that the attacks on the GHQ, the attacks on police stations, all of this is a direct assault on the writ of government and the sovereignty of Pakistan.
And so it will be important to watch that and to evaluate if there needs to be additional actions. That, of course, is up to the Pakistani Government and military. But it is important in this kind of war, which is an asymmetrical war – it’s an insurgency, it’s a guerilla operation, it has very few of the hallmarks of what you were trained to do when you were in the military – therefore, you have to be constantly adjusting your tactics in trying to deal with it. It’s something that we learned after a very painful set of lessons in Iraq. And as you know, General Petraeus, who was our commander in Iraq, is now commander of CENTCOM. General McChrystal, who was in charge of special operations in Iraq, is now our commander of the international forces in Afghanistan. And they have very close communication with your military leadership, because everybody is learning. I mean, this is a new challenge to deal with this threat. So I don’t know what the next chapter will be, but I’m very impressed at the chapter that is being written right now.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We go to Farishta Shaykani. She heads PACT Radio in Peshawar, NWFP province. Farishta.
QUESTION: Pleasure meeting you, Madame. I’m Farishta Shaykani from PACT Radio, Pak-Afghan cross-border transmission, training, and production (inaudible), working across the region. My question is about relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, because they are both very near, very neighbors, but the relationship is always on/off. Whenever a critical situation happens in Afghanistan, Pakistan is being blamed. Whenever something happens in Pakistan, Afghanistan is being blamed. What role can U.S. play regarding solving these kind of issues?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we hope to play a positive role in working with Pakistan to help stabilize Afghanistan. I think that there is no doubt that a stable and secure Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest, because you don’t want there to be across your border a safe haven for terrorists, you don’t want the people you are chasing out of South Waziristan to find a safe place over on the other side. So it’s very much in both the United States’s and Pakistan’s interests to try to create a stable situation in Afghanistan.
And I’m hoping that through efforts like the trilateral dialogue that Mr. Abbas was talking about, we will help create a better understanding and relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. I mean, it’s fine to be competitive with your neighbors over things like trade or football or whatever it might be, but I think that it’s in everyone’s interest to try to create a much more stable, peaceful, friendly relationship between the two countries.
MODERATOR: And now we go to Iram Abbasi. She represents an FM network called 106.2. They have stations across Pakistan. Yes, Iram.
QUESTION: Thank you. I’m actually Iram, working for 106.2 Hum FM station.. We’ve got Karachi, Lahore, (inaudible) Peshawar (inaudible) the network. And beside that, I’m also working for an organization (inaudible) which is aimed to develop the professional capacity of professional females working in (inaudible). This is (inaudible).
So, actually, I’ve got (inaudible) as well as (inaudible) especially the professional and within the industrial, I’d like to know how you guys are going to go and – you know, in the affected areas, how you going to uplift the female and their education and their (inaudible) as again, as you said earlier. But knowing the importance of radio, how do you intend to use radio for that particular reason, for that particular group, and specifically females or, you know, the professionals working in radio, how do you think you can utilize their abilities and their work towards that particular goal, you know, to achieve in those affected areas?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we will have to look to people like you who have the expertise and the experience to advise us about how best to use the electronic media. This has been an area of great concern to us because we know that the terrorist groups are getting quite sophisticated. They use the internet, they use radio, in particular, in getting their message out. And it’s very important for what happens to women in some of these areas where the extremists have tried to turn the clock back on women, and they have tried to use radio to send messages about what women should or shouldn’t do. I mean, they use the radio to say that women shouldn’t go to school, that women shouldn’t go out of their homes. And that’s very intimidating and very frightening.
And so there needs to be a program using the electronic media, and there is no form of the media that is more important in both of your countries, but particularly in Afghanistan, than radio. I’m a big radio fan. I listen to the radio all the time when I’m at home. I listen to what we call National Public Radio. But I know how important radio is to getting the right information to people. And it’s not only information about their security, but information about education, information about health. There’s a lot we could do. But we will have to look to you to give us advice about that.
MODERATOR: Thank you. We go to Alamagir Bhittani. He represents VOA Deewa Radio that focuses mainly on the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
QUESTION: Thank you, Solangi. I am Alamagir Bhittani. I am working with VOA Deewa Pashto (inaudible). We cover the southern district of North-West Frontier Provinces, including South Waziristan and North Waziristan.
Madame Secretary, my question: It has been observed that U.S. has halted the use of drone attack in Waziristan since Pakistan launched operation. What is the strategy? Will it continue, or it will remain suspended during military campaigns here?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am not able to comment on that, but I think it is very important to point out that there’s great interest on the part of our military and our government in the United States to assist the Pakistani Government and military. So we’re well aware that they are engaged in this very critical fight in South Waziristan, and they’ve asked for certain material, they’ve asked for certain equipment, they’ve asked for certain technology. We’re trying to get whatever they ask for to to them. Because I think that they’ve got to win. You’ve got to win. I don’t have any doubt about that.
And from my conversations last night, every possible effort is being deployed to win in South Waziristan, then to try to do reconstruction in both Swat and Malakand in South Waziristan, and we’re going to help on that, too.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Now we go to Nisar Khan. Nisar Khan is representing Radio (inaudible) Radio Peace in Mardan, again the province of North-West Frontier.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) I am Nisar. I am (inaudible) alum of Mennonite University of Virginia.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh.
QUESTION: Yes. I am – I was (inaudible) to Pakistan – was not now. Now I am looking after and consulting for this project – (inaudible) projects which has been (inaudible). And we are promoting FM radio (inaudible) some (inaudible) radio stations are to be restored in the Frontier Province, because I think – my question is coming just now – I think (inaudible) radio community (inaudible) it should be the proper radio to integrate with my common man. And for this purpose, we have announced some (inaudible) radio stations and we need (inaudible) FATA, and the American Government is helping us.
But I am of the view that the project is wearing down. They are going to stop it I fear. And it should not stop because each inch of our province should be interconnected by peace promotion.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: Once I interviewed (inaudible). I asked him a question, I asked him a question where of how peace in Afghanistan would be possible. He said it is really simple: There should be community interaction on peace promotion. Anyhow, so the community (inaudible) it is very special. In our area, you are better known (inaudible). (Inaudible) this area is – there are some 3,000 (inaudible). But peace – real peace progress and now we have started the first FM radio of peace in Alexander the Great and (inaudible) for peace. They were peace stalwarts, just two or three, four, days before. And we get feedback, some 70, 75 telephone calls daily from (inaudible) and we have (inaudible). So I will request that it should be continued (inaudible) stations. It must (inaudible), because to win a war is very simple, but to maintain peace is very difficult.
SECRETARY CLINTON: It is.
QUESTION: So (inaudible) to our effort (inaudible) the request. And question also that it should be – FM radio should be promoted through Pakistan not only (inaudible) but in our tribal (inaudible) also because we have got only three station there and cyber net. So (inaudible) even discuss this problem, but anyhow, I will request on FM to be continued (inaudible) project (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will look into that. I’m not personally familiar with it. But I will certainly look into because, as I believe and as I’ve said, I think radio is a very important instrument in trying to create an atmosphere for peace, in trying to convince people to negotiate for peace, to live in peace. So I will look into that.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madame Secretary. At the end of this session, I’ll briefly tell you the radio environment in this country, both public and private, and what are the major challenges we all are facing.
Let me go straight to a question, since this is my turn to ask a question. There are certain figures floating around since you have come to Pakistan – 145 million and then 85 million and 45 million allocations. In today’s newspapers there was a question, even the press attaché of U.S. Embassy was asked, and he said he will check back and get back to people. Are these announcements of Kerry-Lugar law, or are they separate?
SECRETARY CLINTON: They’re separate. Yeah, Kerry-Lugar – the law has passed. But we have a two-step process in our system: You have to pass the law and then you have to appropriate the money. And so the law has passed, but we haven’t had the opportunity to appropriate the money yet. So this is an increase in assistance that we are taking out of our current budget to jumpstart our partnership.
MODERATOR: There’s news right there. We go to Fakhar Abbas. Fakhar.
QUESTION: Again, I will raise the question because the (inaudible) whether it is through media or whether it is through governments, other sensitive to (inaudible). That’s the way it is. You have been working for peace and anti-Vietnam war activism and after that, during President Clinton’s tenure you have been also part and parcel of (inaudible). And now you are also part of a very important initiative to bring peace in the region. But you see, still there are certain issues which sometimes are raised. For instance, through media we have come to know that you said that al-Qaida is (inaudible) Pakistan. And I’m surprised that the people of Pakistan or the Government of Pakistan don’t know that.
Since you had intense civil dialogue with the civil and military leadership of Pakistan, and obviously you must have raised this issue along with other issues, what was their response?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that we’ve had very good discussions, and we’ve covered a broad range of issues. It is our information that the leadership of al-Qaida is in Pakistan. We don’t know where, and we are very committed to pursuing them because of their attack on us, but I also believe that the Government of Pakistan is as well. It’s a question of priorities. They are going after their most direct enemy right now, the Pakistan Taliban and some of its elements.
But as I was saying to the colonel, I think it is absolutely clear, and I am convinced, that you will never rid Pakistan of the threat of terrorism unless you rid it of al-Qaida. And it’s very personal for me because of what happened on 9/11. I was a senator from New York and spent a lot of my time during my eight years in the Senate working both to help the people who were affected and to try and prevent another attack.
So when we have an arrest like we did some weeks ago of a man named Zazi and we find out that he was trained in an al-Qaida camp – not a Taliban camp, an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan – we feel like we have to go to the Government of Pakistan and say, “Somewhere these people have to be hidden out. We don’t know where.” And I have no information that they know where, but this is a big government. It’s got – a government on many levels, there are local governments and national governments just like there is in any country. Somebody, somewhere in Pakistan, must know where these people are. And we’d like to know because we view them as really at the core of the terrorist threat that threatens Pakistan, threatens Afghanistan, threatens us, threatens people all over the world.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible), it’s your turn.
QUESTION: I remember back in the ‘80s, there was one program teaching of English through the radio in the NWFP. It was very good through the Radio Pakistan, but then it was stopped later on. I believe in the geographical condition of Pakistan and looking into the troubled area and lack of (inaudible), the scarcity of the teachers, there has to be one interactive radio for instruction, so that gives (inaudible). I proposed this to (inaudible) before, but they did – they started this program, but not onto the radio. They provided the CD players to the schools. And then you see the management of the CD player because they couldn’t manage that.
What do you think, is there any possibility of supporting the education sector through the radio by – through interactive radio for instruction? Any plan for this?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s a very good idea and I will look into it, because I believe that it’s one of the best ways to get into more homes and have more listeners. And I agree with you that it’s more efficient than CD, it’s more pervasive than the internet, so I think we should look into it. I agree with that, and not just English but other things as well.
QUESTION: And then mathematics can be taught (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Or information about health or other things, right.
MODERATOR: Well, we go from one colonel to the other colonel, Colonel Khalid Munir, again, please.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you’re going to select a man and send him to Afghanistan as a commander. When he asks you for – he’s the best man – best judge (inaudible) as far as the (inaudible) are concerned. General McChrystal three months back have asked you for more troops. That was his assessment base. So far, he has not been provided them. And then pessimistic responses from General Mullen – Admiral Mullen coming that we will talk to Taliban, whereas we are fighting with the Talibans. And then a statement from U.S. State Department or from Admiral Mullen come that we will talk – we may talk with the Taliban. It demoralizes the people over here that we are fighting them, and America is going to get into negotiations with them. Is it (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No. But let me try to clarify it, because that’s a very important point. First, as to General McChrystal’s request, the President is taking all of that under consideration. And his timing was to do this after the Afghan election, which, as you know, is not yet over. Because as General McChrystal writes in his analysis, you cannot win just militarily, you also have to have a political component, and that is dependent upon who is in charge in Kabul and the work and the commitment that the government in Kabul will make. So it’s all part of a whole. So there’s not been any final decision made, and I – so I don’t think that anyone can draw any conclusions about what the President will or will not decide.
With respect to the Taliban, I want very – I want to be very clear about this. I think that both of our countries face the reality that the leadership, the instigators of the Taliban, have to be captured or killed. But there are many people who have joined the Taliban in Afghanistan who have joined not because they are committed to the Taliban, not because they have a burning desire to wage this war, but because they were forced to. They were, in effect, drafted to, or they are paid to. And we found in Iraq that there were hardcore al-Qaida and other terrorists who had to be defeated, but there were others who could be reintegrated into society. They were mostly the foot soldiers, to be honest. They weren’t the leadership. And so what we’re talking about and what Admiral Mullen is talking about are the kind of battlefield conversions that can happen when someone says, “Look, I was forced to do this. I’m not really committed to this.”
I don’t know how many people are in that category. We don’t know yet. But we think it is important to send that message because we want young men to know that they can return to a peaceful society if they renounce violence, if they are willing to get back to just living a normal life. And I think that’s the same approach your military has taken. I mean, you go after the bad guys, but you know that there are going to be those who escape out of wherever you’re waging your military operation. And you have two choices. You can just assume they’re going to go the right way, or you can try to persuade them to go the right way. And I think that’s what we’re talking about.
MODERATOR: Since – we are in the second round of questions, so if anyone offers – doesn’t feel like asking a question and let it pass, you are welcome to do that. Would you ask, please?
QUESTION: Yeah, sure.
MODERATOR: First thing.
QUESTION: Yes. Madame, I would like to ask again about the operation going – in both sides of the border, Afghanistan and Pakistan. On one hand, you are appreciating negotiations and you are talking about negotiation. And in other hand, the operations are being encouraged and appreciated. So don’t you think that somehow, these operations can make people go more against government and against U.S.?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it depends upon how it’s handled. I think if it’s handled in a very professional way where there’s an emphasis on the reconstruction, as I know you’re trying to do in Swat and which we are helping on, that there is an effort to try to make the people’s lives better, I think that that can be successful.
But first, you have to rid the areas of the active terrorists, and I just met with a group of people from the FATA and the Northwest Frontier Province who said, “We are not involved in this. We are being the victims of it. These people, they come to our communities, they intimidate our people, they do terrible bombings like they did in Peshawar the other day.” I mean, it’s horrible what they do.
So I think the people who live there, the vast majority of people, they want to be rid of this. But it’s dislocating. People leave their homes because they’re in the way of the battle. And so we just have to look at this not only from the military operation, but what comes after the military operation so that we can restore normal life and actually make it better for people. And I know that’s what your government is trying to do.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Iram Abbasi, you have —
QUESTION: Yeah. Actually, I’d like to talk here about youth, because, you know, we really have to see what they are going through, and I think I can see exactly how they’re feeling with the current situation – you know, the extremism and the terrorism – because they’re really actually scared to go to school. They’re, you know, demoralized. They don’t know what to do and where it is going. So, you know, I think we really need to cure this mental illness – what they’re going through, really to take them out of it.
