Archive for October, 2009

These pictures come in a random order and depict her arrival in Rawalpindi where she was greeted by Pakistani chief protocol officer Ghalib Iqbal, U.S. Ambassador Patricia Anne Patterson, and young women bearing flowers.

Her first day consisted of high level meetings with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

As you know, the visit began tragically with a massive explosion at a Peshawar marketplace that killed upwards of 90 people and was timed to coincide with the Secretary’s arrival.

In typical Hillary diplomatic fashion, she spends her first official day dressed to provide a hat-tip to the Pakistani flag, and we love seeing this green jacket back again. It’s one of my very favorites. (Shallow comment for the day over. So shoot me! She looks splendid in it.)

Group Interview with Dunya TV, AAJ TV, Express TV, Geo TV, Dawn News, and PTV


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Islamabad, Pakistan
October 28, 2009


Nasim Zehra, Dunya TV
Talat Husain, AAJ TV
Mubashir Luqman, Express TV
Hamid Mir, Geo TV
Naveen Naqvi, Dawn News
Moeed Pirzada, Dunya TV
Anwar ul-Hassan, PTV


MR. PIRZADA: Today, this is an entrusting, an entrusting new chapter and entrusting new opening in U.S.-Pakistan relationship. And in evidence of the emphasis the new Obama Administration places on people-to-people contact, that I’m joined here by United States Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Clinton for an open and direct dialogue with the select opinion-makers of Pakistani media.

In this country, we do not know Secretary Clinton only as the United States Secretary of State. We also know her as a formidable politician, an astute politician, a very powerful ex-presidential candidate, a former First Lady. But I would also like to remind you that Secretary Clinton, even before she came into the political limelight, she was counted among the top hundred most influential lawyers that helped change the social and legal agenda within the United States.

Secretary Clinton is no stranger to Pakistan. She has been visiting this country since early ‘90s as the First Lady, and this is her fifth trip. Secretary Clinton, on behalf of my channel and all participating television channels and on behalf of the people of Pakistan, I extend to you a warm welcome into this discussion.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, and I feel warmly welcomed. It is a great personal pleasure for me to be back in Pakistan, as you say, for my fifth trip. And it is also a high honor to be representing the Obama Administration and the United States.

But I’m here not just to do the official diplomacy. I have already met with the foreign minister and the prime minister. I’ll be meeting with the president. I’ll meet with the opposition. I’ll meet with parliamentarians. And that’s very important. But it is especially critical that we do more of what you’re doing today with your colleagues so that I have a chance to answer the questions that are on the minds of the people of Pakistan, so that we can have more people-to-people diplomacy. Because we need to build stronger bonds of connection, of trust, of cooperation and partnership between our two countries, and that’s what I hope today will be able to help us do – turn the page and look for an even better future.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Now with your permission, let me introduce to you all of us. My name is Moeed Pirzada. I am director and editor of world affairs for Dunya News. I also present my own current affairs program, Dunya Today, and I also write for Dawn and for Khaleej Times.

To your right, the first person is Mr. Talat Husain. He is the director of news and current affairs for AAJ Television. Before joining the electronic media, he has been the editor of The News in Islamabad. And Talat presents one popular program, Live With Talat, and given his robust opinions and very strong positions, we often refer to him as the agenda-setting anchor in Pakistan.


QUESTION: Thank you very much.

MR. PIRZADA: Next to Talat is Mubashir Luqman. Mubashir is the lead anchor for Express News and the news network. He presents his own very hard-hitting political program called Point Blank. And Mubashir is also a columnist, and few people know that Mubashir is also a filmmaker.

Next to Mubashir is Anwar ul-Hassan. He is the lead anchor for Straight Broadcast of PTV, Pakistan television. He is also the diplomatic correspondent and Kabul is the diplomatic assignment. And he has the credit of running – of presenting the longest-running current affair programs and Straight Broadcast of PTV for the last seven years.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. PIRZADA: Here to my left is Ms. Nasim Zehra. She’s director of current affairs with Dunya News. She presents her own program, a popular political affairs program, Policy Matters. Nasim has been a columnist, a very prominent columnist, with the news and also Khaleej Times for almost 15 years now. And she has extensively covered the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

Next to Nasim is Hamid Mir, and I must emphasize that Hamid Mir is a quintessential household name in Pakistan, and he is currently the editor at Geo News in Islamabad. He presents a very popular program, Capital Talk, took a very leading role in the loyalists’ movement, civil society movement against General Musharraf. He is also a columnist with the newspapers Jang and (inaudible).

Next to Hamid Mir is Naveen Naqvi. Naveen has been part of the launch team of the Dawn News, Pakistan’s first English television channel. Naveen is a senior anchorperson. She presents a morning news program as well.

And this is it, and we’ll just say charity begins at home.


MR. PIRZADA: Let me ask the first overall question to you, that this is your exclusive trip to Pakistan, three-day exclusive —


MR. PIRZADA: — trip to Pakistan. And this is coming at the – almost just after a raging controversy around the Kerry-Lugar legislation in this country. That’s one aspect. So we would like to know how do you see yourself, the significance of your visit? What is on your plate in terms of the agenda?

Also, the second thing is just before coming here on Monday, you attended the sixth Situation Room meeting with President Obama on national security —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

MR. PIRZADA: — and on Afghanistan. And we would like to know what is the short-term and long-term vision of your Administration, the Obama Administration’s view on Afghanistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Moeed, I hope that my trip will send a very strong signal to the people of Pakistan of the sincerity and seriousness of our commitment to a long-term, durable relationship between our two countries. When I say I want to turn the page, I mean that our relationship should be much deeper and broader than our shared concern and fight against terrorism. I’m very impressed and admiring of the efforts that the government and the military are taking to root out the sources of so much anxiety and anguish and tragedy as those who attack innocents and attack the very institutions of the Pakistani Government.

We do share that very strong commitment to ending the reign of terror that has not just in Pakistan, but in many places in the world caused so much difficulty. But we also want to work together on economic development. Today, I was privileged to announce a big commitment worked out with the Pakistani Government between our experts on how we can assist in improving the energy sector toward more reliable, predictable energy, especially electricity. We want to work on education and healthcare. I announced, along with Foreign Minister Qureshi, the resumption of our strategic dialogue where we will consult and try to produce results that will benefit the people of our two countries.

So I am here hoping that I can speak directly to as many people as possible through the medium of the press, through town halls, through meetings with civil society. I’ll be doing that in both Lahore and Islamabad. And it would be presumptuous to say what will come out of a three-day trip, except I’ll have a wonderful time and get to see people that I’ve known for years as well as meet new people. But I hope it’s the start of this turning the page on our relationship.

As to your second question, the President is working very hard to determine the best way forward to achieve our strategic objectives. The objectives have not changed. We are determined to root out al-Qaida – which poses a threat to us, to you, to so many others around the world – their extremist allies, many of whom you are now fighting because they have thrown their lot in with al-Qaida, and to work to try to stabilize Afghanistan so that the people of Afghanistan have a better future and you don’t have threats coming to Pakistan or threats coming to the United States from Afghanistan’s territory.

And it is important for us to have a combined civilian and military strategy in Afghanistan, because so many of the problems that are feeding the presence of the Taliban are rooted in people not feeling secure, not feeling that they have a solid future for themselves and their children, the government not being able to really provide the kind of control and support that people expect. So this is an area where Pakistan and the United States have a lot in common. Our military-to-military relations are growing all the time. The Pakistani military has been very helpful in advising the American military of the best way forward in Pakistan.

So the President will be making an announcement when he’s ready, which will be most likely after the Afghan election. Last spring, he said that we would review our strategy after the Afghan election, but the Afghan election isn’t over yet. So it’s taking a little longer than perhaps we might have expected. But our strategic goals remain the same. We just want to be sure that we’re operationalizing them, that our tactics are the best for us to pursue.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you, Secretary Clinton.

I think, Talat, you want to raise a question?

QUESTION: Yes. Thank you very much. Well, we welcome you here, but at the same time, we have to state the facts as we see them. You speak about turning the page. That’s a laudable goal. But you would agree that words do not turn the page; policies do. Words could have done the same job if words were drafted carefully, and that brings me to the Kerry-Lugar bill. I think the debate inside Pakistan probably would have been less ferocious if the drafting of the bill could have conveyed a different kind of an intent altogether.

The drafting left a lot of phrases that were humiliating – that’s how they were seen here – conditionalities that were very (inaudible), were described in a manner that spoke of arrogance. And on top of it, what really cut most of us to the quick in the mainstream media was the way this whole debate was characterized by somebody like Mr. Holbrooke, who is a responsible representative of the Obama Administration. And let me just quote what he said in his recent press conference, that the Kerry-Lugar bill, in his opinion, didn’t spark anything; it was just an excuse for a certain group of people who were looking for an excuse to take a great piece of legislation, then rub it to the ground.

I’m just trying to understand, when you talk about turning the page and then you look at the language of the Kerry-Lugar bill, the intent through the drafting and the language doesn’t come through as that. So either we have not been able to read the genius that is in the drafting of the Kerry-Lugar bill, or, frankly, we are looking at a public policy that is so fundamentally different from your actual policy towards Pakistan.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m glad you raised that, because this is one of the examples of where we are not communicating well, and I think that’s a two-way problem, not just a one-way problem. The Kerry-Lugar bill has been in our Congress for a number of years. In fact, it started off as the Biden-Lugar bill before the Vice President was elevated from the Senate. And there has been a lot of coverage of it. There has been, certainly, a lot of attention paid to it. And I believe that the intent and the motivation was to do as stated by the United States, which was to have a visible, tangible commitment over a number of years to demonstrate that our concerns and our willingness and hopefulness about working with Pakistan was not some kind of one-off commitment, but instead a long-term commitment.

And yet on the other hand, apparently much of what was written, which to members of Congress – I used to be one – was very common language. That’s the kind of language we have in so many of our aid packages. It’s not at all specific to Pakistan. And that the conditions, if that’s the way to describe them, really apply to the United States. I mean, we know that we’re going to be held accountable, the Government of the United States, to our taxpayers.

So we want to make a very big commitment in the middle of a global recession totaling $7.5 billion to another country, and we’ve got somebody sitting in Columbus, Ohio who says, “I’m unemployed. Why is my money going to Pakistan?” And we want to say we want an important relationship with a very critical ally, and yes, we’re going to commit this money and then your government – namely, me and the Secretary of Defense and others – we will report to you. We will report to the Congress as to how the money’s being spent.

It had nothing to do, in our view, with the sovereignty of Pakistan. It imposed no conditions on Pakistan. And it was, as I said, very much in line with other aid packages. However, the fact is, as you point out, that was not the message that was coming across. So we clearly did not do our homework in trying to explain what it is we were trying to accomplish. And frankly, I think one of the problems is we did not have a program to reach out to the Pakistani press. That will never happen again, because if we’re going to have this partnership, then we need to be communicating through the mechanisms that the people in each of our countries will hear and listen to. So —

QUESTION: Well, let me interject here with your permission.


QUESTION: There’s a follow-up as well. It’s not just the language itself. It’s not that you will have, you know, 10 programs done in favor of Kerry-Lugar bill and the nature of the bill is going to change. I mean, surely, Pakistani people do see it as a slight to their intelligence when somebody says that, “Well, you’re not exactly reading the real intent of the bill.” You’ve got 12 conditionalities related to security put into a bill that deals with economic aid and social sector development.

So clearly, there’s something happening through the bill that the U.S. is unwilling to acknowledge. I think your PR and charm offensive is fine, explaining your position is fine. But somewhere down the line, one has to examine the bill, and it has been examined in great detail in Pakistan by people who have some expert in these matters. And you know, we believe that the bill had a sort of, you know, a hidden agenda.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you know what, I am very sorry you believe that, because that was not the intention. Nor, as someone who served in the Senate for eight years, would I read it that way. But I think your question raises the larger concern that when the United States – this is how we see it – when the United States says we want to try to remedy some of the problems of the past, which I have admitted, I have given speeches about that I don’t think that our relationship was always as constructive and solid as it needed to be.

So we say we want to remedy it, and we’re going to try to do that through an aid package which we think could be extremely beneficial to the people of Pakistan, but that as a matter of course, when we do aid legislation – you can read – the aid that goes to Israel, the aid that goes to Egypt – when we have big packages of aid, I think it is absolutely understandable that there would be a desire on the part of our members of Congress to have some accountability. That doesn’t affect your sovereignty; that’s accountability on us. We have to – I’m the one that has to go before the Congress and say, well, we think we’re making progress or not, we think the money is being used as we intended it or not.

Pakistan doesn’t have to take this money. Let me be very clear: You do not have to take this money. You do not have to take any aid from us. But we believe that we can turn the page. And what is regrettable is this misunderstanding, from my perspective, as to both the intent in the motivation of the legislation and the way that we draft legislation. So we’ll certainly do better. We’ll certainly try to explain better. But this is just an authorizing piece of legislation. The money has not been appropriated. And if Pakistan doesn’t want the money, we’re not going to impose it on you.

QUESTION: Let me just quickly ask, really quick. There is an impression in this country that once the President has authorized and the money starts to roll towards Pakistan, the Pakistani Government, either the ministry of finance or foreign affairs or the prime minister’s office, will have to sign a parallel instrument that will mention – that will automatically impose the conditions of Kerry-Lugar legislation and bill, which you say is on the U.S. executive upon the Government of Pakistan. Is something like that going to happen?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. I mean, what happens usually – as I say, this is what we call authorizing legislation. So the President can sign this, but that doesn’t mean any money will flow. You have to go back to the Congress to get the money appropriated. So it’s a two-step process. And when the money is appropriated, we can take a hard look at what, if any, conditions will be expressed – again, I would just reiterate these are conditions on the United States Government – and then move forward with the money being appropriated.

But I want to make very clear, we believe that our relationship with Pakistan is in both of our interests. We believe that it is important for the United States, but we believe equally it’s important for Pakistan. We believe that the kind of assistance that we could provide to fulfill the needs that are identified by the people and Government of Pakistan could be useful.

QUESTION: But Pakistanis also have to believe that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I agree with you.

QUESTION: It’s not enough for you to believe that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, no, no, no. I agree with – I agree with you.

MR. PIRZADA: I think we have to move.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, but I think – we’ll move on, but I think you don’t have to believe it. We don’t have to give you the money. I mean, this is like – this is not – nobody is saying you must take this money so that we can help you rebuild your energy sector or put more kids in school or provide better maternal and child health. You don’t have to take the money.

QUESTION: But there is another side to that.

MR. PIRZADA: Let’s move ahead. Are you going to raise the question, or should we?

QUESTION: Yes, yes.

MR. PIRZADA: Okay. You go ahead.

QUESTION: If you’ll allow me.


QUESTION: Okay. Because – thank you very much and welcome to Pakistan. And we also believe that the United States and Pakistan, they need each other and we need friendship. But there are some questions in the mind of common people. I will start my question with Kerry-Lugar bill.

Our rule of law have been mentioned many times in Kerry-Lugar bill, which is a very good thing. But my question is about those U.S. officials who are breaking Pakistani law, again and again, in this federal capital of Pakistan, which is called Islamabad. And they have been caught many times by our police. They were carrying illegal weapons. Just last morning – in the morning of the 27th of October, four U.S. Marines were caught at three o’clock in the morning in Islamabad. They were arrested, and within one hour they were released.

So the common man is asking this question that why the U.S. officials are free to break Pakistani law, and who have ordered them to patrol on the streets of Islamabad? And will you allow Pakistani soldiers to patrol like this, carrying illegal weapons in their hands in the streets of Washington?

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t have any of the specifics about that particular question. I can only say that there are rules which govern all countries. Diplomatic immunity applies in every country. So certain things that a Pakistani official in our capital of Washington might do would be diplomatically immune from arrest or from any kind of action. I have no idea whether that is what we’re talking about.

QUESTION: But no diplomat come on the road at three o’clock in the morning?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, yes. I mean, we have diplomats and people assigned to embassies in our country who have car accidents, who get into fights, who have all kinds of problems. And there are international rules about how to deal with that. I will certainly look into it to see whether what you’re talking about is within that kind of framework or there’s something else going on.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, again, thanks, but let me move ahead.


QUESTION: I just have one thing at the outset. When a perception is reality, you may be very sincere and very serious in your endeavors to provide aid to Pakistan. But if the people of Pakistan do not perceive it as an aid, then there is a serious issue and one has to look beyond that.

Now, the fact of the matter is we – all of us, and I speak for every one of us – we have our hands on the pulse of the people. We talk to people on the roads, we talk to people on the streets, we talk to people who have invested over here. And they all ask one question, and I can’t answer that. When President George Bush made a statement, either you are with us or against us in Pakistan, at that time, the Government of Pakistan at that time choose to be an ally of the United States, without any conditions put anywhere, you know, with just one phone call. How come now, when Pakistan is in need of aid, the Government of the United States or the congressmen or the Secretary of State has to come up with certain conditions?

Now, I’ll dovetail this so that we can move on as well. If the United States Government is so sincere in helping Pakistan go through its problems, why is it that you are constantly using drone attacks inside Pakistan? Why not transfer that technology to the Pakistan military that you have praised yourself just now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that one of the pages I’m turning is on the Bush Administration, because I think being for us or against was not the best way to build common purpose among other nations with our own. And we are grateful for the support that Pakistan has given in the fight against terrorism. It’s a mutual concern, and we have a common enemy. And I am very admiring of the sacrifice that the Pakistani people have had to endure in order to undertake this fight.

But I think that it is a different – I think the difference that we’re talking about here is not as great as it is perceived on the part of the people that you are referring to. But I will admit that clearly there is a lot of misperception, and perception is a reality, so therefore, it is up to us to try to set that straight. And we will certainly try to do a better job than we just haven’t apparently done, because it hasn’t been convincing to those of you who represent the media. But it’s not for any bad intent. It’s just, apparently, we were not as sensitive as we should have been in terms of presenting the legislation that was passed by the Congress.

And with respect to your second question, I don’t really talk about that. I think that’s something that the military-to-military relationship has to deal with.

QUESTION: But is there a possibility for that in the near future?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m not going to speculate on that.