And for that particular reason, we have to work on some ideas through which we can entail them and (inaudible), you know? We can work on education, we can work on healthcare, but we have to work for their – to take them out of this mentally illness through providing them a platform where they can have healthy entertainment or healthy activities, you know, to cheer them up.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, look, I think you’re right. And what is the purpose of terrorism? It is to terrify people.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I mean, the terrorists win when people stop living their lives, when they quit going to school, when they quit going to work, when they don’t go out of their home. The terrorists win. So I think you’re right that we have to send more messages of confidence building and solidarity so that people realize one of the best ways we can defeat the scourge of terrorism is by not being terrified, not being intimidated, standing against this, as hard as it might be.
Now, it’s easier if you’re in Karachi than it is if you’re in Peshawar. I mean, that’s just easier because you’re on the front lines. But everybody needs to be supporting each other in standing against the terrorisms and – the terrorists and to show resolve in trying to defeat this scourge, because it’s not right that young people would be deprived of going to school, that their university, as we saw here a week or so ago, it would be subjected to bombing.
I mean, what kind of a war is that? It’s so cowardly. It is so pathetic that these people go after women and children in a market or go after students or go after the police or go after the military. I mean, at some point, the people of Pakistan finally, I think, realized that you can’t accommodate these people, you cannot live with them because they’re trying to take over your government. They’re trying to take over your state. They’re trying to intimidate people. So I think that young people have to know that this fight is for their future, and anything you can do to communicate that.
MODERATOR: Alamagir, you have a chance for a quick question.
QUESTION: Yeah. The people of tribal area were accepting on the money now implored in Kerry-Lugar bill will be spent in (inaudible) just as to what effective area, but there is confusion now. The question is where the money will be spent, what effect will FATA and North-West Frontier region on war in Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that there’s going to be an emphasis on the tribal areas – on FATA, on the NWFP. But that won’t be the only place. But I think that there will be an emphasis placed on trying to help provide that better future for the people who have been suffering the most because of this.
MODERATOR: Thank you. Nisar?
QUESTION: I’m Nisar (inaudible) from FM Radio Peace. We broadcast from Peace Radio how terrorism, the people should be educated, people should be even entertained against this terrorism through music, through our cultural heritage, we can promote peace. So we are doing all these things. I received a telephone call from my realtor. He asked me that – look, you are doing everything for us, but you asked your government – my government are – money, he said that the (inaudible) system in NWFP – most of the press may not be aware of, that that there is (inaudible) system in effort to (inaudible). Some – a farmer is (inaudible) money – he receives money from his landlord, some 2,000, 3,000 (inaudible). But in (inaudible), it is common that he get money and (inaudible) money, he is (inaudible) generations. Yet some comes – that money does not come.
MODERATOR: I’m sorry, your question? Your question?
QUESTION: Question is this: Did – did —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Is this the bonded labor problem?
MODERATOR: He lost me. He lost me.
QUESTION: Did you spend money for everything? Why not fund for our slavery abolition from this area?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the United States is very concerned about the problem of bonded labor. And we are supporting efforts by people to end it. But this is really something that needs to be ended by your government. It is wrong that people in the year 2009 would be kept in bonded —
SECRETARY CLINTON: — labor, which is a kind of modern form of slavery. It is wrong. And I think that the government and the people of Pakistan should not tolerate this, and the individuals who exploit this labor should be punished. There should be laws against it. So – I mean, people who work should be paid a decent wage and should be treated with dignity. So I appreciate you raising that.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I have a question on Kerry-Lugar and – law and I have a question on Afghanistan. It’s your preference to take both or one?
SECRETARY CLINTON: How about one?
QUESTION: Okay. I’ll ask the question on Kerry-Lugar law. In some Pakistani media and folks who shape public opinion, today I was reading in a very important newspaper saying, okay, economic assistance, no conditionalities, no certification needed, let’s take that military assistance. Since there are a lot of conditionalities, let’s say no to that. Is it possible?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Pakistan doesn’t have to take any aid. Absolutely; you don’t have to take any aid. But we have certain rules for our military aid that apply to everybody. We do expect to have some accountability when we provide military aid because we don’t want to see the military aid used in a way that might be questionable.
But I think the military-to-military relationship in – between the United States and Pakistan is at a new level of trust and confidence. The relationship between Admiral Mullen and General Kiyani is a close, personal one, not just a professional one. And I think that the military knows that we support them in their struggle against terrorism. We have provided, by far, the most equipment and most support that they have received from anyone. But we do have a system of accountability that we expect when we give people military assistance, and I think your military understands that very well.
QUESTION: So you are saying it’s possible that part of assistance could be, you know, gained and the other could be declined?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, yes, of course. I mean, we are offering – we have historically offered a lot of aid to Pakistan, but in the last eight years, we’ve offered a lot of military aid. And what we were trying to do with the Kerry-Lugar bill was to make a long-term commitment to the economic development of Pakistan, to the human development of Pakistan. But no country has to take aid. I mean, that – it’s a free choice on the part of any country as to whether or not they want aid from the United States for anything.
MODERATOR: If you have —
QUESTION: I have one other —
QUESTION: You lost. I just got to congratulate you on your successful visit to Pakistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you.
QUESTION: Because I heard from all the people whom I know, and this is (inaudible) in Waziristan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: Can I get you —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Of course, of course.
“Townterview” with Prominent Women Journalists
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 30, 2009
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release October 30, 2009
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Participates in “Townterview” with Prominent Women Journalists
October 30, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, everyone. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, everyone.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
MODERATOR: I think you have a mike?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I have a mike on.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay, good.
MODERATOR: Thank you so much for being here.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I apologize for being late. This has been such a busy day, and I got very far behind. So please, accept my apology. I’m very sorry that you had to wait.
MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Are we ready?
Well, hello, and welcome to a very special program and slightly unusual to what we’re used to here on Pakistani television. I’m Saima Mohsin, your host and moderator for today. Of course, today is not quite a (inaudible), but I’m, of course, from Dawn news. I’m joined today by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Thank you very much, indeed, for being with us today.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, Saima.
MODERATOR: So, we’re going to try and give you all a real 360 perspective in our discussions today. We’re joined, of course – I’m joined, of course, on stage today by a panel. And of course, we have an audience which is really unusual for us here in Pakistan. And we’ll be giving you the opportunity to ask your questions. Now, the audience, are almost all – almost all women. And of course, Madame Secretary has famously said that women’s rights are human rights. So that’s something to bear in mind. Now, alongside me, let me introduce the other anchors that are with me on stage today: Asma Shirazi from the late edition on ARY, of course; Sana Bucha who presents (inaudible) on GEO news; and beside me to my right is Meher Bukhari who presents news (inaudible) on Samaa TV.
And with you in the audience somewhere is Quatrina Hossein who is a political talk show host from Express news.
QUESTION: Thank you, Saima. And welcome, Secretary Clinton, to the town hall meeting, which is a new concept for us in Pakistan. So you have brought us something new. And I think let’s go straight to the questions.
Back to you, Saima.
MODERATOR: Thank you. So let’s get started. I’d like to start by asking the first question, Madame Secretary. You say you’re here to turn the page with Pakistan in terms of past U.S. relations. And everyone is talking about your charm offensive. You’re giving so much time to the media here, and we thank you for that. But we can’t forget the traditional relationship that Pakistan and the U.S. have had. So how difficult do you think and realistic is it for the U.S. to extricate itself from the military-to-military relationship that the two countries have had? And how delicate a balance do you think it’s going to be, who on the one side supports democracy in Pakistan and a democratically elected government, and on the other, keep the military on board as an ally?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Saima, first let me thank you all for participating in this. It is very important to me, as I spend time here in Pakistan, my fifth trip, which I’ve so enjoyed, to have this opportunity not only to talk to the press, but talk to the public. So let me thank you all for participating. What we are trying to do is three things. First, we have been longtime friends and allies going back to Pakistan’s beginning. Now, there have been high points and low points in our relationship, and we admit that. And what we are trying to do is to put it on a stronger foundation going forward.
But secondly, supporting the democratic institutions of Pakistan, while giving support to your military to deal with the real threats that Pakistan faces is very similar to what we do with many of our friends and countries around the world, where there is a strong democracy, but where there are some serious issues. South Korea comes to mind. We are a very strong supporter of the country. So that means interacting not only with the democratically elected government and not only with the military, but with civil society, with nongovernmental organizations, with higher education, with all of the aspects of society.
And I agree with the thrust of your question, I think over the last eight years, it has been unfortunate that our relationship has been viewed primarily through the security perspective, the war on terrorism, not that those are not important, because they are. We saw again with the terrible bombing in Peshawar how difficult the challenge that Pakistan faces in rooting out these extremists and these terrorists. But that is not what our relation should be. That is not what it will be at its best. So part of what I’m doing is to say, look, we need a broader, more comprehensive relationship, and that’s what we’re going to work to achieve.
QUESTION: But how delicate is that balance – pleasing the military and a democratically elected government?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that that really depends upon the people of Pakistan, because we will support the democratically elected government because we believe in democracy and we think it’s in the best interest of not our – just our relationship, but the people of Pakistan. I spent about three hours last night with the Army Chief of Staff, General Kiyani and also with the head of ISI, General Pasha. And I was very heartened by their strong commitment to democratic civilian government. Now, I know the history of Pakistan, and it’s going to take vigilance and it’s going to take self-discipline on the part of the institutions. But mostly, it’s going to take the people of Pakistan saying, loudly and clearly, we respect our military, we appreciate their sacrifice, but we are committed to a democratic government. So I think that’s how we see it, and that’s what we want to support.
MODERATOR: Okay. Asma Shirazi, you have a question.
QUESTION: Yes, certainly. The people of Pakistan (inaudible) and actually there are some perceptions, and yours included, within the long history between Pakistan and U.S. relations. Look, Madame Secretary, we are fighting a war that is imposed on us, is not our war, that was your war, and we are fighting that war. But do you think that you are – I mean, are you satisfied with whatever is going on? And you had one 9/11, and we are having daily 9/11s in Pakistan. (Applause.) And do you think that you – (inaudible) we respect you. You are a prestigious lady and you are our guest. You are very prestigious to us. But can you define this trust deficit between the Pakistani people and people of USA or Government of USA?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I agree with you there is a trust deficit. I regret that it exists, but I acknowledge it exists. And I think your audience knows exactly what I’m talking about. But let me just speak very briefly about some of the aspects of this that have to be overcome.
On the one hand, it is true that we have a common enemy, but I do not think that your enemy is your enemy simply because they are our enemy. I believe that the enemy you are facing has an agenda to control large parts of your country and to challenge the writ of government. I don’t know that that has much to do with us, but I believe that it is something we have in common.
I also believe that the extremists and terrorists who you are now fighting are part of what has developed over the last decade a kind of syndicate of terror. I think al-Qaida is at the head of that syndicate. I think they direct, inspire, fund, and equip and train some of the very same people you’re fighting. I’ve read some of the press reports about what your military is encountering in southern Waziristan. They’re not just fighting Pakistanis. They’re fighting foreign fighters as well who have come here to join with the Taliban in their assault on your government.
But I also think it is absolutely fair to say that over the last eight years, we have not been as either understanding or as helpful in some of what you are facing. We have been focused on what’s happening across your border. And we know that Pakistan has a strong ability to fight for itself. At this point, the people of Afghanistan do not. So we want to be more understanding and more cooperative to support you in what you are trying to do. It’s not just us. It is us together.
And I think that the relationship we are working on with your government, with other institutions, I believe strongly that Pakistan has so many strengths, so much really going for it, that we want a comprehensive relationship. I don’t want to be just talking about security when I come next time. I want to be talking about what we’re doing on behalf of women and children and what we’re doing on education and electricity and healthcare so that it is clearly seems that we want to make an investment in the people of Pakistan.
MODERATOR: Okay. Meher Bukhari has a question.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, the reason people need understanding – I think it’s very – it’s (inaudible) which are still very big with the (inaudible) answer for something. Can you (inaudible)? You spoke about diplomatic immunity. I would like to ask you about two American private security companies have diplomatic immunity in Pakistan, and also (inaudible) director as to what’s formerly known as Blackwater, the international – would you like to (inaudible) directly to – yes-or-no answer to that?
SECRETARY CLINTON: The answer is it probably depends upon their status. Some of them do not. And some of them, if they are under the umbrella of diplomatic immunity, do. But I can’t answer.
QUESTION: So some of them do?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Some of them would, but most of them probably do not. I think that is the best I can do without the specifics. But it also depends upon whatever the relationship is with the host government. And I understand the sensitivity about this, but I just want to be clear that why do we have any private contractors? Well, because we get dozens and dozens and dozens of threats every month toward our diplomats, toward our public officials who are here who do have diplomatic immunity. And our diplomats don’t carry weapons. That would be absolutely unacceptable.
But on the other hand, they want to get out into the country and they need security. So we’re trying to work with your government to get the proper definition of how we provide security for the people we are sending to Pakistan to work with the people of Pakistan and the Government of Pakistan. So we want them to be secure and we want them to do the work.
QUESTION: So that we have (inaudible), the international (inaudible) from prosecution?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Again, I – you have – and it’s not because – I am not saying because I know. It’s because I don’t know. It depends upon the individual circumstances.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you. Ambassador Holbrooke was sitting with us just a while earlier and he said it’s a two-way street when you talk about Pakistan and U.S. relationship. It’s a two-way street and you give us something and you want something in return, and – I’m sorry.
QUESTION: It’s working now.
QUESTION: Okay. I said Ambassador Holbrooke was just telling us that the relationship between United States and Pakistan is a two-way street. And obviously, Pakistan and the United States are not friends, they’re not foes, they’re not regional partners, and this friendship is not unconditional. What is it that you want from Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think the – what we want is that Pakistan make a commitment to a democratic future and to the development of the people of Pakistan. But I think that’s what the people of Pakistan want. I mean, we have – and I will say this over and over again – we do not have an agenda other than to try to be more supportive of the achievements of whatever goals you set.
Now, we obviously had an opinion about the threat posed by the extremists, and we expressed that, but your government and your military is meeting that threat and we are helping them in whatever way they ask for. But what I think is most important is that we be your partner in trying to improve the lives and the livelihood of most Pakistanis. The other night, I was passing out certificates at the Benazir Income Support Program. I believe investing in women is one of the best investments you can make in any society. And I think investing in the women of Pakistan – (applause) – is a very, very smart strategy.
Well, if that’s what the people of Pakistan want, we are ready to help. Over and over again, we hear that the electricity system is not up to the demand that is put on it. So the first day I was here, I announced that we’re going to make a very big commitment to helping you help yourselves by improving your electricity system. So we’re not coming in and saying, “We think you should improve your electricity system.” We’re coming in and saying, “What are your biggest needs,” and over and over again, electricity came up. So we say, okay, here’s help that we can provide you. That’s what we’re trying to offer.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, let’s have some (inaudible).
MODERATOR: The audience is waiting, Asma.