QUESTION: If I may —

QUESTION: Let me – I want –

QUESTION: — the Shura council hat has been coming up – sorry, if I may. And we’re talking about an expansion of drone strikes towards Balochistan. That’s been in the news as well. So how does that fit in with all of this?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think that the discussions between our militaries and our intelligence agencies, which are in constant consultation, are really appropriate to be discussed. Those are something that goes to the very difficult decisions that your military has to make. And I think we should give them the support that they need in trying to root out the people who are our common enemies.

MR. PIRZADA: Both Nasim and Anwar are waiting for their questions. Nasim, you go ahead quickly and then Anwar.

QUESTION: Well, I would like to welcome you to Pakistan and say that I think it’s a very important point at which you’ve come, just for the reasons that you have mentioned – you yourself mentioned. When I hear you speak, Secretary of State, it again seems to be a situation where you think the issue is about lack of communication. I think the fact that you want to turn a page through more aggressive communication and the speech that you gave at USIP recently, where talked of needing to be more dealing with propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation in Pakistan.

I wonder how will we make the breakthrough, because while this bill is very crucial, very important and, I mean, we know this relationship is equally important for you as it is for us. And when you talk about take the money or don’t take the money, I think that we are obviously dealing with a more complex situation. Pakistan is an ally in war on terror, as far as the United States is concerned. And without Pakistan, you cannot move forward on that. There’s no doubt about it. Those are the facts. So obviously you need Pakistan. And for us, this relationship is important. But there is, as you’ve heard everybody talk just now, there is a fundamental issue of divergence in terms of policies also. Just the bill itself – it’s not a question of intent. You know, one of the portions in the bill, it talks about a comprehensive regional security strategy, where the President will develop an interagency regional strategy to eliminate terrorist threats and close safe havens in Pakistan, including by working with the Government of Pakistan and other relevant governments and organizations in the region, and as well as appropriate to best implement effective counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts in and near the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including FATA, NWFP, parts of Baluchistan, and parts of Punjab.

When I read this bill, it seems that the policy really is of the United States that Pakistan is really the hub of the problem. Although when you look at the issue of terrorism, and if the United States is serious about the problem, then there are issues inside Afghanistan beyond just the border. There are issues inside India, which your own president during his election campaign referred to. But when you actually moved towards policy, it’s like, you know, tightening the screws on Pakistan just looking at – it’s Pakistan specific. And when, you talk of the president talking of two countries, two governments in the region, certainly, we’re not talking of Colombia or Bolivia, we are talking of India and Afghanistan.

So the question is: To what extent does the government in the United States – Obama Administration – understand the issues of security that Pakistan is facing? I think this whole emphasis on what Pakistan can do and where Pakistan’s ISI is involved or not involved – do you see what’s happening in our own country? Today, we’ve had 70 people who’ve died. So I think that you need to really look at some of the policy issues that are involved. And when I hear you speak, it seems like just issues of perception.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, I am deeply sorry for the losses yet again today in the bombing and regret that the terrorists continue to target innocent people.

But I have to go back to this point, and I think this will probably require a much longer discussion than we have on this program. But in what you just read, it is also the policy of Pakistan, as it has been explained to us going back eight years now, that you, too, are worried about what’s happening on your border. You, too, are worried about what’s going on in Afghanistan.

But the bill only has money for Pakistan, so it’s – you see what I mean? That’s where the confusion, I think, lies. I mean, this is not a bill to provide civilian aid to offer services to a bunch of countries. This is a bill just for Pakistan. And when we gave money to Colombia, you would see the same kind of language when we give money to other countries.

So I regret that what we thought, and this has been going on for years – I mean, the Pakistani press has covered this before, we have worked on this for years, we’ve had consultation for years – and I regret that somehow in all that time, these problems were not recognized by any of us, because that was certainly not the intent.

With respect to what I said about the media, which, in a democracy, those of us in public office, it’s – we get to criticize you and you get to criticize us. That’s part of how it works.

QUESTION: Sure. Yeah, fair enough.

SECRETARY CLINTON: But take the example of the story that wouldn’t die, that we were on this complex somewhere building a secret barracks for a thousand Marines. Untrue. Totally untrue. We have a contingent of Marines at this Embassy like we have at every embassy in the world that is a small group of Marines who provide front line defense at our Embassy. And we kept saying it’s not true. But it was the story that wouldn’t die. That’s frustrating for us, because when we have legitimate disagreements, as we do over what the meaning of this legislation is, not with the motivation or the intent is, but how it’s being interpreted, that’s perfectly legitimate.

And as you know, Senator Kerry and Congressman Berman gave a clarifying statement, put information into the Congressional Record to try to make clear what this meant. So we have really tried to understand and respond to the concerns that have been expressed. That’s a legitimate debate, and you have every right to say, “Well, what does this mean and how does it affect us and will it impinge on our sovereignty.” And we say, “Not under our law and not under our attention.”

But the thousand Marine story, that’s just – that is the kind of thing that sort of poisons the well.

MR. PIRZADA: If I could just interject —

QUESTION: I just want to follow up.

MR. PIRZADA: Very quickly, (inaudible).

QUESTION: If I may allow to – may I just follow up?

MR. PIRZADA: Just quickly, quickly, (inaudible) waiting for the – the Secretary waiting —


QUESTION: Just very quickly, very quickly, just very – just very quickly, yeah.

MR. PIRZADA: We have less time.

QUESTION: Yes, just very quickly. Secretary of State, Pakistan’s concerns on Baluchistan and, you know, Afghanistan plus India, and the issues that have been raised time and again by Pakistan – security concerns – when you talk of security concerns of India, you talk of security concerns of Afghanistan. We do not hear from Washington an acknowledgment of the genuine security concerns of Pakistan.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am very sorry, because I cannot tell you how many times that has been discussed both publicly and privately. We put together a trilateral commission of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve had two meetings in Washington where General Kayani came, where General Pasha came, where we spent enormous amounts of time going over the security concerns of Pakistan, pointing at the Afghans, pointing at ourselves, and saying what are we going to do to help Pakistan. All this money that you referred to that we’ve given over the last eight years, it was predominantly for security. It was military equipment. It was other kinds of technology that would assist you in defending yourselves.

So that’s why I’m here, because I want to clear the air. And I really appreciate all of you raising the questions that are kind of on the back of everybody’s mind. Because we’re not going to agree on everything, but I don’t want us to have any misunderstanding about where we do agree.


SECRETARY CLINTON: We are committed to Pakistan’s security. We have spent an enormous amount of money helping you with your security, and we stand ready to do even more. But we’re not going to impose ourselves. It is up to the people and Government of Pakistan to ask what they need from us, and then we try, where we can, to respond.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, thanks. Anwar, please go ahead.

QUESTION: We thank you very much for (inaudible) time and welcome to Pakistan.

SECRETARY CLINTON: (Laughter.) Thank you.

QUESTION: I represent Pakistan Television. You’re talking about security issues. And as you know, Pakistan is fighting a full-fledged war —


QUESTION: — against Taliban and terrorist networks on its own soil. South Waziristan operation is a case in point.


QUESTION: And we are bearing its cost as well. More than 250 people have died in this month, as we speak, because of suicide bombings in our towns and cities. Peshawar blast you must have heard today.


QUESTION: The question which arises in my mind, and actually it agitates most of the Pakistani people mind, that we hear disturbing reports that on Pak-Afghan border which is adjacent to South Waziristan, several NATO checkposts, they have been vacated. People ask why. Because America has always been demanding from Pakistan to do more to stop cross-border movement from Pakistan side to Afghanistan side. Pakistan should fence its border, but now what we are seeing, that, you know, the NATO forces which are on the one border side, they have vacated post, and they’re not checking – I think so – the cross-border movement.

So why there is so – why there’s inaction on part of NATO? Why don’t the NATO forces seal the border, because then it will hamper Operation Rah-e-Nijaat? And last year, I was reading the statement of chief of army staff. He once said that Pakistan is linking the success in Operation Rah-e-Nijaat with its effort to curb militancy and terrorism in Pakistan.

And the second question is that on 24 April, you were testifying before the congressional committee. You said that U.S. was partly responsible for the present mess, as it virtually abandoned Pakistan after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. So the question is (inaudible) realization and we welcome it that you have said in your opening statement that U.S. want to turn a new page in Pakistan-U.S. relations. When there is realization, why there’s a lack of action? Why don’t you give Pakistan – you know, provide financial and military assistance without any conditions?

MR. PIRZADA: Anwar, thanks. Yes, Secretary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, you’re right. I did say that, because I’m trying to be as clear and accurate as I can. And the United States, in my opinion, bears some of the responsibility for the difficulties that you are now confronting. And we have a commitment to assist in trying to root out the groups that both the United States and Pakistan created, funded, and used to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. We were partners in that. We were successful. Unfortunately, the aftermath is something that you have been having to deal with, and that’s why we want to be more helpful and assist you in being successful.

We have given billions and billions of dollars in aid where there is no misinterpretation, with no conditions. I mean, go back and look at the record over the last years of the amount of money that we have been providing to Pakistan, primarily for security, as you know. And it was important for us to do that because you were on the front lines, and we saw a common threat and wanted to respond.

The civilian side – I don’t know about your parliament, but in our Congress, it’s much easier to get money for military weapons than it is for schools. And so we’ve given billions of dollars with no conditions for military materiel, and we were very willing to do that to help you. And you can explain that to a constituent, and you can say we’re supporting the Pakistani military and the Pakistani Government in their fight against terrorism, and most people will say “Fine.”

But when you say, oh, by the way, we also want to help strengthen Pakistan’s democracy, and we want to help the people of Pakistan have the kind of lives that a democracy should deliver, so we want to build schools and health clinics and infrastructure and energy plants and tube wells so that farmers can get more irrigation, that’s a harder sell, because the average person sitting in America will say, well, I need a new school. My hospital’s run down.

So what we have historically done – and this is not about Pakistan, this is about the civilian side of aid – is to say we will make sure that the money is being put to good use. That’s what I think we (inaudible).

MR. PIRZADA: Great. Madame Secretary, there is only —

QUESTION: (Inaudible) checkposts, checkposts.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And the checkposts. I’m glad you asked that, because I was asked that question when I did two interviews for Dawn and Geo before I came, that I think are running today.


SECRETARY CLINTON: The fact is we are actually putting more troops on the borders, but we are closing some of the isolated checkposts that were indefensible. We have lost a number of our soldiers and Marines over the last year because they were in border outposts that were overrun. So we’re trying to consolidate them. We’re trying to have a different surveillance effort along the border, working with the Pakistani military.

This is an evolving strategy. I don’t know that anyone can close that border. That may be the most difficult border in the world to control or close. But we’re trying to use new technology and new counterinsurgency methods, along with the Pakistani military, to actually do a better job. And we’re actually putting more troops, not fewer, on the border.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, let me first – very shortly —

QUESTION: I have a question of —


QUESTION: Before we go for the second round, because we have very little time, I just wanted to pick up on the seams and ask a question. When you talk of perceptions —


QUESTION: — it’s not only Pakistan which has the negative perception in terms of the media. The U.S. media has a very negative perception and stereotypes for Pakistan. Now in terms of solutions, can the State Department – because, you see, the Pentagon and State Department do not issue negative statements about Pakistan. It is the U.S. media (inaudible).

QUESTION: They (inaudible).


QUESTION: They leak them?

QUESTION: They – yeah, they leak them. It’s (inaudible).

QUESTION: Can anything be done to improve the relationship —

QUESTION: Sometimes it’s leaked by the State Department and the Defense Department.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, and sometimes it’s just the media.

QUESTION: Let me just add one —

QUESTION: No, media doesn’t (inaudible)

QUESTION: (Inaudible) on that, you see —

SECRETARY CLINTON: The media’s never wrong. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, they don’t —

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I think it’ll be unfair to judge the caliber of this debate with regard to one story that refuses to go away, because I can quote you 20 bad stories that are cast that appears in the American media about Pakistan, but – now, if you were to use that as a measure of the substance of Pakistan-U.S. ties and the debate around that, it’ll be very unfair. So let’s just leave that one story that refuses to go away, though there are question marks over that as well and we don’t have answers to that. Some of the questions Hamid has already raised.

You have thrown up some numbers at us, and let me just tell you that, one, I’m really confused about the U.S. policy. You know, for 10 years, you’ve a dictator, then you have an election, then you come back and tell Pakistani people now you want to build schools. So Pakistani public is very confused that, you know, a year ago, this very country was supporting and even rolling out the red carpet for a dictator that this entire civil society was backing against. And now suddenly, the U.S. comes to us because there’s a new administration and elections and some democracy. I guess there is that larger perspective about the way U.S. looks at Pakistan.

But let me give you numbers. You talked about the civilian aid and the military aid. Your one base in Kyrgyzstan – you know how much Kyrgyzstan charges you? Seven hundred million U.S. dollars.


QUESTION: Seven hundred —

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s wrong. We negotiated the contract. I’m sorry, that is not right.

QUESTION: You negotiated it down.


QUESTION: They are charging you 700 million U.S. dollars. Give us a figure on that.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Fifty million dollars.

QUESTION: Fifty million dollars per month?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Fifty million dollars – no, no. I’m sorry. No —

QUESTION: Just one airbase. Do you know how many airbases U.S. uses in Pakistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: And do you know how many billions —


SECRETARY CLINTON: — of dollars we’ve provided to Pakistan?

QUESTION: All of that went under Musharraf into the (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, okay, but let me just stop you here. The United States did not install Musharraf.

QUESTION: You backed him, you —

SECRETARY CLINTON: That was the people —

QUESTION: You backed him. You supported him.

SECRETARY CLINTON: You know what? I’m —

QUESTION: George W. Bush lionized him.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. Well, George Bush is not my president right now.

QUESTION: But he did it with the U.S.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Both Musharraf and —

QUESTION: We all did (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Musharraf and Bush are gone. I’m very happy about Bush being gone. You’re apparently happy about —

QUESTION: But he’s lecturing around in your country —

SECRETARY CLINTON: — Musharraf being gone.

QUESTION: — about democracy.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, so is Musharraf. He’s in our country and he’s in Europe..

QUESTION: No, I was talking about Musharraf.

MR. PIRZADA: Okay, let’s —

SECRETARY CLINTON: But no, I think this is an important issue. Look, we can either argue about the past – which is always fun to do, but can’t be changed – or we can decide we’re going to shape a different future. Now, I vote that we shape a different future. And I cannot take responsibility for everything that was done in your country, just like you can’t take responsibility for everything that’s done in our country. But we can certainly try to chart a different course.

Now again, this is because I really believe it’s the right thing to do. I think it is in our interest to do it. I think that Pakistan has an enormous potential. I personally was very pleased when democracy returned to Pakistan, and I want very much to support democracy because democracy in the long run is a more stable basis for governing people than these dictators.

QUESTION: A very short one —


MR. PIRZADA: Just hold for a second (inaudible) because we have very little time. (Inaudible.) We have very little time.

QUESTION: Okay, but (inaudible) one question.

MR. PIRZADA: Shorten your questions to one and a half minutes. So a very short one.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. PIRZADA: So who’ll take – very short question, very short question.

QUESTION: Just very short. I just wanted –


MR. PIRZADA: Quickly.

QUESTION: One and a half minutes.

MR. PIRZADA: No, one minute only.

QUESTION: You were talking about democracy, which is a very good thing. Now, the parliament of Pakistan, the new parliament of Pakistan, which came into being after 18th of February 2008, this parliament adopted unanimous resolution against U.S. drone attacks, but the U.S. drone attacks have increased a lot. So I am forced to believe that you are not ready to listen to the true voice of democracy in Pakistan which is coming through the elected parliament.

MR. PIRZADA: You made the point —

QUESTION: You don’t respect our parliament.

MR. PIRZADA: Yes, you made the point. Okay, go ahead.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that on all of these issues, there has to be a recognition of the fact that we are in the middle of a war, number one, which colors everything, and we have to maintain democracy, which is essential. And that is our goal. We want to win the war and we want to support democracy.

QUESTION: Just on democracy, in the bill, there’s this mention of how the military is going to be held accountable on many fronts. And specifically, then you talk about Pakistani army not interfering in democracy and not getting involved in the judicial process, et cetera. A clause like that doesn’t strengthen democracy. It basically, in a situation where the military-civilian equation is moving towards a constitutional balance in this country, you know, a statement – a clause like that in the bill essentially creates problems and destabilizes.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you, thank you.

QUESTION: And if you want to improve the image of America in this country, why do you remain silent on Kashmir, where Ambassador Holbrooke wanted to do something about that? He stood back because of Indian pressure. So why is there silence on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are very supportive, very supportive, of India and Pakistan resuming a dialogue over resolving these longstanding issues. We believe that at the end of this process it has to be a decision by Pakistan and India that anybody on the outside is not going to be able to push or prod, and shouldn’t. It is up to you and to your counterparts in India. So we are very supportive of that. So we hope that there will be a resumption of a dialogue and it will lead to a resolution.

QUESTION: The answer to the other question —

MR. PIRZADA: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: The answer to the other question —

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


MR. PIRZADA: As you see, we have only five minutes left —

SECRETARY CLINTON: I have to say that it’s very common to point out that in a democracy that is so young, we want to send a message to all the constituent parts of society, support that democracy. I find that very much in keeping.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) two questions —

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, I’m extremely happy you’ve talked about sending a message, because here’s a message that I do not understand, and hopefully you’ll be able to communicate that to me and everyone over here. You see, you were talking about spending on military and you gave an analogy between the schools and the military and how this works over there. When you go into Afghanistan and you, I mean, fight a war over there, trust me, you are in foreign territory and everybody that comes under fire or in the line of fire is a foreigner. And – but when our army goes into Swat or Buner or Waziristan, the chances are that they are fighting in their own territory and killing their own people at the same time.


QUESTION: Now, when I listen to the U.S. Administration, they are very open about, you know, establishing contacts with the Taliban shura and, you know, trying to identify the soft elements over there and, you know, making inroads and bridges over there. But when Government of Pakistan and elected Government of Pakistan does a similar peace agreement in Swat over here with the people who are actually demanding something that is their right to have – I mean, if they have a majority in the first place – why is there a sudden reaction? And then you clump Pakistan and Afghanistan together and you have a different set of policies for them.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me answer that.