QUESTION: Just one minute. You told yourself that we are making investment toward people of Pakistan. You see, there is another perception that you are micromanaging Pakistan – you are micromanaging Pakistani politics, you are managing an energy sector, you are doing everything. Is this perception true?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t see how it could be true, because what we are offering is in response to what the Pakistani Government, the democratically elected Pakistani Government, has told us that you need. And we are not going to be implementing these programs. But when we say, for example, that we’ll be helpful on electricity and your government says we need help repairing turbo wells that are across this country that provide water for irrigation, we say, “Well, we’ll sign up for that.”
Now are we going to go out there and decide which ones get fixed and how they are going to operate? Absolutely not. But we are going to say if we give you money for turbo wells, we want it to get to the turbo wells. We don’t want it to be siphoned off – (applause) – and end up in places that are not the people’s needs. That’s all we’re saying.
MODERATOR: Okay. Let’s move on and find out what the people of Pakistan, and particularly, the women of Pakistan want to say. Quatrina Hossein.
QUESTION: Okay. Madame Secretary, we have with us a question from a woman from South Waziristan, which is at the hub of the current operations.
QUESTION: Hi, I’m (inaudible). I’m a lecturer as well. Well, I asked a question regarding scholarship from Mr. Holbrooke and I guess he’s getting on with that. I won’t ask you a question as such. I would rather have a few suggestions. One, if you could kindly give the youth a chance to represent our area? Because I think the whole globe thinks we’re terrorists and we have very educated persons over there. And there’s another suggestion: The IDPs, yes, they are getting aid, but if some work can be done in their education and health, specifically women sector, I would really appreciate it, because I think if you want to bring a change, it’s going to be through education. So please (inaudible) Madame Secretary.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) call for a pause here. We need to change tapes (inaudible). It’s technical (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll answer —
MODERATOR: Okay, please hold the thought, and we’ll be right with you. I am going to weave my way through the audience while the tape’s being changed. I will try to come to as many people as possible.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Should I go ahead answer it, or should we wait for the tape?
MODERATOR: Please wait.
STAFF: We need that on the tape.
SECRETARY CLINTON: All right, okay.
MODERATOR: That was a question from a young lady from South Waziristan. And I believe Meher Bukhari has a question she’d like to build on that.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) was saying and also (inaudible). I understand that you genuinely want investment development and into the right (inaudible). Just a question so how do you intend on achieving that, because the State Department (inaudible) and Ambassador Holbrooke, especially (inaudible)? What exactly is his role, and how do you intend on working with (inaudible) in Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Great questions. Well, let me go to the first questions from the audience and say I agree with you completely that emphasizing outreach to young people, emphasizing education, are the long-term investments that will pay off. So I think we have to operate on sort of two lines at the same time: one, long term investments; and then short-term relief and the kind of aid programs that people can see the benefits of immediately.
And on healthcare, I’ll give you a quick example. During the problems with internally displaced people in Swat, in Malakand, one of the requests we got was for female doctors to work with the women who were IDPs. And what we did was to put out a call to Pakistani American doctors and nurses. And so we sent about a dozen Americans – Pakistani Americans – who were doctors to Swat to care for the women. And that led to another idea, so that we’re going to create a Pakistani American foundation so that successful Pakistani Americans can invest in projects back home. And we’re going to be kicking that off in December. And I think that according to the people working on it, they’re most interested in health and education, and they’re most interested in women and children. So we’re going to have some additional resources.
And then to go to the question about how do we organize this, well, you’re right; we sent Ambassador (inaudible) to come here for the purpose of organizing aid, to reaching out and getting the best ideas from the NGOs, from other voices around Pakistan. Because we know we spent billions of dollars on aid to Pakistan, but I bet there aren’t 10 percent of the people of Pakistan who know where that money went. They don’t know the projects we’ve done. They don’t know the results of our efforts.
So I think that we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of work to better organize our aid, to be more responsive to the needs of the people that they expressed to work more effectively with your government, and that’s what we’re committed to doing.
QUESTION: Can you take another —
MODERATOR: And we have another question here. It’s going to be (inaudible).
QUESTION: Thank you so much. I’m senior manager skills development from (inaudible) foundation. I have two questions. Number one is that a lot of U.S. aid money is coming to Pakistan, right? But why are there foreign contractors in war, because most of the money – taxpayer money – goes back to America, the management is there, they have their office in America, they have to give the management cost over there, then they set up an office in Pakistan, the management (inaudible) will do it there. And then some of the money goes back to the people, but quite a lot of money goes into the other contractors. Why is it that (inaudible) the contractors, number one? And number two —
MODERATOR: I want to give everybody a chance, so one question. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well —
MODERATOR: Yes, Madame Secretary.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, I share your criticism. And when I became Secretary of State, I asked that there be a review done of all of our aid programs, because I was worried that, number one, not enough of the money was getting to where it was intended, for all kinds of reasons. And number two, we weren’t getting the results that we were looking for. We actually stopped a lot of the aid programs until we had a chance to review them. And I am determined to take on this problem that you talked about.
And I’ll give you a quick example. After the earthquake a couple of years ago, the Government of Pakistan asked for our help to try to rebuild and build schools, and we said we would. But they adopted a different model, and the different model was that we wanted to hire Pakistani engineers, Pakistani architects, Pakistani contractors, and of course, Pakistani workers, because unlike some countries, we do employ a lot more Pakistanis than some countries do. They bring all their workers from the outside, but we have a mix of workers. But we wanted to try a different approach. And I think of the people that were directly hired – there were 202 and there were only two Americans and there were 200 Pakistanis, so I just got a report about that. That’s the kind of model that we are looking to follow now. We want more of the money pushed down to the local level.
Now, we do have to have accountability, and that’s not micromanaging. We have to be able to go back to the American taxpayer and the American Congress and say, “You said you wanted money spent to help education, for example, in Pakistan. We put X millions of dollars in, and we can show you the results.” So we want to do it both ways: more Pakistanis on the ground delivering the services, but there has to be some accountability so that we know we’re getting what you all are trying to achieve.
QUESTION: I have a question based on aid coming to Pakistan. And it’s about pledges versus the funds actually coming through. Primarily, when the IDP situation happened, more than 2 million people were displaced in Pakistan. Yes, I visited those camps as many of my colleagues here did. And the people there felt that the international community had forgotten of them. We saw pledges and funds coming through to places like Darfur, so when Pakistan was (inaudible), people weren’t listening because they felt that Pakistan had brought the terrorists upon themselves. And there was a lot of pledges that are being made, but funding is not coming through. And the same with the FODP – a lot of pledges, the money is not coming through.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me test the audience and ask if any of you know how much money – I can only speak for the United States, but how much money we have already spent – not pledged, but spent – on the IDPs in Swat. Does anybody have any idea?
We have spent $300 million. But I bet hardly anybody knows that. And it’s very frustrating for us. Because I agree with you; the international community has to do more, and we are pushing them to do more. At the pledging conference in Tokyo, about $5 billion was pledged, and we pledged about a billion dollars and we have already spent or contributed $400 million of that.
So I hope you understand my concern that we feel like we’re doing things and we’re not getting through. We’re not being very effective, and that’s our fault. We are not communicating very effectively to the people of Pakistan. So I want to do a better job of that. And I’m not asking that people applaud us. I just want people to know, because I want to work from a base of facts.
QUESTION: But in terms of the (inaudible), how much pressure or encouragement is the U.S. giving to the international community to follow suit?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are pushing all the time, and it’s a very fair question. We’re putting more money into the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for the people displaced out of South Waziristan, and we’ve gone to the UN, and we’ve gone to the international community and we said you’ve got to help Pakistan because they’re taking on this threat which is a common threat. And we’re going to keep pushing them until we get some more results from them.
QUESTION: Madame —
QUESTION: Yes, I just wanted to ask you when you say about you are concerned about Pakistan and then you mentioned electricity being one of them and you mentioned education being one of them. And we are also very concerned, and all Pakistanis are concerned about that. We’ve always had an issue with our budget (inaudible) and we always see a great amount of that going into military spending. So the main concern here is are you addressing Pakistan’s main concern, which is across the border – and by that, I mean India – when you are coming here and putting (inaudible) checks and balances and creating this transparency and seeing it through that the money is being utilized, but you are doing it in a (inaudible) situation still, because you’re still not sorting or accepting that Pakistan’s problem with India still exists, and there’s a good chance that money could go – and that it’s been reported in newspapers across the globe that Pakistan uses military expenditure – the civilian aid that comes in is used for military purposes.
So if you’re so concerned about Pakistan’s concerns, this springs from an issue which you have dismissed time and time again as mere paranoia. But even paranoids have enemies, and we have one right across the border, regardless of what it will do or it wants to do is a different story. But it has the potential of causing great danger to Pakistan. That’s a threat, and Pakistani military and Pakistani establishment believes that. Until and unless that is sorted, we will always be not sorted.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think I’ve ever said that. But what I have said repeatedly is that it is clearly in both Pakistan’s and India’s best interests to try to resolve the concerns they have which give root to the feelings that people obviously have. And I respect that. So it is not for us to dictate any solutions, because that wouldn’t last a minute. But it is up to us, which we do – I did on this trip, I did it when I was in India, we do it every time we talk – to encourage both sides to continue and get back to the composite dialogue that you were engaged in, because some advances were made. There were some positive results of that kind of discussion.
But at the end of the day, we want to be encouraging both countries. We have separate relationships with both countries. Our relationship with Pakistan actually goes back further than our relationship with India, and we value both relationships. And it is very disturbing and very painful to us that what could be, if there were a way to resolve the issues – and that’s for you to decide – there could be an extraordinary opportunity for Pakistan.
Yesterday, when I was in Lahore meeting with a group of business executives, a number of them said that they would like to trade with India. There is trade, but it doesn’t go direct. It goes through Dubai or somewhere. So there’s trade going on, but it’s not benefiting the people of Pakistan. And so my answer to them is my answer to you: We would love to see a good relationship, or at least a very peaceful relationship, so that you could get about the business of investing in your people, they could get about the business of investing in theirs, and there could be an opportunity for, over time, more relationships.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I liked you when you were (inaudible). It was really impressive for people of Pakistan. But how can you bridge the gap which is already created, especially when you are giving us aid, and which you are showing that you are giving us a lot? It’s just a (inaudible), like defense authorization act 2010. You are giving military aid with so many tough conditions. Can you elaborate, because our (inaudible) are being killed on western borders. So can you (inaudible)?
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) I wanted to ask you (inaudible) think about Pakistan (inaudible) the balance of power in the region. How exactly do (Inaudible) Pakistan (inaudible), which is directly (inaudible) talking about (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think Pakistan is disrupting the balance of power. I think Pakistan is trying very hard to solidify its democratic institutions while fighting a war. That, by definition, is an overwhelming challenge. My only point is, if you look at the map, Pakistan is one of the most strategically located countries in the world – India, China, Iran, Central Asia – and yet you rank 141st in human development. And why is that? Because you have been focused on other issues. And I’m not saying that it was wrong to be, but I’m just asking whether there is a way to begin to say, look, we have a different future we can make for ourselves. But again, that is up to you.
And to go to the question about conditions, I’ve explained many times that we have conditions in every aid that we give. And I think there was some misunderstanding, which we are going to try to clear up and be more sensitive to how we present the point of view of the United States Congress. But it is, I think, understandable that when the American Congress said we want to help you in your fight, and we think this immediate fight is the first fight to win, to wage and win, so we do have some accountability that we’re going to put on our own government to make sure that this aid is being translated into helping you win the priority fight. And I hope that your government and the Indian Government will resume a dialogue. I am a big believer in dialogues. I’m a big believer in negotiations. I think talking absolutely is better than warring. And so I hope that there can be some positive development there.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, what you mean by (inaudible) adversity, because (inaudible)?
QUESTION: Adversity impacting the balance of power in the region, can you define this? What does this mean?
SECRETARY CLINTON: You know what? I don’t know.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, I know that’s in the legislation —
SECRETARY CLINTON: — which you just referenced. I don’t know what the definition in the bill is. I don’t know what they mean by that.
MODERATOR: Okay. We really —
QUESTION: Let’s (inaudible) now.
QUESTION: It’s not my bill. I don’t know.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) the audience for a while. We want to hear from —
MODERATOR: Okay. We are going to —
QUESTION: — in the audience. Quatrina Hossein (inaudible).
MODERATOR: Okay. We are going to keep the flow for a while, Madame Secretary, because everybody here wants to say something. So first, I’m going to take a comment from (inaudible), and then a question. Yes, (inaudible).
QUESTION: (Inaudible). I want to say that this is our war, because we have shared creating this monster with you. And the comment is that the war is on two levels. One is the militancy level which becomes more visible, but the second one is ideological level, which is the ideology that is engulfing us and taking us centuries back. I just want to – (applause) – this is a comment that when you take on your approach, please don’t ignore this element. There are incubators where both militancy and this ideology is being created. These are called madrassas and we definitely want to deal with them. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: And one – a couple of questions from here.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I’m director of a women’s rights organization, (inaudible). I know that during U.S. aid support to Muslims in Bosnia, huge investments were made to train police and military in human rights programs. How would you ensure that the training programs for police and military in Pakistan would also have a strong component on women’s rights and human rights standards?
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s an excellent question, and I think we need to look at how we could do that more effectively, because obviously, I care very much about human rights and women’s rights, and I think that it is important to try to make sure that anyone in law enforcement anywhere in the world, and anyone in any military anywhere in the world be sensitized and receive that kind of training and then be held accountable.
So that’s something that we will obviously look into, because I think that the comment that was made earlier is a very important one, and I’ve had numerous conversations about this both before coming and as well as here with Pakistani friends of mine. Because to me, the ideology is foreign to Pakistan, and it is like a cancer that’s been introduced into the body of the country that needs to be excised. I mean, you – there can be different interpretations of culture. There can be different kinds of ways of living as long as it’s done peacefully.
But once any group decides that they have all the truth and nobody else has any of it, and therefore, they’re going to impose their beliefs on other people, that cannot be tolerated because that is so contrary to what a democracy should stand for, what diversity and pluralism should stand for. I mean, we have women from different backgrounds and different places in Pakistan with their own opinions here in this auditorium, and everybody should be free to express that without being somehow characterized as not being right or not being appropriate. So we have to look at this from many different angles.
QUESTION: Let’s take some more questions.
MODERATOR: Okay. And we have a question here from a student from the Islamic International University, which was a university that was bombed in Islamabad. And yes, what’s your question?
QUESTION: Ma’am, my name is (inaudible) and I would like to draw your attention to the issue of Kashmir and Palestine, and in accordance with the UN ruling, the American stance is that this issue should be resolved in between the two countries where America would just facilitate. But I opine that America being the superpower can exert a pressure and influence generally in resolving this long outstanding issue in the wake of UN resolutions. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want you to know that we are trying very hard to encourage both your government and the Indian Government to work on resolving this. It’s a little bit different with the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Palestinians don’t yet have their state. I am trying to create conditions for a two-state solution so that the Palestinians will finally have their state, Israel will have security, and they can live side by side. But because it’s not two countries, it’s a little bit more difficult, and we have to try to push it along.