MR. PIRZADA: Should we clump the second question together with it.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Okay, as long as I can remember the first one. Remind me. (Laughter.)

MR. PIRZADA: Yeah, it’s okay.

QUESTION: A quick question. We are talking about the past history, talking about the present and future. President Obama and you yourself, you guys have said on television that you understand Pakistan well, you have interest in Pakistan, and you also know that there’s a predominant anti-American sentiment prevailing in Pakistan. What practical steps Obama Administration can take in addressing those sentiments and turning them into pro-American?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me try to answer two very important and complex questions as quickly as I can. On the question about the Taliban, first, as I understand what the Government of Pakistan did, they attempted to reach some kind of agreement with elements of the Taliban in Swat. And they thought that they had reached an agreement that would create stability and that there would not be any further aggressive action by those Taliban members. Next thing your government knew, those very people they thought they’d agreed with had pushed into Buner.

And so I think it was right for the Pakistan Government to try, but you also have to give the government credit for saying the agreement was one-sided. It wasn’t abided by. So we cannot allow those elements to pretend that they’re going to participate in society when they still are attempting to undermine our society. So I give the government credit for trying and I give the government even greater credit for doing the evaluation which led them to conclude that there was a very aggressive cancer that was eating away at Pakistan that has to be rooted out, because clearly the people with whom they were dealing were not willing to cease their attacks on the society.

With respect to the Taliban in Afghanistan, it is our evidence that there are many young men who are recruited into the Taliban who are not ideologically committed to the extremist agenda of the Taliban leadership. Some of them do it because there’s a kind of draft that goes on, and the Taliban intimidates families and communities and demands that these young men be basically turned over to them, some because they actually get paid. So these are not the hardcore people who your government is trying to kill or capture. These are young men who get caught up in it. I think they should be given a chance to be reintegrated into society, whether it’s on this side of the border or the other. The leaders have a very different agenda. They are out to destabilize this state. They are out to take over Afghanistan. They are in league with al-Qaida and therefore they pose a threat far beyond the borders, which, unfortunately, is something that we all have to pay attention to.

Now, with your question, just very quickly, I don’t expect this to happen overnight. I think that the spirited conversation we’ve had here today shows how much work there is to do.


SECRETARY CLINTON: But it is very helpful to me. I have to tell you, before the reaction to the Kerry-Lugar bill occurred, I don’t think it was on my list of worries that I would have because I saw it so differently. So now we’ve been sensitized. And I don’t think that we have very many people in our own country who read legislation as closely as all of you have read it. So we’re just going to have to take a look and scrub this down and be more aware of the perceptions which turn into the reality, because if we’re going to have a relationship, I want it to be as honest as this conversation has been. Nobody has minced words. I have told you what is on my mind. That’s what true friends and partners do. We could pretend. You could pretend. You could say, well, Mrs. Clinton, how has your visit been, and we could have a nice little conversation.

QUESTION: It wouldn’t be me. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: It wouldn’t be you and it wouldn’t be me.


SECRETARY CLINTON: And it’s not the kind of relationship we should be working to achieve. I believe we have so much in common. And what both President Obama and I feel – I had friends from Pakistan in college, he had friends from Pakistan in college. We have been in each other’s homes. I have so many very positive feelings about this country. But I know we have work to do. So I’m going to work at it.

QUESTION: One short one, Secretary. A short one.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: No, no, just very —

MR. PIRZADA: Very short, very short.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. PIRZADA: Very short question.

QUESTION: My short question is that you said that we must be honest with each other.


QUESTION: So the Kerry-Lugar bill have introduced the philosophy of civilian control on the security establishment of Pakistan. Do you want a civilian to head ISI? I need a very honest answer from you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I want the best person to head it.

QUESTION: Do you want a civilian to head ISI?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That – first of all, it’s not my decision. But let me tell you, the CIA has been headed by both military and civilians. It should be the person, not the position. And so if there is a military person who is the best person, that’s who it should be. If there’s a civilian who’s the best person, that’s who it should be.

MR. PIRZADA: Last question (inaudible) quick (inaudible).

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: But the larger question is in a democracy, at least as democracies have developed over time, it’s civilian control over the entire enterprise, not necessarily – I don’t want a civilian being the commander of our forces in Afghanistan or of Central Command, because that’s a very different job. Intelligence is different in our country. But whoever holds those positions, the principle of civilian control I think is important for democracy.

QUESTION: That is part of our constitution as well. Okay, just one last question. You talked about setting up a trilateral commission – India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States. But Secretary of State, as a result of that, we haven’t seen the substantive move that we needed to see from Afghanistan and the U.S. side of the Afghan border because your forces are there and the Afghans are there, and still what we have are just 98 or 95 border posts on the Afghan side, while Pakistan has close to a thousand. So please explain why this (inaudible).

MR. PIRZADA: (Inaudible) yes, quick, this must be the last question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, as you know, the challenge of Afghanistan governmentally is far different than Pakistan. Pakistan has many more resources, assets, expertise in its government, in its military. It is our hope that we will be able to work with Afghanistan to build a professional military – something which they have not had. And so we’re looking to Pakistan to provide assistance as well as our NATO allies. So I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. The reason Pakistan has done so well in putting forces along the border is because you have a very professional, highly expert military. That doesn’t exist on the other side.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, when do you intend to have – finally have —

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: When do you intend to have the final version of your final strategy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, when the President said we would —

QUESTION: That was in March.

SECRETARY CLINTON: He said – well, he adopted the strategy. And the goals are not going to change. We are still committed to a campaign against al-Qaida and their extremist allies, and to assisting the Afghans —

QUESTION: (Inaudible) yes, will we have a —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but remember when the President announced it in March, he said we will reevaluate where we are after the Afghan election. The Afghan election is not over yet.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: As soon as the Afghan election is over, you will see that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton —

QUESTION: After (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Before that. Before that. I hope the election’s over before that.

MR. PIRZADA: I wish we could have time (inaudible) it’s a pressure on your time. Thank you, all of you, for joining in this discussion, Secretary Clinton.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’ll tell you one thing, no one could doubt the free press in Pakistan. That’s a very good sign.

MR. PIRZADA: I wish you could actually tell us something to improve Pakistan’s impression of the U.S. press, the U.S. media.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have to work on that, too. And we need more exchanges like this. I mean, I wish —

QUESTION: You will send U.S. journalists to the Pakistani travel area so that they can see the (inaudible).

QUESTION: Pakistan (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: And we need you, though, to come to the United States more and to do forums and to do question and answer like this. It would be very helpful, and we’ll try to set some of that up if you have – I mean, after I listened to Moeed introduce you all, you all apparently work 24/7.

QUESTION: You are welcome to write us. You are welcome to write us, all of six (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good. Well, we will. We’ll figure out a way to do that.

QUESTION: There’s more than six, by the way, in Pakistan. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh no, another misperception. (Laughter.)

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you. Thank you so much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you so much for joining us.


MR. PIRZADA: Thank you to all of you. The time is almost over. Thank you.

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Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Islamabad, Pakistan
October 28, 2009

FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. (Inaudible.) Let me welcome you, Madame Secretary, once again, to Pakistan to the Foreign Office. We’re delighted to have you here because we know that you’re a friend of Pakistan. We know what your views are for this region, for Pakistan, and certainly this visit of yours will build bridges and deepen our relationship further.

I think this visit is well timed, and I said this to Secretary Clinton. Because Pakistan, as you know, ladies and gentlemen, has entered a critical phase in its fight against extremism and terrorism. And to visit Pakistan at this stage to express solidarity with the people of Pakistan, I think, is an expression, a loud and clear message from the government, the Administration, and the people of the United States of America.

I think this trip is important because it is taking place when there is a democratic dispensation in Pakistan. And your Administration, Madame, has very clearly felt for the first time, in black and white, that we want to deal with a democracy. We uphold and share common democratic values. And I think for a country which is developing democratic institutions, that message is a powerful message for the people of Pakistan.

There is a policy shift that one sees in your approach, and that’s a very welcome shift. And the shift is that you move from individuals to people, and you want a people-centric relationship, and that, I think, is very important. We are democracies. You are a democracy, and you have supported the transition to democracy in Pakistan. And today, we are a democracy as well.

So democracies, I think, have to redraw terms of engagement. And today in our very constructive, very positive engagement that we’ve had this morning, we have sat and analyzed the way forward. What we have, what we – the baggage of history, the needs of our current times, and the future, the vision for the future. I have had the pleasure of sharing a roadmap for U.S.-Pakistan relations with Madame Secretary, and – which is my vision for the future, the way forward for the future.

What we need to do is to build a relationship, a relationship based on trust, a relationship based on mutual respect, and a relationship based on shared objectives. And today, in our engagement, we discussed how to reinforce the trust, how to understand and be sensitive to each other’s concerns, and how to identify and align our objectives, our strategic interests for the future. Democracies, as you know, ladies and gentlemen, cannot be oblivious of public opinion.

So there are fears and concerns on both sides. Let’s acknowledge and admit that. And we need to address them. And I think we have now in place a mechanism, a leadership on both sides, that is willing to address those fears and concerns, have the mindset to address those fears and concerns to our mutual benefit.

We also discussed the situation in Afghanistan. We both have a stake in Afghanistan. We both have an interest in a peaceful, stable Afghanistan. And we discussed the – Afghanistan. We discussed the new review that is taking place in the United States, and I requested the Secretary to share the views with us, take Pakistan’s input in that. And in my view, it will be useful.

And finally, we’ve had a very frank and a very honest discussion, and it started with history – you know, the seesaw in our relationship, the baggage that both of us carry of decades – over the last six decades. And we cannot ignore history. We should not ignore history. Keeping that in view, we have to build a relationship for the future. We have to regain each other’s confidence. And I think this Administration, ever since it’s come into office, from the trilateral process we’ve had in Washington and the various engagements – the appointment of the special representatives, the frequent interaction that we’ve had, is willing to engage and understands the importance of confidence in each other.

We both are of the view that our relationship has to go beyond terrorism. Terrorism and defeating – combating terrorism is a shared objective, but we have to go beyond that. When we need to – when we go beyond that, we have to help build each other’s strength. Pakistan is a resource-rich country. We need United States support and help in using our resources, wealth. We need greater market access, and we’ve talked about the FDA. We talked about how important it is to have trade as opposed to aid. Pakistan’s preference is trade.

We also discussed how important it is for Pakistan to resolve the energy crisis and the input that we have shared with each other through the task force that you set up of late. We have also talked about how important it is to build capacity of institutions, institutions that can deliver and improve the quality of life of the ordinary citizen of Pakistan by providing better health, education, you know, sanitation, pulling people out of poverty. And finally, we’ve discussed how we can be sensitive to each other’s core interests.

I think this engagement was very useful. I think, ma’am, your presence and your trip, which – and a comprehensive program that’s set forth would be very useful in adding a new chapter to our relations. So thank you for coming.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister Qureshi. And I believe this is the sixth time that we have met – three times in Washington and one in New York and one in Phuket, Thailand, and now back here in Islamabad – and I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to continue our in-depth discussions. And I thank you for the openness and the sharing of views that will really help us build the kind of partnership that will benefit both of our countries.

I’m also pleased to be here in Pakistan for my fifth trip. I well remember my first trip, nearly 15 years ago, when I was traveling with my daughter Chelsea. And together, we experienced the warmth and hospitality of the people of Pakistan. It was an extraordinary visit for both of us. And I remember the young people I met, the civil society leaders, the visit to the Faisal Mosque, my daughter discussing with the guides there the course in Islamic history she was taking in high school. I remember so well the faces of the people, the conversations that we had.

And for me, this is a personal privilege, as well as a high honor, representing President Obama and our government, because today, the people of Pakistan and the United States face shared challenges. And we are poised to benefit from shared opportunities. This is a critical moment. And the United States seeks to turn the page to a new partnership with not only the government, but the people of a democratic Pakistan.

We hope to build a strong relationship based on mutual respect and mutual shared responsibility. I am confident that if we listen to one another, we consult, we work closely together, we will succeed. Because while we may disagree from time to time, as friends and partners do, we are bound together by common interests and common values that are stronger than any of our differences. There are many areas where our nations already work together. Now, we seek to deepen those efforts and find additional opportunities for partnership. Again, not just government to government, but in the private sector, in universities, in nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups, religious institutions, and of course, and most importantly, people to people, which is the kind of diplomacy that I think has the longest benefit.

In this regard, I am delighted that the foreign minister and I have agreed to resume and intensify the U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue, which I will personally oversee for my country. We want a comprehensive dialogue that is results-oriented.

Now it’s obvious that one important issue facing both of our nations is security. Pakistan is in the midst of an ongoing struggle against tenacious and brutal extremist groups who kill innocent people and terrorize communities. I know that in recent weeks, Pakistan has endured a barrage of attacks, and I would like to convey my sympathy and that of the American people to the people of Pakistan. But I want you to know that this fight is not Pakistan’s 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. So this is our struggle as well, and we commend the Pakistani military for their courageous fight, and we commit to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani people in your fight for peace and security. We will give you the help that you need in order to achieve your goal.

But our relationship with Pakistan goes far beyond security. That may be what is in the headlines for obvious reasons. Today, we had more vicious and brutal attacks that killed more innocent people. The terrorists and extremists are very good at destroying, but they cannot build. That is where we have an advantage. Because today, the foreign minister and I discussed the ways in which our two nations can work more closely together on behalf of the people of Pakistan as you continue your journey toward an effective, responsive, and enduring democracy.

In this time of economic challenge, we want to help you to do what you believe is best for your country. In the economic arena, we want to help you with jobs and economic development and the infrastructure that will create investments – access to education, providing more support in healthcare, and in particular, improving the energy supply, something I have heard about in every meeting that I’ve had with any Pakistani since I became Secretary of State.

Pakistan’s energy shortfall poses serious challenges to your economy and to the lives of individual people and businesses. For months, families have endured sweltering heat and evenings spent in the dark without appliances or televisions or computers. And in some places, I’m told that it happened in my own country. Blackouts prompt an increase in crimes. Without power, some factories and small businesses have closed their door, which undermines economic growth. And America wants to help.

Our first initiatives in this field were launched by Ambassador Holbrooke and his team earlier this year. And they’ve been working closely with Ambassador Patterson and our Embassy here in Islamabad, who have been working closely with your government. We recently completed an extensive energy dialogue with the Pakistani Government, led on our side by our International Energy Coordinator David Goldwyn.

In this collaboration, our experts identified several ways that the United States can help. And today, I am very proud to announce the first phase of a signature energy program for Pakistan which will help repair facilities, improve local energy providers, and promote energy efficiency. These projects, designed in close collaboration with Pakistan’s government, will repair and upgrade key power stations across your country which currently operate well below full capacity.

We will help you install new and better equipment at the Tarbela Dam power station on the Indus River. And we will help you repair or replace more than 10,000 tube well pumps nationwide, which will both save energy and increase agricultural productivity. This first phase is only the beginning of our new emphasis on assisting Pakistan in its energy sector. And as we move forward, together, we will, if Congress approves future requests, do far more together.

The foreign minister and I discussed this and many other ways that our nation will strengthen and deepen our relationship. I shared with him, as he shared with me, some of the misperceptions, some of the stereotypes and misinformation that occasionally blocks both of our countries from fully understanding and appreciating each other. Over the course of my visit, I look forward to discussing many issues of concern with business leaders, members of parliament, representatives from civil society, students, women, citizens from the northwest and other parts of the country.

And of course, my time in Pakistan would not be complete without visits to some of Pakistan’s extraordinary cultural, religious, and historic sites that make your country so important to Islamic civilization and to the modern Muslim world.

But let me end with this point, the partnership between our countries is not limited to the halls of government. I enjoyed greatly my meeting and the gracious lunch which the foreign minister hosted. But he and I both know that in democracies, there has to be a partnership between the people, and that is what I am aiming to foster. We have a united and shared vision of the kind of future that our children in both countries should be able to enjoy, where each child doesn’t have to fear when he or she goes to school or to a market that they may not make it home safely, where the God-given abilities of each child can be nurtured, and then once again, see the fruits of that kind of investment in the benefits to families, communities, and to great nations. Our fates are intertwined in the 21st century. We are interdependent and interconnected. And I’m betting that we can make the kind of future that the children of our two nations deserve.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s a hallmark of a democracy, Minister Qureshi.

FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Yes. All is noisy. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you said you want to turn the page in our relationship and correct some misperceptions. As you increase the amounts of U.S. economic assistance along the lines that you’ve discussed, how important is it that the Pakistani people themselves actually know that this assistance in very local projects comes from the United States? And how do you propose to tell them that when U.S. officials have so much difficulty traveling around the country?

And if I might, to the foreign minister, on the question of sharing information and your views on the Administration’s strategy review, you said that the Secretary is going to carry Pakistan’s views back. Do you feel like those views have been adequately represented thus far, and in particular, on the question of the U.S. decision to begin to remove some of its military units from the Afghan border?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me answer the question that was addressed to me and then say something about the question addressed to the foreign minister. Well, we’re talking right now in front of – I’ve lost count of how many cameras and how many journalists are in this audience – to convey both the intent of our Administration to turn that page, but also the specifics. I hope that in the coverage of my visit today there will be notice of the work we are doing together to improve the energy sector, to provide more reliable electricity for the people of Pakistan in a very specific proposal that I have just put forth. I will be visiting with many members of the Pakistani press over the next three days. I will be having town halls, both here and in Lahore. So we are going to reach out and make clear as best as I can what our intentions are and what our commitments are. And it is, of course, important that that be communicated not only in English, but in other languages as well, none of which, unfortunately, I can speak. But I know that others can and that we can convey the sincerity of our commitment.

With respect to the part of your question, Karen, about military outposts, it is actually true that we have more military presence on the border, but we have changed some of the outposts’ locations. We have consolidated into some bigger outposts. And we are looking to cooperate with the Pakistani military to determine how best we can jointly address the challenges along the border.

QUESTION: Ms. Clinton, please, if you don’t mind, Mr. Obama, your president, has been accorded the Nobel Peace Prize. And you see, this is the beginning of a long road and arming peace and fighting for peace and begging for peace at (inaudible). You see that if Mr. Obama fails to bring back peace in Afghanistan, a region like that, you would be in a position and plucking the courage to ask him to return that Nobel Peace Prize?


SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m very proud that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. And the Nobel Committee made clear that in much of the world, his election represented a significant change that people felt toward our country, which certainly creates better conditions for the pursuit and achievement of peace. But as the President said, this is very hard work. We know that, but how much better it is to be on the side of the peacemakers. And that is certainly where President Obama is.

So we will be working closely together with partners and friends like Pakistan to try to realize the vision and the promise of peace. And I know that the hopes that have been raised by the President’s receipt of this prize are very high. But it is important that we hope for and work for peace together. And I am committed to doing whatever I can to realize the vision that that prize represents.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. Jill Dougherty from CNN. Mr. Foreign Minister, Secretary Clinton mentioned some terrorist attacks. In fact, this afternoon, there’s a report of an attack at a women’s market in Peshawar killing, it looks, at least 60 people, if not more. There’s been a series of attacks. Military operations have displaced two million people. You had that attack of the students at the Islamic University, et cetera. How – what do you say to Pakistanis who ask: Is the fight against extremism worth it, or could taking the fight to the terrorists actually be making their lives more dangerous?

And Secretary Clinton, if you had comments on that, I would – I’d be happy to hear that.

And also, there is a report in The New York Times that the brother of Hamid Karzai has been on the CIA payroll for eight years. What is your comment on that, please?

FOREIGN MINISTER QURESHI: Let me begin by condemning the terrorist attack in Peshawar this morning. I just learned about it just before we started our talks. Sixty innocent lives were lost and some have been injured. So I pray for a speedy recovery, and I condole with the families that have lost their near and dear ones.

We are facing this on a daily basis, but the resolve and the determination will not be shaken. People who are carrying out such heinous crimes, they want to shake our resolve. And I want to address them. We will not buckle. We will fight you. We will fight you because we want stability and peace in Pakistan. You are on the run, and we know that. We defeated you in Swat and Malakand. And the brave soldiers and officers of the Pakistan army will defeat you in Waziristan. You think by attacking innocent people and lives, you will shake our determination? No, sir, you will not. We will be more determined to fight you and defeat you for our own reasons, because we have a vision for Pakistan, and that vision does not fall in line with what you stand for.

QUESTION: This is (inaudible) Urdu newspaper (inaudible). Sir, my question is that, Madame Secretary, the people of Pakistan have great regard for you and your beloved husband because in the year 2000, your husband, Bill Clinton, has visited Pakistan, and he had asked that General Pervez Musharraf not to (inaudible) the democratically elected prime minister of Pakistan (inaudible). After saying that, I want to put my question that whether you are aware of the fact the popularity graph (inaudible) of United States in Pakistan is going down day by day. So far as (inaudible) is concerned, the people of Pakistan, the parliament, the political leaders, as well as the military leadership, has shown its apprehension and concern. What steps you are going to take to remove these concerns, madame? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you. And thank you for your kind words about the visit that I made with Chelsea in 1995 and the visit that my husband made in 2000. I recently reread his address to the Pakistani people, and believe strongly that what he said then has to be built on and followed through on, which is what President Obama is trying to do now. And we are committed to that. We feel very strongly, as the foreign minister said, that the extremists and the terrorists who deploy violence have to be defeated wherever they are. We have lost a number of brave young American soldiers in Afghanistan in this last – in these last months. We have watched with admiration and sadness at the sacrifice of the Pakistani soldiers as well. But this is, as the foreign minister said, a fight that cannot be avoided.

These attacks on innocent people are cowardly. They are not courageous. They are cowardly. If the people behind these attacks were so sure of their beliefs, let them join the political process. Let them come forth to the people of Pakistan in this democracy and make their case that they don’t want girls to go to school, that they want women to be kept back, that they believe that they have all the answers and that the rest of us who are people of faith have none. Let them make that case in the political arena and see how far they would get. They know they are on the losing side of history, but they are determined to take as many lives with them as their movement is finally exposed for the nihilistic, empty effort that it is.

So for us who believe that there can be differences among us, as there are differences of background, experience, culture, religion – all the differences that make life interesting and varied – we are willing to put our beliefs on the line in a democratic political process and let the people decide. And I commend the democratic Government of Pakistan for taking on this fight because it is not an easy one to undertake.

We’re going to do everything we can to speak directly to the people of Pakistan, which is what I’m here to do, to try to reverse, as you say, some of these misperceptions. I feel very strongly about it. Where there are differences, let’s discuss them and air them as friends and partners do. But let’s not magnify our differences to the exclusion of our many areas of agreement and cooperation. And I have no comment on the article.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) from CNBC. First of all, just a compliment. You look very good in green.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: We know that Pakistan is now —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Could you hold that up? I can’t hear as well as I would like.

QUESTION: Can you hear me now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, much better.

QUESTION: Okay. (Inaudible) from CNBC. We know that we are fighting a war against extremism. In particular, in the last operation, there was a marked shift of mood in people towards Taliban, and that was a huge achievement. And now also today, we lost people on the street. We’re losing soldiers in the fight against Taliban. But then we hear confusing messages from American think tanks, where they say that the real enemy is al-Qaida and not really Taliban. For instance, recently, the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs also played down the threat from Taliban, saying that their capability is different from that of al-Qaida. And then, these confusing messages could also confuse a normal man in Pakistan, who have now made up their minds that the real enemy is Taliban. So who is the real enemy?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you for asking that. I mean, we view the extremists and the terrorists as part of a syndicate. They are connected. Al-Qaida has played a role in promoting the Taliban in Pakistan to go against the Pakistani Government, to attack the military headquarters. They cannot be separated at the leadership level. And similarly in Afghanistan, there is a very strong connection.

But what we are saying by the comments that you referred to is that in many conflicts, not just here but around the world, not everyone who picks up a gun is a committed terrorist. They might be a young man who is pushed into joining by people in his community or someone who in Afghanistan doesn’t have the way of making a livelihood, and therefore joins up because he gets paid for being a member. So we are very determined to root out the leadership and the lieutenants who are behind these kinds of attacks, who fund them, organize them, train people, recruit suicide bombers, that do what has caused such pain to the people of Pakistan and the people of Afghanistan.

But we are also open to those who change their minds, who renounce violence, are not connected with al-Qaida, and are willing to pursue their views in a peaceful, democratic manner. So that’s really what that means. Our resolve against the extremists is as strong as ever, and we are going to take measures against them that we believe will be more effective. So that’s what we’re trying to demonstrate and convey to people.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) from Dawn news. Are you satisfied with the steps Pakistan’s military is taking to take on Afghani network, Hekmatyar group and other such militants who are present, according to the U.S. military reports, in Pakistani territory? And do you agree with the definition of good Taliban?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, on the second part, what I was saying is really in response to that, that I don’t know about good, but I know that there are people who are caught up in the Taliban movement who may well be less than committed to any cause. They may not even be ideologically in line with what the leadership is doing, but find themselves there. And we’ve actually seen that happening on both sides of the border. I know from reports from your authorities here in Pakistan that in Swat there were people who came forth and said, “I was forced to be a Taliban. I’m not really one.” And in Afghanistan, people on the battlefield who say, “I don’t want to be part of this, but I had no choice.” So that’s what we mean. Let’s sort out the hard core and make sure we defeat them. But if there are people who wish to renounce violence and begin to get reintegrated back into society, we should at least be open to that and deal with it on a case-by-case, individual-by-individual basis.

Now, you mentioned some of the other networks that we find very troubling. But I think that the Government of Pakistan has been paying a lot of attention to all of these groups because there are connections among all of these groups. But of course, the fight in South Waziristan is of the paramount importance to the government and the people of Pakistan, and we understand that.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

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I am at work, so I do not have a lot of time to post, but the information is streaming in, so I am trying to get what I can out.

Hours after terror bombing, Clinton assures Pakistan: ‘This is our struggle as well’
Associated Press
10/28/09 6:35 AM PDT

ISLAMABAD — Offering sympathy for victims of Wednesday’s terrorist bombing, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised Pakistan’s offensive against extremists and pledged U.S. support at a critical point in the country’s history.

“Pakistan is in the midst of a struggle against tenacious and brutal extremist groups who kill innocent people and terrorize communities,” she told a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, just hours after a car bomb killed more than 90 people and wounded more than 200 at a Peshawar market, about a three-hour drive from the capital.

“I want you to know this fight is not Pakistan’s alone,” Clinton said. “These extremists are committed to destroying what is dear to us as much as they are committed to destroying that which is dear to you and to all people. So this is our struggle as well.”


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This interview was done on Monday, her birthday.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Interview transcript released October 28, 2009
Washington, DC
October 26, 2009

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say how pleased I am that I will be in Pakistan for my fifth visit. I came as First Lady, three times as a senator. This is my first time as a Secretary of State, but I am so looking forward to returning. And I want to help turn the page on the past in our relationship, and for me that’s not only about our government-to-government relationship, but people-to-people, where we look at each other as fellow human beings, where we learn from each other, we listen and really take in what are the experiences and the perspectives that the other brings. I am a very strong believer that that is part of what we’re trying to do in the Obama Administration. And both President Obama and I have Pakistani friends, Pakistan American friends, have a great affection and admiration for the culture and people. And what we want is to set our relationship on a firmer foundation.