On India and Pakistan, especially over Kashmir, we know that both of the countries have very strong feelings about this, and we can’t dictate any answers despite our position in the world. What we can do is to keep making the case that finding an answer is in the best interests of both. I mean, if you look at the amount of money that is spent on military, which you raised, that money – if there were not the threat that exists and the feeling that you had to keep up and you had to keep making more and more investment, that money could be going for so many more purposes that would help develop the people of Pakistan.
So it’s very much in Pakistan’s interest. I would argue it’s also very much in India’s interest. And I say that publicly, I say that privately. We keep pushing and we’re going to continue to.
MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, we have some – I have a question myself, and that question is that a United committee – a United Nations committee has just ruled or suggested that drone attacks may constitute a violation of international law, and it constitutes the execution of people without a trial. And the Pakistan parliament, of course, has also requested that these drone attacks be stopped, yet they continue, and the Pakistani people have begun to resent them and associate them with U.S. policy towards Pakistan as a whole. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think what’s important here is that there is a war going on, as several of you have said, and I won’t comment on that specific matter because of the fact that if you look at what has to be done in this war, the Pakistani military is using what are called S-BEC-C’s. These are very powerful planes that drop bombs. And in a war, you go after the people who are your enemies, but sometimes – and regrettably, sometimes that’s not the only people who get caught up in it.
But I think that given the nature of this war that is being fought against an enemy that is very hard to find, very hard to pin down, very hard to capture or kill, that engages in activities like the bombing of the women’s market in Peshawar, that it is understandable that as Pakistan fights this war, they want whatever help they can get, not just from us, but from others. They buy military equipment from other countries, not just the United States. But I think that winning this war is in Pakistan’s national security interests, and we’re going to do all we can to help you.
MODERATOR: And Madame Secretary, a question on the nuclear issue.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) but otherwise (inaudible) extrajudicial or indiscriminate killings against international humanitarian law.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that was one report that was written. I don’t think that that has been concluded at all, and I think that will be something that has to be looked at in the future.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) has been relentless under the Obama Administration. And do you think, and does the Obama Administration feel that the loss of life and how people feel about them in Pakistan is worth it given the minimal successes you get?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, again, I’m not going to comment on any particular tactic or technology. But I would say that a lot of the masterminds and the leaders of the insurgency are very much in the eye of the Pakistani military, because they know that there are certain people who are orchestrating these attacks. And so there is a great effort to try to use appropriate means to go after those leaders, and I think that that is part of the success in the war that they’re waging.
MODERATOR: Can we take some more questions from the audience, Saima? Because we really haven’t even done half the auditorium yet.
MODERATOR: So let’s be fair here. Maria Sultan.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Thank you, Quatrina. Dr. Maria Sultan, South Asian Strategic Stability Institute. Thank you, Madame Secretary, for being with us this afternoon. My question relates to the nuclear program and the various certification requirements which are asked from you from the Kerry-Lugar bill. Nuclear weapons program of any country is a classified program, and so are nuclear weapons budget.
The question which I need to ask is how would you ascertain the information vis-à-vis making that certification whether Pakistan has devoted Pakistan’s financial resources towards weapons programs? Will that be done through U.S. national technical means if that certification is to be done through you? Or will it be done through the Government of Pakistan? And if it is going to be done with the aid of Government of Pakistan, was it negotiated?
And last but not least, I just wanted to ask, how do you suppose the strategic stability in the region will be maintained considering the fact that United States has bent the rules of international nonproliferation regime by giving the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that I have confidence in the security of the Pakistan nuclear arsenal. I have said that many times, I believe it, and I will continue to say it. So sometimes when you read stories that people are speculating or worrying over what might happen, I do not share those worries or concerns.
What I have talked to the Pakistani Government about is proliferation. The fact that Pakistan has a nuclear program is a fact. And it is something that has been safeguarded and secured by the Pakistani military, and that’s appropriate. But the fear that we all have and that I have expressed to the government and the military here is the possibility that nuclear material could fall into the hands of terrorists. So it’s not at all unlikely that the efforts that are being taken by the terrorists – and we know it goes on constantly – to try to figure out ways to get fissile material from the former Soviet Union, from some other source, would affect all of us.
And so my strong feeling is that it is Pakistan’s interest to work with the rest of the world to prevent proliferation. That is not in any way undermining your nuclear program. Your nuclear program exists. Now, you ask how do you verify and how do you determine if Pakistan were to join, for example, the NPT the way that the rest of us do. We’re negotiating a dramatic reduction in our nuclear arsenal with Russia. And in it, we are opening ourselves and they’re opening themselves to examination by each of us. So we would send our experts there, they would send their experts here, the International – or to U.S. The International Atomic Energy Agency, they have experts. They go and they consult with people’s nuclear programs all over the world.
And finally, the agreement that the Bush Administration entered into with India was for civil nuclear programs to produce energy, and obviously, energy is something that is going to be very much needed in Pakistan. It takes a lot of investment for a nuclear plant. It’s very expensive. And I don’t know whether that’s something that Pakistan could afford to do right now, but that has nothing to do with the nuclear weapons arsenal, which, as you know, has created a deterrent between you and Pakistan.
MODERATOR: And we have a question from —
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) She was referring to rule-bending as far as India was concerned. There was some rule-bending. That’s what you were referring to.
QUESTION: Well, how are you going to verify those positions on Pakistan’s nuclear program?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We would work with the Pakistani Government. I mean, obviously —
SECRETARY CLINTON: What?
MODERATOR: Okay. And we have some questions here from people who come from Karachi.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we don’t have access to your nuclear programs, and that’s something that is within your authority. And we would expect, under the circumstances, to get an accurate certification from the Pakistani Government.
QUESTION: Okay. Let’s (inaudible).
MODERATOR: And we have some questions from Karachi. And it’s Sassui Palijo, minister for culture from the province of Sindh.
QUESTION: Hello, Madame Secretary. I would like to welcome you here. I belong to Pakistan People’s Party, a member of assembly, minister for culture and tourism in government. I would like to welcome you here. And, you know, the way you have been meeting different people and the way, you know, we have been watching you on TV also, I think we must appreciate your efforts, because there are so many challenges, so many fears because of the war against terrorism.
When yesterday I saw you on TV, that reminded me of my great hero and beloved and, you know, (inaudible) Benazir Bhutto, because she fought against terrorism without any fear. I belong to (inaudible) has the light of Sufism. We believe in peace (inaudible) name of love, affection, peace. The question is that we are suffering from severe water shortage because we are agronomist country and we totally depend upon water. The thing is that India is trying its best to stop our water. They are trying to build dams and other mega project. The thing is that I think America can play a vital role, and now I think you will have to play your role so that India can stop all these stupid and mega projects because they are trying to stop our water.
MODERATOR: Okay, let’s get an answer to that (inaudible) on the water issue that Pakistan is suffering.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have heard about the water issue from every government official that I met with, and Foreign Minister Qureshi and I announced on Wednesday that we’re going to resume, but build up, a strategic dialogue between our two countries, and one of the items we will work on is water. And we will try to figure out what can be done to help. And obviously, if there are international issues, we will try to help address those as well, because I think that from everything I’ve heard everywhere, water is becoming an increasingly urgent concern.
I just wanted to say one quick reflection about Benazir Bhutto. Because she was prime minister the first time I came nearly 15 years ago, and her husband, President Zardari, gave me a wonderful gift, which was a picture of her and her two older children and of me with my daughter when we were here. And it was a very emotional experience for me because I admired her greatly, I considered her a friend, I saw her off and on during the years when I was in the White House, when I was in the Senate. I was extremely upset when she was murdered.
But I really think that, as you said, her martyrdom should be a reminder and a spur to action for all of us to deal with the threats that are posed to civilization and to people who are trying to stand up to terrorism. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, a question from a law student here.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is (inaudible) from Peshawar University. First of all, I would like to admire you to have come to Pakistan in such crucial times. And second, there is a very general question I would like to ask, that what is actually terrorism in U.S. eyes? Is it the killing of innocent people in, let’s say, drone attacks? Or is it, again, the killing of – a vengeful killing of innocent people in different parts of Pakistan, like the bomb blast in Peshawar two days ago? Which one is terrorism, do you think?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I only heard your second one about the —
MODERATOR: Okay, basically the question was that victims of drone attacks, is that terrorism, or people being killed in a marketplace in Peshawar, is that terrorism? In the United States – do you perceive both victims as victims of terrorism?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I do not. I do not.
MODERATOR: We have to take a break, Quatrina, to sort tapes. There’s no tapes so we missed that question, I’m afraid.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay.
MODERATOR: Sorry again, everyone. A couple more minutes while we change tapes for the television.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) question, and I’d like to talk about Afghanistan and Pakistan. There’s a strategic review going on right now. You’re waiting for the results of the Afghan elections. Now, obviously, that impacts both U.S. policy, but Pakistani policy too. And my question refers to not just the fact that Pakistan and the U.S. are allies in the war against militancy, and of course, they’re concerns with Afghanistan. But are the aims and objectives, the ultimate goals, the same? I don’t think they are. And how are you going to make those two marry up with Pakistan’s objective vis-à-vis Afghanistan, and what the U.S. (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I believe that there is a lot of commonality in the goals. I don’t think it is in either Pakistan’s interest or the interest of the United States that Afghanistan be unstable, be a breeding ground for militancy and terrorism that can cross the border or cross the ocean. So I do think that we have a common goal. The question is what is the best way to achieve that goal. And that’s why the President, President Obama, is doing this review to try to figure out, having consulted with our partners like Pakistan and others, what is the best way to achieve that. I mean, how do we give Afghanistan the support it needs to have its own army? I mean, Pakistan has a very professional army. Afghanistan does not. So it can’t defend itself yet. And so how do we get to that point? And I think that’s in everybody’s interest.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) just the same way that the United States is (inaudible) exactly the same way Pakistani leadership, whether that’s military, whether that’s our opposition, whether that’s the government itself, we see the (inaudible) presence in Afghanistan (inaudible) and financially funding and investing in these (inaudible). . What exactly is the United States doing about this? And the United States – I know you just got all you can say (inaudible), but the fact of the matter is that you are in a position to put pressure. Just today, you came out (inaudible) because of international pressure (inaudible) Pakistan (inaudible). What can you do?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, I sometimes do believe that pressure is better delivered in private, because people in public might have a reaction, whereas working behind the scenes, working consistently, very often pays off. But I think it’s also fair to say that everyone needs to be focused on the same goal, no matter who they are or where they are. It is not in anyone’s interest to support these non-state terrorist groups, because, number one, you lose control over them; number two, they often act in ways that cause ripple effects that come back to haunt you; and number three, we can’t afford to do that in the 21st century. So we’re sending that message to everybody.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) I want to ask a question and it’s a supplementary question, in fact. Yesterday, you stated that Usama bin Ladin and Pakistani leadership or Pakistanis know where they are – Pakistani officials. I just want to – there is a need of clarification. Is it (inaudible) from Pakistani Government or Pakistani agencies? What will you say?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what I said was that I don’t know if anyone knows, but we in the United States would very much like to see the end of the al-Qaida leadership. And our best information is that they are somewhere in Pakistan. And we think that it’s in Pakistan’s interest as well as our own that we try to capture or kill the leadership of al-Qaida, because we think that would be a very severe blow to terrorists everywhere. And my point is let’s work together to get that done.
Now, the priority for Pakistan has to be focusing on those who are attacking you. That has to be your priority. You have to protect your people and your territory. But from everything we have learned, al-Qaida is in league with the people who are attacking Pakistan. That might not have been the case before, but they are part of this syndicate of terror and they are in league. So when the initial campaign in Swat and then now in South Waziristan is finished, I think that the Pakistani military will have to go on to try to root out other terrorist groups, or we’re going to be back facing the same threats.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think there’s a trust deficit going both directions, and I think that’s why we have to talk very openly, which is what I’m trying to do.
QUESTION: Is it military or government?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t know.
MODERATOR: I’m sorry, we have to move on, Sana Bucha from GEO.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) security are directly linked to Afghanistan’s security and stability. That has been said time and time again. But are we looking for clues everywhere? Does (inaudible) do they not have any nefarious designs of their own carrying out in Afghanistan, and the losses that the United States suffers at the hands (inaudible). And does Iran have a role? Does Russia have a role? I know for a fact that al-Qaida recruits that are coming from the Turkmenistan-Tajikistan border who are Arabs and they are being funded by Russia. And there is no diplomatic presence in Russia by the United States or in Iran itself. You’ve already said Iran is the “axis of evil”. So do you think you need to do something more on diplomatic terms with Iran and Russia, too, to stop exactly what’s exacerbating in Afghanistan itself?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we do have diplomatic – full diplomatic relationships with Russia. I was just in Russia for consultations, and the Russians are helping in Afghanistan. They’re providing support. They’re providing transit. They’re providing the kind of both material and moral support, because they understand the threat that they would face. So Russia I would put in a different category.
With Iran, we are trying to engage Iran. We are working very hard to do that. And it’s difficult to know what the outcome will be. But as President Obama said when he was inaugurated, we will reach out our hand to anyone who unclenches their fist. And we are attempting to do that. I can’t today tell you whether we will have any success or not. But I think what you saw happen with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard last week, where apparently a group came across the border from Baluchistan, means that Iran has a stake in this, too. I really think the world has a stake, and I’m trying to get everybody to work together. And whatever differences we have – and there will always be differences between India and Pakistan, between us and Iran, we all – that’s human nature. But on this big threat of non-state terrorist networks, every country should work together. And that’s what I hope we will see.
MODERATOR: Okay, let’s move on for one final question from the audience. The final question is going to be from Sonia because I’m right here.
QUESTION: My name is Sonia (inaudible) and I’m the founding president of an NGO think tank. When Saimi Mohsin opened the conversation up, she talked about turning a new page. And in your efforts and in your schedule and your deliberations, Secretary of State, that’s clearly evident. We must commend you for that, and we welcome you to our country.
But there is also talk of trust deficit. And indeed, when the former ambassador (inaudible) talked about – said in her opening comment, she talked about a trust deficit, and that’s coming again and again from across the floor.
In my opinion, if the United States takes two tangible and very concrete steps, it can make a very significant stride towards overcoming that trust deficit. The first is in the area of external resource transfers. Although the external resource transfers – although we appreciate that the Kerry-Lugar bill will make monies available to us, but the potential within wiping out external indebtedness is very huge, and I want to know to what extent you are committed to working towards that.
My second question and the area where I think you can really bring value to the country is in the area of democracy, because you clearly are committed towards democracy, but I’m sure nobody would know better than yourself that democracy is not about popular vote. It is a set of constitutional devices. It’s a set of institutional norms. It is a form of governance and transparency and accountability in institution. I’m just doing that, Quatrina. But I just want to make a point that democracy is about an attitude in government. It is a set of institutions, devices. And most importantly, it’s about a set of values enshrined in freedom, liberty, equality, and rights.
To what extent can you consolidate a reform agenda within the country which would make sure that reform outlives administrations and is not held hostage to individual vested interests within our very complicated country? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, on your first question, we supported very strongly the effort to try to stabilize the Pakistani economy. We have sent a team of financial experts twice now to work with your government so that any way we can help on debt relief, on refinancing, on other aspects of stabilizing the economic and fiscal situation, is something we’re committed to helping you do.
But let me just end on your last question, because I think it’s a very important one. You are absolutely right; democracy is not just about elections. In fact, there are people around the world who get themselves elected once and then they end elections. So you’ve got to have an independent judiciary. You’ve got to have a free press, which Pakistan has. You’ve got to have protection for minority rights. You have to have all of these institutions working together. But the most important is what Alexis d’Toqueville said back at the very beginning of our country when he came to the United States. He said you have to have the habits of the heart – the habits of the heart that respect other people, that tolerate other viewpoints, because in a democracy there has to be compromise. By definition, you can’t have an absolutist approach. That’s what you’re supposed to do in the parliament. That’s what the government is supposed to protect.
So I think inculcating those habits of the heart in the family, in school, in the community, is absolutely essential to the long-term health and stability of the democracy of Pakistan. And we will support the rule of law, we will support the institutions, and we will support efforts to try to plant all those habits of the heart in as many hearts as we can possibly reach.
MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, we’ve (inaudible).
QUESTION: (Inaudible) I would like to know how damage control you think you’ve been able to do on this trip.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t know. I hope some. I mean, I love coming to Pakistan and I have such a great deal of affection and friendship towards the country and the people. I’m going to try as hard as I can. But ultimately, we have to have actions between the two of us. Words are not enough. We have to build that confidence and build that trust, and we have to listen to each other, and I hope I at least have started that during the last three days. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, thank you so much indeed for giving us this time (inaudible) and the opportunity for the audience and us to speak to you. I thank my colleagues, Asma Shirazi, Sana Bucha, Meher Bukhari, and of course, Quatina Hossein. I’m Saima Mohsin. Thanks very much indeed for being with us. (Applause.)
Interview With Jim Sciutto of ABC
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 30, 2009
QUESTION: Okay. So first off, the reaction in Pakistan to your comments yesterday – a little bit of shock, some anger. Though we know this has been the opinion of the U.S. intelligence community for some time, these are blunt things for America’s top diplomat to say. Was this an intentional message to the Pakistani Government to take on al-Qaida more directly, or was this the result of frustration after what you’ve heard here these last few days?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, it really was neither. It was part of the larger context of what my trip is about. I knew before I came, because I’ve been following this closely, that there was a lot of mistrust of the United States, of our intentions and our actions, coming out of the last eight years that had not been erased overnight because we elected a new president, even one who’s as popular as President Obama is here in Pakistan.
Yet I also believe that the relationship between our two countries is so critical – it’s critical for each of our security, it’s critical for our long-term strategic possibilities. And therefore, I wanted to spend three days, and I wanted to put myself in as many different settings as possible. So that’s what I’ve been doing, and I’ve answered all kinds of questions from the Pakistani press and the Pakistani public about their concerns, their fears about what we are up to.
But I wanted it to be clear that trust is a two-way street. There is a trust deficit. And when we arrested somebody, like we did recently, Zazi, who was trained in Pakistan at a training camp by al-Qaida, it’s not just our intelligence service or our government. The American people say, “Well, wait a minute, what’s going on here?”
But in the context of what’s happening now in Pakistan, I think it is an appropriate time to say, we applaud your resolve; you’re going after the Pakistan Taliban; you’ve gone after them in Swat successfully; you’re now going after them in South Waziristan. This is an incredibly important campaign, and the military sacrifice and the democratic government support is making a big difference.
But let’s remember that the Pakistan Taliban is part of a terrorist syndicate that is directed, funded, inspired by al-Qaida. And it will not be sufficient to achieve the level of security the Pakistanis deserve if we don’t go after those who are still threatening not only Pakistan, but Afghanistan and the rest of the world. And we wanted to put that on the table, and I think it was important that we did.
QUESTION: So it sounds like this was an intentional message.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it’s part of this relationship that I want to see develop where we have built up – we build up more trust because we don’t paper over the questions. They’re free to ask me about the Kerry-Lugar legislation, why it said the things it said, and I do my best to respond. But I want to have the kind of relationship where we really are talking honestly about everything between us, because there’s just too much at stake.
QUESTION: Do you believe the Pakistani Government is, in effect, harboring terrorists? Or is your message that they’re not being aggressive enough in seeking them out?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think that they are. I think that they have gone after the enemies who most directly threaten them, and I understand that priority. I mean, I think any country would do the same. But I think it would be a missed opportunity and a lack of recognition of the full extent of the threat if they did not realize that any safe haven anywhere for terrorists threatens them, threatens us, and has to be addressed. Let’s do what needs to be done – first at hand, go after those who are most directly threatening the state institutions and killing innocent people, like just happened in Peshawar. But then let’s turn around and together go after those who are still behind this terrorist syndicate.
QUESTION: You’ve heard animosity here. You’ve heard real doubts about America’s intentions. You’ve heard conspiracy theories. These are familiar points of view in this part of the world. Is this a result of the mountain America still has to climb in terms of its public image that existed already, or are you – is the U.S. having a fundamental problem getting its message out?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that we haven’t done as good a job as I wish we had in the past, having the kind of public diplomacy, people-to-people connection, and the sensitivity that comes with listening and consulting with people as opposed to just stating our opinion and kind of saying take it or leave it. I don’t think that’s always the best way to communicate.
But in the 21st century, it’s a losing proposition. We’re not living in a time where you just talk government to government and expect everything to be taken care of. We’re living in a time where people have access to mountains of information, and if we don’t take that into account in our diplomacy and in our interactions with other countries and people, we’re not going to be as effective in communicating as I would like to see us.
So inheriting what we inherited, which you know very well was a lot of unfortunate feelings and attitudes that had been built up in people toward our country, we’re going at it sort of one by one. And part of the way I define my job is not just being confined to the government offices, but getting out into countries, listening to people. Again, I’m not going to satisfy every question that they have right off the bat; there’s just too much baggage that we’re carrying. But I’m going to keep trying, and I want, at least, people to go away saying, “Well, no American official has ever come and listened to us like this. They haven’t been willing to entertain that we had some concerns.”
And I have acknowledged that we’ve made mistakes, and I have no problem acknowledging that. I think it’s only fair. But I want to move beyond that. I don’t think we can have the kind of civilian and military, development and security relationship that we want to have unless we clear the air.
QUESTION: I want to talk about Afghanistan. I’ve just come here from there. And you’re aware this has been a very bad week.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: And each of those attacks symbolic of wider challenges here – the danger of IEDs, the vulnerability of the capital, Kabul. In your view, does the U.S. need a significant infusion of troops and a change in counterterrorist strategy, counterinsurgency strategy, in Afghanistan to stop from losing this war?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not going to preempt the President’s decision. He has to make the decision about troop levels and the like. But let me just say this: No one should doubt our resolve. We are committed to going after the Taliban, and we are committed to working with the Afghan people and their government, both nationally and locally, to help them develop the capacity to protect themselves from this threat. Because we know – talking about public opinion – the people of Afghanistan do not want the Taliban back, but they do want security and they do want services that give them a chance to have a better and different future. And so we have to have an integrated civilian-military strategy, which is what the President announced back in March.
But at the time, he said, “We will reevaluate how we’re doing and where we’re going once the Afghan election is over.” And as you know, it’s not yet over, but hopefully soon will be, because our resolve is just as firm as ever. But let’s be honest, we have to take a hard look at how we are operationalizing our strategy on both the civilian and the military front. We’ve made some very important changes looking at Afghanistan and Pakistan together, integrating the civilian and military, appointing a special representative for both – Ambassador Holbrooke. We’ve sent a message that it’s not going to be just a repeat of the same old approach. We’re trying some different things, and when the President makes his decision, I think that will be evident.
QUESTION: In a word, is the U.S. losing the war in Afghanistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I don’t think so. But I do think that, as not only General McChrystal, but others have said, the Taliban has some momentum because it is easy to blow up things. Unfortunately, as we have seen in too many places over the last years, a very few people who are willing to die can do a lot of damage and take lives and property with them. And so what we have here is a dedicated band of people who are committed to trying to reverse the gains that the people of Afghanistan have made. I mean, you’ve seen it – I mean, more people going to school, particularly girls, more opportunities for people. There’s a lot of good things that have happened in the last eight years.
But we have to have a commitment from the international community matched by a commitment from the government and people of Afghanistan in order to turn the tables on the Taliban, to make sure that the people of Afghanistan are not intimidated into accepting their reign of terror.
QUESTION: Briefly on Iran, Iran it looks like, has now gone back on an agreement that its negotiators made in Geneva. Is that nuclear fuel transfer deal dead, in your view? And what does it mean? Does it mean a reassessment is necessary for the Administration’s reengagement policy with Iran?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jim, it’s not dead yet, because we have a solid, unified international community. And working with the International Atomic Energy Agency, we’re trying to clarify exactly what Iran will or will not do. I think the important story is that there’s absolute unity among all of us – the United Kingdom, obviously France, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, European Union – and we’re putting Iran to the test. They said they would agree in principle; let’s see if they will deliver.
QUESTION: Changing topic for a moment, David Plouffe’s book mentions a story about your potential selection as Obama’s vice president. Do you believe, as he says in his book, that your husband lost you that job?
SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) I have no idea. But I really am satisfied and happy to be doing what I’m doing, and I think Joe Biden’s doing a great job as Vice President. I’m not somebody who looks backwards; I look forward, and I’m very proud to be representing both President Obama and my country.
QUESTION: I want to ask you personally about your trip here. You mentioned in recent days how your daughter studied Islamic history.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: Your own – you’re no newcomer to this part of this world. You have an appreciation for the culture, for the food, and you’re here on a listening tour, in effect. Are you frustrated with the level of animosity you’ve heard here, even in the context of sending billions of dollars this way, and the message that you’re trying to send here about long-term commitment and a change to the relationship, to be not just a counter-terror relationship? Are you personally frustrated at that – to hear that level of animosity wherever you go?
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, I’m not. I’m challenged by it, because I think we have our work cut out for us, which is why I’m here and why I’m engaging with so many different aspects of Pakistani society.
But I also think it’s important for us to put ourselves in the shoes of other people. And we can’t just reject out of hand the concerns that people have and expect them then to feel like they have a partner in us. And I think we could do a better job. We can be more sensitive and aware of some of the attitudes and expectations in this part of the world or any part of the world.
It’s so – I think that we are still coming to grips in our country with the new environment in which we operate. I’ll be going in a short time to Berlin for the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall. And we had a pretty clear idea of what our job was as a nation in the Cold War. And in the last 20 years, we’ve seen different approaches tried. And I think we’ve made some progress in having a clearer vision about how to deal in a multi-polar world as opposed to a bipolar world.
But the change in communication, the access to information that is at the fingertips of so many millions of people today, particularly young people, means that we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard of outreach and understanding as we go forward with what we think is in the American interest as well as what we hope is in the international interest.
So it matters now what students in a college in Lahore think, because they have access to being heard by their country. It matters what I hear from the business community or from others in civil society. And we’re just really coming to grips with what public diplomacy means in the 21st century.
We did a good job during the Cold War in communicating behind the old Iron Curtain. We kept hope alive, so to speak. We gave people information they couldn’t get. And then we kind of got out of that business. We thought, “Oh, thank goodness, democracy won.” We had commentators that said, “It’s the end of history. It’s clear sailing.” And we didn’t really take into account the rise of the reactions to modernity, to the reversion to ideological and tribalistic and ethnic and other kinds of familiarity.
So we have our work cut out for us. So I’m challenged by it. But I think it’s important that we accept that we have to do a better job if we’re going to have the influence that I believe we should have because of what our country represents.
QUESTION: Did you believe that a year after – almost a year after coming into office, that the U.S. image would be in better shape than it was today, considering all the hope that Obama and you, your appointment, brought in this part of the world?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, but I think it is. I mean, I think that there are very few places where we haven’t made significant improvement in how we’re perceived. And that was a big part of the job in the beginning, to kind of clear the decks and the underbrush and get people to believe that we were well motivated, that we cared what they were thinking and doing. And now we have to work hard on the agenda that we’re putting forth.
QUESTION: Okay. I’m overtime, so I really enjoyed it.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: So good to meet you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: My pleasure.
QUESTION: And I look forward to seeing you again, and I’ll —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good.
QUESTION: — see you on the plane.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay. Thanks a lot, Jim.
Posted in Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pakistan, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S. Department of State on October 30, 2009| 3 Comments »
This just in from the State Department. This is a venue where she met up with some tough questions.
Town Hall at Government College University
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
October 29, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. It is indeed an honor for me to join you here at GC University Lahore, a distinguished place of learning with so much history and so many graduates who have made contributions not only to Pakistan, but to the world. I thank all of you for gathering here today. I wish to thank certainly Professor Awan and Vice Chancellor Aftab. Thank you both very much. And I’m delighted that the foreign minister and the education minister are here with us, that we have both our American Ambassador to Pakistan, Ambassador Patterson, and our Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Holbrooke.
It is a special privilege for me to be back here in Lahore. I was first here nearly 15 years ago. This is now my fifth visit to Pakistan, my third to Lahore, my first as Secretary of State. And I am delighted that I have a chance to come and speak with young people here on this beautiful campus, in this city celebrated throughout history as a center of culture and scholarship, and in a country that means so much to Islamic civilization and the Muslim world.
As someone with a deep respect for Islam, visiting Pakistan is a special honor. And I have several members of my staff, Muslim Americans, who accompanied me on this trip, and I know I can speak for them and say that we are all very pleased to be here.
Before coming to the university this morning, I paid a visit to Bari Imam, the shrine to Shah Abdul Latif Kazmi. I also was privileged to learn more about and visit the extraordinary Badshahi Mosque and the tomb of Allama Iqbal, whose ideas played such an important role in shaping this nation from its start. And one cannot stand in the midst of the mosque without appreciating the contributions to human thought and cultural expression that emanates from Pakistan.
And I’d like to speak briefly today before taking your questions about what together we can do to work to harness the ideas, the values, the talents of the Pakistani people, particularly young people, to help not only this nation, but our world shape a future of peace, prosperity, and progress. I want to hear your thoughts about the ways in which you think the challenges we face today can be addressed.
And I want to begin by underscoring the fact that I am here because the Obama Administration and I personally am committed to Pakistan and to the Pakistani people. The ties between our countries have been forged over decades through times of struggle and crisis brought on by natural disasters, acts of war and violence. Our nations have often acted as a team coordinating aid and providing support. Our soldiers have stood together, our students have learned together, our leaders have worked together, our scientists have researched together, and our entrepreneurs and our investors have done business together. Through it all, our ties have been strengthened by the hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who have moved to the United States, bringing with them the values and traditions of their homeland.
As a senator for New York for eight years, I was proud to represent the world’s largest community of Pakistani Americans, many of whom I count as close personal friends. These are people who have made invaluable contributions to my country, doctors and scholars (inaudible) —
. . . to have a partnership. Well, it is true that security has been a prominent part of the public discourse about our countries’ relationship, and that makes sense because it is a serious and urgent issue. Anyone picking up the papers today and seeing the results of the horrific bombing in Peshawar that killed dozens of people, mostly women and children, cannot doubt that Pakistan is the midst of a battle against extremists who bomb universities and police stations, who kill babies.
Now, these attacks may be happening on your territory, but this is not your fight alone. These extremists are committed to destroying that which is dear to us as much as they are committed to destroying that which is dear to you and to all people. And you are standing on the front lines of this battle, but we are standing with you.
But as crucial as security issues are, they are not the only element of our relationship with Pakistan. They are just one piece of a much broader partnership, one that we hope will improve the lives of people in both our nations in many ways, so that more people can develop their talents and make the most of their God-given potential. How many children who are denied an education or denied healthcare might have excelled at this great university, perhaps even joining the ranks of your Nobel Laureate? Well, we don’t know, because although talent is universal, opportunity is not.
And I am proud that under the leadership of President Obama, the United States is placing greater emphasis on approaches such as increasing access to education, supporting entrepreneurs, using the tool of microfinance and technology to connect and give people greater empowerment, increasing energy supplies so that the economy will have the resources it needs to thrive.
But the United States is not interested in a one-sided relationship with your country; in the long run that won’t serve anyone. We are committed to working with you as true partners, and that means, first and foremost, listening and consulting with one another.
Earlier, I had a few minutes with some of the leaders of civil society and the Bar here in Lahore, and I admired from a distance the role that civil society played in providing a platform for a return to democracy, standing up for democratic institutions, standing up for the independence of the judiciary. And the progress that has been made in a relatively short period of time in restoring democracy is a tribute to the public officials and leaders who have led it, to the civil society activists and advocates who championed it, and to the people of Pakistan who demanded it.
Later today, I will meet with Pakistani business leaders to discuss how the United States can help create jobs and strengthen Pakistan’s economy. Tomorrow, I will meet with citizens from the FATA areas in the North-West Province to learn more about the needs of the people in those remote regions. I will also hold a town hall tomorrow with several hundred women to highlight the unique contributions that we women make to our communities and discuss ways that we can all do a better job of unleashing women’s potential worldwide.
I think it’s important that we emphasize the role that an academic institution such as this and so many of you play in a robust, civil society to protect the rights of people, to hold leaders accountable. I believe that society rests on a three-legged stool. One leg is a strong democratic system with accountable government, with transparency. The other is an economy that produces opportunities, good jobs, rising income. But the third leg of that stool is civil society, where most of life takes place, where we practice our faiths, where we associate with one another, where we pursue our interests and our hopes and aspirations.
So for me, this is an opportunity for us to reaffirm our partnership and to turn the page on some of the past that, frankly, represent lost opportunities to strengthen the relationship between us. We could have done more to convey solidarity with the activists. We could have done more to urge the government to live up to its obligations. But the United States will not repeat that history. We are committed to helping you along the road towards sustainable, durable democracy.
And we know from our own experience that building such a strong and stable democracy is an ongoing process, and it is not always neat and tidy. It requires far more than free elections. It requires a strong ethic of activism. It requires what De Tocqueville – the famous French writer who traveled to my country when it was still a very young country – what he called the habits of the heart, so that no matter what goes wrong in the government, the habits of the heart are strong enough to pull it back on course.
All of you are stewards of Pakistan’s democracy. Each of you, in your own ways, can help ingrain democratic values into the culture of your community, whether on this campus or at home with your families or out in society. You can communicate the importance of having a voice in the public sphere of resolving differences peacefully, joining with other citizens to strengthen public institutions so all people have a chance to participate in their country’s progress.
You can help Pakistan transition from the promise of democracy to the practice of democracy. Many of you have found your education to be a powerful tool, as the vice chancellor was reminding us. The importance of having the courage to know cannot be overstated. It is an apt motto not only for this university, but for our lives today, because your education does help to develop an ability to consider other viewpoints and alternate approaches. That’s essential for participating in a diverse society. It’s also a passport to greater economic opportunity.
But broadening access to higher education is one of the unfinished tasks here in Pakistan. For too many young people, a university education is but a distant dream. So I am proud to announce that the United States will give $45 million to Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission to expand – (applause) – to expand both university and technical education for students in economically vulnerable areas such as southern Punjab or the North-West Frontier Province, as well as students displaced from their homes and communities by recent violence.
There is truly no limit to what this, your generation, can do to bring people together in civic engagement, especially with the new technologies that offer the possibility of communicating and collaborating like never before. I read a story in The New York Times earlier this year about a group of students here in Lahore who were tired of the accumulation of trash in their neighborhood. So they did what any social activists do today. They went on Facebook and invited their friends to come out and collect trash on that Sunday. Then they did it again on the next Sunday and then on another Sunday, and they convinced people who were walking by to join them. They asked shopkeepers to pitch in. They named their group Responsible Citizens. And today, their Facebook community has more than 1,600 members.
Some might say, well, what does picking up trash have to do with democracy? It empowers individuals to take action that needs to be done, no one else is doing it, and it is not left to someone else to do. It imbues the entire community with a sense of empowerment and opportunity. And I commend these students and hope that their numbers grow by leaps and bounds. Because today, it has never been easier for the young people of Pakistan to unite in common cause across class barriers and geographic divides to make your nation a better place and to inculcate those habits of the heart.
And to help you pool your talents, ideas, and energy, telecommunications companies from Pakistan and the United States have joined together to launch a new technology service called Hamiri Awaz, or Our Voice. This is a service you can use on your cell phone to distribute news stories, to invite people to an event, to share your thoughts and opinions, to report problems that you see, to call for actions to solve those problems. The United States is proud to support this kind of innovation by covering the cost of the first 24 million messages. And to find out how to use this new service, text the word help, h-e-l-p, or madad, m-a-d-a-d, to the number 7111. That’s help, h-e-l-p, or madad, m-a-d-a-d, to the number 7111.
Now, innovations like these remind us that even in the midst of unprecedented global challenges, we have unprecedented opportunities to meet those challenges if we work together. So it’s critical that we build and strengthen connections. We are all interconnected and interdependent, whether we like it or not, and we are confronted by people who seek to divide communities, dismantle democracies, provoke fear, and stifle progress. They represent defeat, isolation, and instability. So therefore, we have to respond with an even stronger commitment to build a brighter future together for the people of Pakistan, the United States, and the world.
This is a pivotal moment, but I am confident that we can and will succeed by building upon the talents and strengths of our people. The United States is grateful for the ties that already connect us, and we look forward to broadening and deepening those ties and this relationship. And we are proud to stand with you to work together to meet the challenges of this extraordinary time. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
Now I will, I guess, just call on people? Is that what we’re going to do? How does this work? Yes? Okay, good. So I will try to call – the first hand I saw was this young woman right back there.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, and there will be a microphone. You can either come out to the aisle and form a line, which might work, but – or we can give you the microphone.
QUESTION: Hello, ma’am. My name is (inaudible). I’m from Pakistan College of Law. I wanted to actually suggest American people and the government that the image we Pakistanis are seeing right now is of terrorists and people who are with violence and they create violence all over the country like you see in Iran. The attack that happened, they blame Pakistanis again. So we want American Government to help us build our new image, a good image of good people – not terrorists, but good people in Pakistan. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: And that, of course, is one of the reasons why I’m here today, because I do not want anyone anywhere in the world, particularly in my own country, to have any misunderstanding about the people of Pakistan and the extraordinary abilities, talents, and positive contributions of the people of Pakistan.
The terrorists are a small but deadly group who must be defeated, because otherwise, they put so much of what has been worked for for so many years at risk. But I have no doubt that given the courageous efforts of the Pakistan military and the commitment of the democratically elected government that you will be successful against the scourge of terrorism. But I don’t want the terrorism to overshadow the story of everything else going on in Pakistan.
And so part of the reason why I am here, why I have made this trip, why I’m not just meeting with government officials even though I enjoy my time with the foreign minister or the prime minister or the president and other officials at the local and national level – but I want to have people-to-people diplomacy, because ultimately, that is what creates the bonds, and it helps to tell the story, the larger story of Pakistan.
So, thank you for that and we will work very, very hard together to try to make sure that is the story that gets out. (Applause.)
Okay. So now, I have to go over to this side. Let’s see, there’s a gentleman in a pink or purple shirt who caught my eye.
SECRETARY CLINTON: One thing we might do that could make it move more quickly is if people would go to the center aisle who wish to ask me a question, then we could just tap the microphone.
Right now, we’ll just go in order of how people line up, and I want to have some gender equality here, so – okay, so stop right there and we’ll bring the microphone down. The gentleman with the pink, why don’t you come around. You can have the first question. Why don’t you, sir, come around.
Looks like I’ll have to be here for a week. (Laughter.) All right? All right, sir. Please come right here.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I am member of National Assembly of Youth Parliament. Under the —
SECRETARY CLINTON: Could you move the microphone a little bit closer, sir?
QUESTION: I am a member of Youth Parliament under the leadership of (inaudible). I wanted to say that why American Government always support Indians as compared with Pakistan, although Pakistan always standing with Americans in every (inaudible). (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am sorry. I could not make out – could you repeat the question? I couldn’t hear it.
MODERATOR: Yeah. The gentleman said that I want to ask the – why American Government always supports Indians, Indians – India as a country as compared to Pakistan. That’s his perception.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for asking that so that I can say that is not true. And let me explain that for many years, going back to the founding of Pakistan, which was founded in the year I was born, which tells you how old I am, the United States has been very closely allied with Pakistan, has worked with the people and governments of Pakistan. There have been periods of time when we were very closely connected. Pakistan helped to open the United States to China during the 1980s when the Soviet Union was in Afghanistan. Our two countries worked closely together.
Now there have been some problems in our relationship, and there have been some problems and ups and downs in your government. So it’s been challenging at times, but we have had a consistent relationship with Pakistan. My husband spoke to the people of Pakistan when he was president in 2000 and expressed very well our relationship and our connection. But we have relationships with all countries, and we have a relationship, obviously, with your neighbor, India.
And what we hope is that at some point in the future, which I would like to see in the not-too-distant future, Pakistan and India can resolve their outstanding differences. And why do I say that? Because I believe that trade between Pakistan and India could rival trade anywhere. I believe that if there were peace between Pakistan and India and the outstanding issues were resolved, Pakistan would take off like a rocket in terms of economic development.
Now, that is just my perception, but I have studied economies around the world, and Pakistan has such an opportunity to be a powerhouse. You are so strategically located. Just look at where you are geographic and that you have access to the sea, and if you had trade opening up to the north, to the east, to the west, it would make a huge economic difference to your country. And one of the major obstacles standing in the way is the distrust and history between India and Pakistan which blocked the kind of opportunities for investment that I think could make a huge difference.
So we are friends with both Pakistan and India. We work with both. We have given far more aid over many, many years to try to help Pakistan’s development. It’s up there with – among the top countries that we have tried to support. We have had numerous meetings with your democratically elected government in the last nine months. So we are working hard to make sure that we have good relations with both countries, and we encourage both countries to address these problems that only you and India can resolve.
MODERATOR: And now we have some questions. We are – email also, one question from Peshawar. The question from Peshawar comes from somebody called (inaudible) about (inaudible). He says: Having spent the last two days in the heart of Pakistan and learning about the apprehensions of Pakistani people about the Kerry-Lugar bill, how would you address this issue for any future bill? And what advice do you take back for the President of the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me – (applause) – let me say as clearly as I can, because some of you may have seen me having a wonderful interview with seven of your most effective journalists yesterday, and we covered that in great detail. So let me just make three points.
Let me – let’s talk about the purpose of the bill. The purpose of the bill is to help Pakistan. That was our intention, that was our motivation to help your democracy, your economy, your people to really represent the friendship and partnership between our two countries. And let’s talk about what the bill does. The bill is a major long-term commitment to improve the lives and the livelihoods of the Pakistani people through strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, economic opportunity, human security. It triples the funding from just the last year to account for $7.5 billion to be spent on schools, roads, medical clinics, electricity, like the announcement I made yesterday.
The bill does not impinge on Pakistani sovereignty. It does not compromise Pakistan’s national security interests. It does not micromanage any aspect of Pakistan’s military or civilian operations. But clearly, we did not do a very good job communicating what our intentions were and what we thought the bill was actually doing. And as I said yesterday, and I will repeat today, that has been an important lesson for us, to make sure that we reach out to your media and to leaders in Pakistan so that you know what we are trying to achieve, and that we work together closely. Because obviously, our United States Congress saw this as a major commitment to Pakistan beyond anything we have ever done before. And we wanted to be helpful, and we still think we can be, but we’ll make sure that we work closely together to avoid any future misunderstanding.
As to the second question about what to advise the President, the President and I both share a great admiration and affection for Pakistan. We both had friends in college who were Pakistanis. We both have a lot of Pakistani American friends. And I think that the President is committed to this relationship and wants to do what he can to make sure that we put it on a very strong, solid foundation.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I am representing Youth Parliament of Pakistan. (Inaudible) is quite appreciative that – giving aid to Pakistani people from the people of the United States. But there have been recent incidents reported in media, there are some incidents of reckless driving, drunk driving that is creating bad image of American people. And on the other hand, the USA’s Clean Drinking Water Project and the districts (inaudible) project that I know are creating will – goodwill of the people of the United States and the people of Pakistan.
So it’s – what would you do to appreciate the good managers and to restrict the bad managers who are implementing the job? That’s my question.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re all human beings and we all have people in both of our societies that don’t always conduct themselves in an appropriate matter. That’s part of life. But we have to continue to not lose our focus, that individuals don’t represent nations, and we need to keep building a solid and positive relationship and improve the way that we work with one another, that we perceive one another. That will be something that I take very seriously, and I look to all of you to help us come up with new ideas about how to achieve a much clearer and more accurate depiction of each of our countries in the other country.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible) and I would like to ask the Americans – okay. First of all, you mentioned in your speech that the Americans would like to become true partners with the Pakistani. And my question is that what can the Americans give Pakistan that we can now trust you (inaudible) the Americans this time of your sincerity and that (inaudible) are not going to be between us like the Americans did in the past when they wanted to destabilize the Russians and (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that – (applause) – I think that it’s a fair criticism that after we worked together to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, there was such a sense of success and relief on the part of the government, our government then, that we did not follow through the way that we should have, and I have said that publicly. I’ve testified about that to our Congress. And it’s what we’re trying to avoid.
And it is difficult to go forward if we’re always looking in the rearview mirror. My hope is that we can appreciate that there have been problems on both sides that we have to recognize honestly and not deny, but that we have to recommit ourselves, because I think that we have a lot more in common than what divides us. So that’s what I’m hoping. And certainly with the return of democracy, something that makes a very big difference to Pakistan’s future and to our ability to relate to and work with you on matters that go beyond security, I think we have a great opportunity, and I just don’t want to see us lose that.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is (inaudible). I actually have a question for you and Ms. Patterson. USAID did betray us, and this is a fact. Even back when you were just an intern in Ford Administration back in the ‘70s, and later on when you became First Lady, even in the ‘80s, they did that. My main question is: What is the difference that we will see between Obama Administration and Bush Administration towards Pakistan? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there is such a huge difference. I obviously was not a supporter of our former president and did not agree with his policies. (Applause.) And I spent my entire eight years in the Senate opposing him. So to me, it’s like daylight and dark. It could not be a more stark difference.
But there are certainly questions that you and others have raised. And we have to decide whether we want to try to move beyond the past in your country, as well as the past in our country, because I just met with a lot of the lawyers and the activists who campaigned very strongly against your former president, and I bet there are people in this hall who did not support him either. So I think we are now at a point where we can chart a different course. And part of what we want is to support your new returned democracy.
I was deeply, deeply saddened by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. She is someone whom I had known, whom I considered a friend, whom I admired for her bravery and her commitment. And it was just a terrible loss when she was killed. But I am very proud that Pakistan went on to reassert your democracy. And that has to be nurtured.
Now, I just finished saying I did not agree with the former president. But I supported our democracy. And what we have to do in a democracy is, once the winners and the losers are decided, is to close ranks and support democratic institutions, continue to disagree respectfully, and use the political process to do that.
The most common question that I was asked right after I became Secretary of State, and I traveled to Indonesia and South Korea and Africa and many other places – the most common question I was asked is how could I, who campaigned so hard against Barack Obama for two years, tried very hard to win the nomination of my party, was not successful – how could I then turn around and campaign for him and take a job and work so closely with him? And it’s because in a democracy, you have to put your country first. And we both love our country, and we both decided that what we had in common was far greater than what divided us. That’s how I feel about the United States and Pakistan. (Applause.)
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is (inaudible) and I’m a student at Pakistan College of Law. My question is we have a lot of respect for what the Americans believe in, and they’re doing great things for Pakistan right now. But there’s a fundamental difference between the way your democracy works and the way ours is encouraged to function. And while you keep stressing on the return to democracy for Pakistan, my question is: Does the U.S. Government support summoning former President Pervez Musharraf to a competent court within Pakistan for being tried for treason because he was obstructing democracy? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I have to say that this is the kind of decision which can only be taken within your own country. And if a Pakistani leader were in my country and somebody were to ask a question like that, I think the proper answer would be that is up to the people of America, like this is up to the people of Pakistan.
But what’s important to me, without commenting at all on any specific case or any individual, is that there must be respect for the rule of law, there must be an independent judiciary that does not abuse its power but which stays within and supports the rule of law, the democratically elected government must abide by the rule of law. I mean, to go back to the prior example I was given, I was very unhappy when our Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2000 that enabled President Bush to become president. I was not happy about that. But I respect the Supreme Court and I respect the rule of law. And we went on.
That’s what you have to get ingrained. Every political difference needs to be worked out within the institutions that exist. And it can be frustrating because passions run high. I have very strong feelings about the right direction for my country, and I’m delighted to be working in an Administration with which I have so much agreement about what we need to be doing. But if I were to disagree or if you are to disagree, it has to be worked out in the rule of law. And that certainly includes any kind of legal action against anyone. The court cannot be used for an abuse of power.
One of things that we’re seeing in many countries right now is they say they believe in democracy and they believe in elections, but they believe in elections once and then they want to stay in forever. That is not the way a democracy is supposed to work. I mean, by definition in a democracy, you have winners and losers. I have won and I have lost. And that’s the way a democracy works. So I think that is up to people of the Pakistan to decide. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, the next question is via email. Please, this is a question from Karachi. And it says: Good afternoon, Madame Secretary. My name is Roshinda (ph) from Karachi, and I’m a student at Mohammad Ali Jinnah University. My question is: What kind of accountability is needed to ensure the success of democracy?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think several things are needed. We’ve talked about a few of them: an independent judiciary; a free press that is exercising its freedom of expression but doing so in a way that is accurate, or at least as accurate as possible; a commitment by elected officials to play by the rules, the rule of law being paramount; a respect for minority rights; a tolerance for diversity and pluralism.
When I was in the mosque this morning, the imam was telling me that in that mosque they have been working on interfaith dialogue, which I greatly appreciate, particularly in these times, to bring people together in a respectful fashion to discuss their religious faith and beliefs, but not to in any way threaten the other. And the imam and the archeologist who was guiding us said, “You see that building over there? That is a very sacred shrine for Sikhs and it is right next to a mosque.” So that’s the way it was for hundreds of years. So there are many aspects to democracy that have to be developed and accepted, even when you disagree.
Sometimes people do things in my country or they say things which I disagree with completely, but I respect their right to say it. And there are people who have attitudes, they have beliefs, that I find absolutely unacceptable. But as long as they’re not harming someone else, then we say they have a right to have those beliefs.
So I think democracy is much, much more than elections, and it really needs to start in the attitudes that you learn in school and the attitudes that you see practiced every day. And I hope that we can do more to lift up all the different aspects of democracy so that people know elections are important, but that’s not the end of democracy. That, in fact, is just the beginning.
And you have to have built-in accountability for those who are elected. There has to be much more transparency. There has to be a committed effort against corruption which robs people in society from getting the services and the assistance that they deserve to have. There have to be checks and balances among different parts of a government and separation of powers, so that no one person or no one institution can have absolute power in your society. And I think Pakistan is on the way to realizing a much stronger and more durable democracy.
QUESTION: Hello, ma’am. I am (inaudible) and I represent Seeds of Peace. I am a medical student at King Edward Medical University. First of all, I’d like Madame to know what an inspiration she is for all the aspiring young women all around the world for being who she is. Madame, thank you so much for coming here today. (Applause.)
Talking about the speech that you just gave and in the beginning you talked about the misunderstandings and lack of communication between the two (inaudible) partners, Pakistan and America. Well, we also see that every time an American leader comes, he always emphasizes the fact that there should be exchange of information, intelligence, all along. But at the same time, the drone attacks are being carried out in our country in our people. They are causing so much collateral damage at the same time. We, at one point, asked the United States of America to share the intelligence with us and carry it out. And at the same time, the drone attacks are still going on in Waziristan. What does Madame or America in general plan to do about that, because it’s creating a lot of frustration among our people? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will not talk about that specifically. But generally, let me say that there’s a war going on. And thankfully, there is a very professional and successful military effort that has been undertaken by the Pakistani military. And I’m hoping that the support that the United States provides and the courage of the Pakistani military will bring much of this to a conclusion. Now, there will, unfortunately, always be those who seek to inflict terror, but eventually they can be eliminated and they can be deterred if society just abruptly turns against them. So I think that the war that your government and your military is waging right now is a very important one for the future of Pakistan, and we are going to continue to assist the government and the military to be successful in that war.
QUESTION: Hello. (Inaudible) University of Punjab. My question is about war on terror. As you have mentioned in your speech that there is a misunderstanding or lack of communication among the United (inaudible) and Pakistan, I don’t think there is any misunderstanding or lack of communication. I think there is a concerted effort (inaudible) confidence, and that has a history, long history behind it. My question is: Would it not be better to replace the present U.S. and national forces in Afghanistan by UN or peacekeeping forces from the liberal democratic Islamic (inaudible) so that would give some sort of credibility to this war which is going on, so that Muslims also believe that they are participating in this and they also believe that what is going to happen on the name of war of terror? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you know, there are Muslim forces in Afghanistan right now. Countries like Turkey or the United Arab Emirates, others are participating and contributing forces. Because I think they believe, as you seem to suggest, that this needs to be an international effort. So the international security forces already stationed in Afghanistan are very diverse. As I said, they include forces from predominantly Muslim nations. So I think we already have a very broad cross-section of countries that understand that defeating the threat of extremism and terrorism is in everyone’s interest.
It is particularly in the interest of Muslim countries because these extremist groups seem to target Muslim countries, whether it’s Indonesia or it is Pakistan or Afghanistan. There have been incidents in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and so many others that are really the targets of these people. And so I think that that’s why you already have Muslim nations. And of course, Pakistan itself is one of the principal contributors to peacekeeping forces around the world. Pakistani soldiers are in many other countries, and they go to countries that are not Islamic countries, but they are welcomed because they are very professional.
So I think it is important not to limit the struggle against terrorism to any one group, any one group of countries or certainly any faith, because this is a universal, common threat. So I’m very proud that we have so many different countries participating and that Pakistan is helping to keep the peace, often very far from home.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, ma’am. My name is Rabab (ph) and I’m representing (inaudible) Punjab (inaudible). Ma’am, the challenges faces – faced by the United States, they are very similar to the ones that are faced by Pakistan. We face a threat (inaudible) just as you do in many parts of the world. (Inaudible) today is (inaudible) to reduce that threat (inaudible) to an extent. Now, what are the people of Pakistan, the youth of Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan, and you know, just the public in general supposed to do to reduce the trust deficit that has been created if a student from Pakistan goes to the U.S., that student is looked as – looked at as a terrorist rather than just a normal student? How is this trust deficit to be reduced? Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s really at the heart of what we’re talking about today, because I think you have accurately described it. And it goes both ways. I’m well aware that there is a trust deficit among many Pakistanis toward my country, and you are well aware that in my country there is a trust deficit toward many Pakistanis. And I guess my message is that that’s not the way it should be, that we have so many opportunities to work together.
Now, do we have people in both of our countries who say and do things that create this impression? Yes, of course, we do. I mean, that’s a mutual responsibility that we each have to accept. But we have an old expression: You can’t let the tail wag the dog. I mean, we cannot let a minority of people in either of our countries determine the course of our relationship. It is certainly President Obama’s and my commitment to try to close that deficit, to try to create much more awareness and understanding between us.
But there will always be people on both of our sides who do things that we do not approve of or we do not like or we regret. But we can’t let that make the decisions. The United States has relationships with countries everywhere, and in some of those countries our relationship goes up and down, and sometimes it’s over very small matters that get blown out of all proportion, and we then have to repair those relationships. So this is something that happens among human beings. None of us is perfect. None of us has the ability to just convey perfection. That is not who we are as human beings.
But what we can do is be honest with other, listen to each other, try to clarify misunderstandings instead of letting them become embedded in people’s minds. There are many stories about Pakistanis and there are many stories about Americans in each of our countries that are just not true. So part of what we have to do is clear that away.
Now, will we always agree? No, we will not. But then, I don’t know about you, but we don’t always agree in my family and we don’t always agree among my friends. So why would we be expected to agree on everything? That is never going to happen. But let’s narrow the area of disagreement between us and work on that which we agree upon together that can be mutually beneficial and have our relationship built on mutual respect, and then build toward mutual trust. That is what I’m hoping we can do together. (Applause.)
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I’m from (inaudible). I want to ask that America is standing with Pakistan in the war against terrorism, but Pakistan is being destroyed or you can say that the shortfall of energy and some other problem like education and unawareness. So what America is doing in this regard to Pakistan or America is promoting something now (inaudible) to cover the shortfall of energy, plus education and awareness in this society?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your question. I think it’s my hearing.
QUESTION: I want to ask that America is standing with Pakistan in the war against terrorism, but Pakistan has a problem of a shortfall of energy, lack of education, and lack of awareness. So America is doing anything in (inaudible) or in future to (inaudible) Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that our relationship is much broader than the war on terrorism. That’s what we are attempting to really convey and work on together. Yesterday, I was privileged to make announcements about commitments that the United States is making to improve the energy sector in Pakistan to try to help make electricity more reliable so that you would be able to count on the supply of electricity. And in areas like that – in health and education – we do want to be partners. In fact, we regret that over the last eight years our relationship has been defined primarily by security and the war on terrorism. We don’t think that accurately reflects the quality and the content of our relationship. So I think it’s important for all of us to look for ways that we can cooperate and make a difference for the people of our countries.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I’m from GC University Lahore. Being a student of history and interstate politics, it is my perception that there are analogous moments and common inflection points between the Vietnam war and the current U.S.-led Afghanistan campaign, and it seems that Afghanistan is a sequel to the Vietnam quagmire. So don’t you believe that it is the time that is better to win the battle of hearts and minds than to win a battle to occupy a barren land for no specific reason? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you know, President Obama is conducting a very thorough review of our policy in Afghanistan and has consulted with leaders in Pakistan about the best way forward. I think that the President understands very well the difficulties that exist across your border and is looking for ways so that whatever he decides can be more effectively implemented. And it will, I know, be coordinated with the Pakistani authorities because, obviously, the shared border responsibility between Pakistan and Afghanistan on the Afghanistan side, it is not at all what it needs to be and Pakistan carries a lot of the responsibility there.
But I think that the goal is to try to help train a professional, effective Afghan security force so that the people of Afghanistan will be able to defend themselves. And that certainly is our hope and what we’re working toward.
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is (inaudible). I am from (inaudible). My question is that the war in terrorism – there’s not been much progress after the Obama Administration, you know, came in, because the Gitmo is still there and your troops are still in Iraq, and, you know, you’re sending 48,000 more troops in Afghanistan. So it’s very hard to believe that the U.S. policy in regards to Pakistan – the war on terrorism – is going to be changed. But don’t you think that hampers the democracy, because now the U.S. is forcing Pakistan to take actions which, on the other hand, we might not be willing to take? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, really, the United States supports the decisions that are made by Pakistan, and I think it was the Pakistan Government, the democratically elected government, and the Pakistan military who decided that it was intolerable for terrorist organizations to be seizing large chunks of territory of your country. I mean, that’s a decision for Pakistan to make. Because certainly, when President Obama became president shortly after that – he hadn’t been in office very long – it became clear that the terrorists were moving out of Swat into Buner and people were alarmed in Pakistan.
And I don’t know any country that can stand by and look at a force of terrorists intimidating people and taking over large parts of your territory, particularly when that force is often guided by, directed by, and funded by outside foreign influence. But that’s up to Pakistan. I mean, if you want to see your territory shrink, that’s your choice. But I don’t think that’s the right choice. In fact, I think that’s a very self-destructive choice. So when the government and the military of Pakistan said, look, we’ve tried to get along with these people, we have signed agreements with them, we have said that we would tolerate a certain level of autonomy, but they didn’t stop. They kept coming. The bombs kept coming. The killings kept coming. The intimidation kept going.
How can you be the head of a country or a country’s military and allow that to happen? That would be as though on our Canadian border there were terrorists who were coming across the border and we let them have Washington and then we let them have Montana and then we said, well, you know, not very many people live in the Dakotas, they’re not near Chicago or New York. You can’t do that.
So I can tell you how we would respond, exactly the same way as your government responded. And we admire that. Because this is a fight that has to be won. And you know here in Lahore you are not immune. No institution is immune, not the military, not the intelligence service, not universities, not even cricket teams. So how do you let that go on and not respond?
My late father used to have a saying which, when I was a little girl, I never understood. He said, “You know, if you let the nose of the camel in the tent, pretty soon you’re living with two humps.” Well, that’s what was going on. Slowly but insidiously, you were losing territory. And your government – the writ of government was being undermined. No government, no country, especially a country like Pakistan – born with the idea of independent and autonomy and self-determination – can allow foreign influences that ally themselves with those who would undermine the Pakistani way of life to be given any space. So I think that your government and your military are doing exactly the right thing for your country. (Applause.)
Thank you all very much. Apparently, our time is up. Thank you. (Applause.)
Posted in Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, Uncategorized, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S. Department of State on October 30, 2009| 1 Comment »
I still have not found videos of the Town Hall in Lahore, but this did come through from the State Department. Hillary has won over the leaders, particularly her counterpart, FM Qureshi. They seem to have a terrific relationship. But her real mission in Pakistan is to win over the people. In my opinion, there is no one in our government with more talent and skill to accomplish exactly that than Hillary Clinton. She is our Valentine to the world. Yet the indications are that this item on the agenda might not be going as we had hoped. I know Hillary is giving it her all. Her charm works on me like, well, a charm! Seems that might not be the case with the Pakistanis. To be continued….
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Roundtable with Business Leaders Opening and Closing Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Lahore, , Pakistan
October 29, 2009
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Governor, and thanks to you and Mrs. Taseer for welcoming us here to this beautiful home. And I appreciate meeting your family, and please tell your daughter, who is attending college in America, hello from us. I am also pleased to be here with the foreign minister. He and I have worked very closely together over the last months, and I appreciate his strong leadership on a number of issues, including economic and business and investment matters. I also wanted to introduce our ambassador to Pakistan, Ambassador Patterson, and our Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Holbrooke.
I want to thank you for gathering late on this afternoon to meet with me, because, as the governor was saying, there are many positive signs for Pakistan despite what the headlines tell us every day about the ongoing struggle that your country is waging against the extremists and the terrorists. But as I look at a broader, more comprehensive picture, I see the confidence that the IMF has in Pakistan this year and the ability of your government to meet the conditions that were imposed. The governor has already referenced the investments, the stock market. Those are all very positive signs.
But of course, there is a lot to be done, because the growth rate that you were experiencing up until this year of about 7 percent has been dramatically cut, as we have seen happen in so many other countries because of the global recession. So I am hoping that in our conversation today I can share with you a few ideas, and then I mostly want to listen to hear what is on your mind and what you believe to be profitably done through a partnership between our two countries.
The United States is committed to help. We are proud to be Pakistan’s largest trading partner and the largest foreign investor. We have seen the opportunities for investment and growth, and of course, the Pakistani diaspora that has found a home in the United States is particularly keen on making sure that we look for ways to further economic prosperity here.
I know these are challenging times, and it is challenging not only for your soldiers on the front lines in South Waziristan, but it’s challenging for every Pakistani. Certainly, for the business community, it is difficult to flourish in an unstable environment, to field the phone calls from around the world from people who see the headlines and wonder if you and your family are okay, even though what happened is many miles and hours away.
Yesterday, as we all know, and mourn the loss of life, there was another horrific attack. And yet I see what you do around this table as instrumental in the fight against violent extremists. You are the people who create jobs, create the businesses, make the investments, that will give people in Pakistan a very positive vision of their future and will give livelihoods to many, many of your fellow citizens.
The United States wants to help create more jobs in Pakistan. We see this happening in two ways: one, a direct way through programs such as what we are advocating for the creation of reconstruction opportunity zones which will open market access to the United States. We are working to accelerate this approach because it’s essential that we provide more assistance in trade and investment and help to improve the environment for you to do more business.
We also know, though, that in addition to direct programs like that, encouraging your government to do more in the way of trade agreements, looking for opportunities to open up the Pakistan economy to greater trade access, from not just the United States but from this region and beyond, but there are issues that affect how much business you can do, what kind of capacity you have.
That is why yesterday, in recognition of the impact that rolling blackouts have on economic growth as well as just the nuisance factor that people suffer through, I announced the first phase of a signature energy program. We will, through United States aid, work with your government to help repair facilities, repair dams, improve local energy providers and efficiency, help to refurbish more than 10,000 tube wells so that agriculture has a much more certain system for irrigation.
We know that at the base of any economy are the talents of the people, and there is no doubt that the Pakistani people are incredibly talented. But it is also beyond argument that there needs to be greater emphasis on education and health, on women’s empowerment, in order to realize the full potential of the challenge that exists. I often say that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And we have to change the opportunity structure and create opportunity ladders.
Last night, I was in Islamabad for the second drawing of the Benazir Income Support Program, and I was privileged to hand out certificates to some of the women who came from very rural areas to accept their certificates, which carried with them the promise of investments, investments in them and in their families, giving them the tools that they then can use to try to improve their lives.
Really, when you look at what it takes for a society in the 21st century to flourish, I believe that it really rests on three pillars. Sometimes I liken it to a three-legged stool. One is a democracy, democratic form of government with accountability, transparency, a commitment to produce results for people, because if democracy doesn’t produce results for people, there’s a built-up frustration that can often cause instability. Second, a market economy where people are given the opportunity to flourish and to create their own wealth and spread it around because of the jobs and the other benefits that flow from it. That strong economy goes hand-in-hand with a strong democratic government. And then the third is civil society, the kind of support for society that you get from faith communities, that you get from private associations, that are really what makes life worth living besides being a citizen and being a consumer and a producer in the economy, really fulfilling oneself.
And certainly, when one looks at the results of the decisions that have been made by the kind of people that the governor referenced who have left Pakistan and have moved to the United States or to Europe or to elsewhere in the world, and when I look around this table and look at the names here and realize how much success there is and how many risk-takers there are and how many people have really prospered through good times and bad because of your own hard work and your entrepreneurial skills, I have no doubt that we can expand that and create many more entrepreneurs and successful business people of all size businesses in Pakistan. The United States is ready, willing, and able to help in whatever way is appropriate. But for us, Governor, we want to make a long-term investment in Pakistan. We think it will pay off. And we certainly believe that it is to the best interest of both the people of Pakistan and of the United States to have that kind of partnership.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
* * *
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you very much, Governor, and I very, very greatly appreciate your facilitating this, and I heartily endorse your last comment about an action plan, because clearly, it would be very helpful to have some kind of document come out of this meeting that would summarize the points that were made and look to see how they could be realized.
Let me just respond both generally and specifically. On the general point, I think it has been challenging for many businesses, as some of you alluded to, to grow and prosper under difficult circumstances, whether it was the era of nationalization or the era of terrorism. You have faced a lot of challenges. And many of you have seen those challenges through and prospered despite them. But I think we have to start from the premise that anything that can be done to improve the business climate has to be done.
And of course, the points that were made are important. Market access has to be greater. We will certainly work on that from our perspective. The reconstruction opportunity zone is just one approach. You also mentioned free trade agreements and other kinds of possible market opening actions. But there are also steps that could be taken, again, alluded to by several of you.
The government is working on a transit trade agreement with Afghanistan. What is the point of that? To open up Central Asia to Pakistan, to create a transit route from Central Asia to Pakistan (inaudible). I mean, anyone who looks at a map of Pakistan sees how strategically located it is between India and China and Iran and, of course, to the north. This is one of the issues that the government’s been working on. It’s been somewhat delayed because of the inconclusiveness of the Afghan elections. But we’re going to work very hard to get this done by the end of the year, and the business community could help. So let the government know it’s a priority.
Second, trade with India; one of you mentioned trade with India. I know that this is part of a much larger complex of issues. But I have no doubt that opening up trade between Pakistan and India would be a great boon for Pakistani businesses. And if you look at how small the trade is now, the potential is almost unlimited. But, of course, that is a decision that only the people and governments of Pakistan and India can take for themselves.
Unemployment is rooted in lack of opportunity and lack of skills. There’s no doubt about the work ethic, but there is a lot of concern about the education and training of the work force. And that can only be addressed through a system of better education, of training, programs both run by the private sector as well as those in the public sector. And it would certainly be helpful and we would be more than glad to work with you on this if you could see what shortcuts where you’re trying to change educational levels over a generation – what could be done in the shorter term to help prepare people for the jobs that are here today as well as the jobs of the future.
I think it’s very important, as one of you noted, to look for ways to add value to products. And just in my brief review of the economic prospects for doing that, agriculture stands out. To add value to the agricultural product of Pakistan could revolutionize the income of rural people, create a significant additional opportunity for growth in the GDP. There are some good models around to do that. You mentioned the dairy-cotton-wheat, the needles problems, the waste problems, the water irrigation problems. That’s another area that we would be very willing to work with you on because we know that it is income stream for 65 percent of the population. And we know that there are some fixes that could be made. I know that the government is looking at trying to encourage research into heartier feed stock so that the drought and the other conditions would not be as damaging.
But there also has to be some attention paid to storage facilities, the refrigeration facilities who (inaudible) the market roads, the kind of infrastructure that would add the value and increase the productivity. And it could be done in the space of two years. This has a – this is not like building a field plan or some other big capital investment. This requires a sense of organization with many moving parts, but the payoff is much quicker.
And you may have heard that President Obama asked me to head up our government’s food security program, and in our review, what we concluded is that in the 1960s and ‘70s, most of the food aid that not only our government, but other governments and private organizations like the Rockefeller Foundation invested went into agriculture, increasing agricultural productivity. Somewhere in the 1980s or so, we began to shift out of supporting agriculture to supporting emergency feeding programs and aid. It’s backwards, and we need to get back to really investing in agriculture. And I don’t know all the reasons why everybody moved away from that, but we’ve got to get back to it because it is so fundamental. And we’ve done a lot of work and we’d be happy to share that both with the government and with any of you who are interested; definitely one of our follow-up actions.
There is no doubt that energy is at the heart of many of the economic problems that Pakistan faces – the unreliability, the erratic cross-structure, the failure to capture the full load that is produced. It’s just a lot of problems. And one of the things that Ambassador Holbrooke’s team has done is to do an in-depth study of what are the most difficult issues, but what could be addressed in a very systematic way.
So as I said earlier, we made our announcement yesterday. But I appreciate the kind of chicken-and-egg issue that you were talking about – the more access, the more economic development, the greater the energy challenges. And I think that there is no prohibition that I know of internationally, and I asked Minister Qureshi whether there had been any prohibition nationally under developing your coal deposits. Now, obviously, that is not the best thing for the climate, but everybody knows that. But many of your neighbors are producing coal faster than they can even talk about it. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a fact that coal is going to remain a part of the energy load until we can transition to cleaner forms of energy.
So getting the resources to exploit your coal as opposed to being dependent upon imported energy is a choice for you to make, but it is certainly a choice that your neighbors have made. And that’s something that should attract foreign investment and should attract capital investment within your own country. And we don’t know how we’re going to proceed on the climate change issue. We’re working hard to come to some framework before Copenhagen, but coal will be, for the foreseeable future, part of the energy mix. And if you have these kinds of reserves, you should see the best and cleanest technology for their extraction and their use going forward.
I appreciate too the idea of a sustainable, long-term partnership, and to highlight the opportunities that exist and to use the tools that are already at our disposal, tools like OPIC or the Export-Import Bank or making sure that travel visas get issued. These are all the kind of nuts-and-bolts issues that we can address and try to resolve together.
But I think too that it is only fair to take a hard look internally about what Pakistan needs to do. And at the risk of maybe sounding undiplomatic, Pakistan has to have more internal investment in your public services and in your business opportunities. By any fair measure, for example, the percentage of taxes of GDP is among the lowest in the world. The United States, we tax ourselves, depending upon who is in power, somewhere between 16 and 23 percent of GDP, and right now, it usually hovers around the 20 percent. You’re less than half of that.
And so at some point, when you ask for partnership, you have to ask what the equity state is that Pakistan itself is looking to make, because it is difficult to go to our taxpayers and say we consider Pakistan a strategic partner, we consider it a long-term friend and ally, we have supported it since its inception in 1947, we want to continue to do so, and have our taxpayers and our members of Congress say, well, we want to help those who help themselves, and we tax everything that moves and doesn’t move, and that’s not what we see happening in Pakistan.
And I can say that because I think there has to be, in any partnership, but more importantly in any plan for your own economic future, a hard look at where you’re going to get the resources to meet these needs. You do have somewhere between 170 and 180 million people. Your population is projected to be about 300 million as the current birth rates, which are among the highest in the world, continue – 2.6 birth rate. I don’t know what you’re going to do with that kind of challenge unless you start planning right now.
And despite the fact that you have all of these wonderful assets that we have been talking about, Pakistan ranks at about 142nd on the Human Development Index. So as we sit here in this absolutely magnificent building, as we talk to people who are educated and worldly and successful, it doesn’t reflect what I saw last night when I handed out those certificates to the very poor women who had come to collect them.
So I think that it is important for us to do our part, and I am here to make that commitment. But that partnership and that trust deficit that was referred to can only be dealt with by an open and candid conversation. We have been friends and allies. We’ve gone through good times and bad times. As somebody said to me earlier in one of my meetings, it’s like a marriage; sometimes we just get really put out with each other. And I said yes, but we don’t want a divorce. What we want is to keep working to the benefit of our countries and our people, and, from my perspective, to really see the time when Pakistan realizes its destiny. I mean, strategically, geographically, in every sense, it’s all there. But it has to be put together by the people of Pakistan.
We are willing to help, and President Obama and I have a very personal commitment to this relationship that we will carry through on. And I look forward to this kind of conversation and then the follow-up call to action and work – the hard work – that’s translating the hopes into the reality that’s on the ground that will realize the kind of economic prosperity that the people of Pakistan deserve.
Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
Posted in Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, tagged Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pakistan, Secretary of State, State Department, U.S. Department of State on October 29, 2009| Leave a Comment »
The gallery below shows Secretary Clinton visiting the historical Badshahi Masjid in Lahore with her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi. While in Lahore, she also met with former Prime minister Nawaz Sharif and held at least one town hall meeting at a university. One photo shows the kind of reception she received from some students and young people.
I keep hearing that she fielded some tough questions at the town hall, but no transcripts have come through. Meanwhile, you’ll just have to be satisfied with the pretty pictures (and she does look very pretty – like a madonna).
(I have to work very late tonight. If I get anything further from Lahore, I will post it later.)