So I share your hope that for a Pakistani here in the United States, or for an American in Pakistan, we will not have these misconceptions and these stereotypes that stand in the way of us seeing each other clearly. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect because we are two different peoples, two different nations. We have different expectations. But we can clear away a lot of the underbrush and begin to work closely together.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think by greater awareness, by doing what we are doing. For me, it is very important to recognize the sacrifice that the Pakistani people are making in this war against violent extremism. More Pakistanis have been killed, more civilians have been oppressed or intimidated, very brave military and government officials have lost their lives in this struggle that is a common struggle. And I think if we can begin to put it more in that context and recognize that the United States and Pakistan really do have a lot in common and it’s not only about the war against these violent extremisms. What do people in Pakistan want? Good jobs, good healthcare, good education for our children, energy that is predictable and reliable – the kinds of everyday needs that are really at the core of what Americans want. And the more we can draw those similarities, even though, of course, there will be differences, but let’s narrow the area of difference so that we can see how much more we have in common. That will begin to dissipate the fear.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think there may be three reasons for that, Anwar. One might very well be that it’s person-to-person. It’s not something that is part of a government policy. It is what you feel – and thank you for saying that, because I obviously believe Americans are really hospitable and warm and friendly and want to work with people and think the best of people. But that is hard to convey through the screen of everything that’s going on in the world today. I think that, unfortunately, that kind of everyday experience doesn’t make headlines. It doesn’t lead the news. What does is the conflict or the disagreements or the problems.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am certainly making an effort. That’s why I talk about people-to-people diplomacy, because for me, being Secretary of State is not just going somewhere and sitting in a government office or a conference room talking across the table to my counterparts in the government. I want to get out. I’ve been doing this around the world, taking questions not just from the press of the country I’m visiting, but from the people of the country, looking for ways to experience the culture and show respect for that. I hope on this trip I will be able to start that ball rolling, so to speak, so that maybe some in your country will say, no, I really didn’t have a good opinion before, I thought it was all about are you going to be with us or against us on the war on terrorism, but this is a new day. That’s why we’re turning a new page. And I hope part of what I can convey on my trip is exactly that message.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, well, that is deeply, deeply regrettable and troubling to me, especially since I think both President Obama and I present such a different face of America to the world. And we certainly have tried to convey a very specific message that as we look at the world today, there is a small minority of people, as there have been at other points in history, who are bent upon destruction, not building up but tearing down. And it is in all of our interest to join together against those who have such a violent approach, who don’t really share the values about how we want people to live together and how we want people to prosper together. It would be my most fervent desire that people in Pakistan would see their incomes rise, would see their businesses improve, would have the opportunity to make the future better for their children and their grandchildren. That’s what I want for all people. I came into politics out of a really a sense of my love for children and what I think we should be doing to enable each child anywhere in the world to live up to his or her God-given potential.

Now, politics will always be with us, but let’s call it what it is. There are some people who don’t share our view about what should happen with your triplets or with my child or with the children across Pakistan and America. They want to hold them back. They want to deny girls education. They want to prevent women from having an opportunity for healthcare and a better life and to have the future unlimited for themselves and their children. They don’t want to bring some of the benefits of modern life so that jobs are more plentiful and people can have a better prosperity.

So let us work together on where we can agree. Will there be disagreements? We have disagreements in our own country. We have disagreements within different parts of America. That’s not going away. People see the world differently. But let’s resolve to overcome those differences in every way possible and not to allow the differences to interfere with the vast majority of what we agree on.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, again, I think it doesn’t make news. I mean, the fact that I have good Pakistani friends going back to college, that I have very close Pakistani friends and Pakistani Americans are a big part of my life, that when Bill and I were in the White House our Pakistani friends would deliver Pakistani food so that we would enjoy —

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Absolutely. And we – it’s nothing unusual. See, I don’t go around saying, “Oh look at me, I have Pakistani friends.” They’re my friends. They happen to be Pakistani. They are people who we talk about their children. I go to weddings. I’m in their homes. So maybe I need to do a better job, and that’s what I hope to do on this trip, in making that person-to-person connection. I love the food, I wear shalwar kameezas. I mean, I want people to know that I am no stranger to Pakistan or Pakistani culture. I feel very grateful that I have such good friends whose families are from Pakistan, who they go back to visit on a regular basis. I want that to come across because, to me, that is all about how I can be the best Secretary of State for my country.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Which I still don’t understand. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, but I – it’s not being forced to. I mean, give me a seekh kabob and some gow (ph) and I’ll be a happy person.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: People do recite poetry.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, and also even the music. Some of the music that’s coming out of Pakistan now, some of the cultural facts that I like, some of the dancing that is traditional which I have seen in my prior visits which I enjoy, looking at some of the work that I’ve done in the past. I remember when Chelsea and I were there. My daughter had been studying Islamic history in her school here in Washington.

QUESTION: I remember. She was studying right from the Koran at the mosque here.

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right. We went to the Faisal mosque and had a really significant visit. I went to the Islamabad college for women and spent time in the cafeteria talking to the young women, listening to what they had to say. I visited a village in Lahore where I sat on the ground with a lot of the women of the village, and I heard them say to me what I could hear anywhere in America: I want my children educated, I want good healthcare for my children. So I feel such a sense of connection because of the fortunate experience I’ve had going all the way back to my college years of knowing people who love their country of Pakistan.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: (Inaudible.) So when you go to Pakistan, will you make an effort to connect with that (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, I do intend to make such an effort. And one of my Pakistani friends explained it to me in saying that our Islam is not what is being portrayed in the world media. And I want to do more to send that message back to the United States. And he also said that some of what has happened is that it’s almost as though there’s been a tumor injected into the Pakistani body, and it is a tumor that comes from outside of Pakistan, outside of Pakistan’s traditions, it is foreign to the body just as a tumor is foreign to the functioning of the body, and that people need to understand that the Pakistani people are fighting against that tumor. The very courageous efforts by your military, first in Swat, now in Waziristan, are to eject that foreign body, because it has unfortunately polluted some of the very good and positive features that are really part of what Pakistan is. I thought that was a fascinating description. I mean, I was born in the same year that Pakistan was born, and I —



QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s right. Thank you. Today happens to be my birthday. And so I know how difficult it has been for the Pakistani people to really understand what is being done to them. It is a foreign influence that has to be rejected. And the vast majority of Pakistanis reject it. The government is working to eliminate it, and we want to be your partner in making sure that the true character of Pakistan is conveyed.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, Benazir Bhutto was a friend of mine, someone whom I liked and admired so much and whose loss was not only a terrible loss for Pakistan but for the world. In a democracy, someone has to win and someone has to lose. I am old enough that I have lived through a number of different administrations in my own country. Some presidents I approved of. Some presidents I did not approve of. But democracy has to be more than just about personality. It has to be about building strong institutions. And clearly, there has to be checks and balances on any president, no matter who that president might be. But there are certain principles that should be sustainable through presidents you like and presidents you may have questions about. And I think that’s really all that we were intending to say is that to build the kind of strong, sustainable democracy that Pakistanis tell me they want, there has to be institution building.

But we’ve made it very clear that in Kerry-Lugar we’re not putting conditions on the Pakistani Government, we’re putting conditions on ourselves in evaluating our aid, like we do with the vast majority of our aid programs where we say are we getting what we would say is the kind of return on our investment that we would like to see. But the Pakistanis have their own ability to make decisions that they believe are obviously in the Pakistani interest. We respect territorial and sovereign capacity of Pakistan. Their sovereignty has to be respected. So we want to be a partner, not to in any way dictate but to assist. And that’s what we’re attempting to do.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I hope not. And I will be discussing that directly, as have other representatives of our government, both our Administration and the Congress, because that was certainly not the intention. We are providing a great deal of support to the Pakistani military in their courageous fight against the violent extremists, so we certainly want to have a positive relationship and there’s been a lot of outreach between the leaders of our military and the leaders of the Pakistani military and there seems to be a good base for cooperation between our militaries. So we do very much value the partnership and support that we are giving to the Pakistan military, and I hope that that will be the real story that comes out.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: We have been trying to accelerate our assistance for the Pakistani military. We both have bureaucracies. We know how it is sometimes that things get delayed or they’re slower than we want, but we’re really trying to accelerate everything we can to help the Pakistani military.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: That is a 100 percent. We believe that what the Pakistani military has done is in the best interest of Pakistan. It also is a conflict that we believe Pakistan has to win for Pakistan’s future.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is a risk, but I have a lot of confidence in the Pakistani military. I think that this is a very well thought out and well executed military campaign. We saw the success in Swat, and I think we’re seeing the results of this effort in Waziristan.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t discuss intelligence, but we are doing all that we can to be helpful to the Pakistani military.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, again, I think if one looks carefully at those provisions, they’re mostly about what our Defense Department is expected to do. They’re not really any kind of condition or restriction on the Pakistani military. But I do think it’s fair to point out that when the United States taxpayers provide money to any military, which we do in many places around the world, it is supposed to be for certain missions. I mean, there are many areas where a nation’s military would be proceeding on its own because something was very much in their own self-interest which we do not partner on, but where we partner there is a back and forth about what we can do to be helpful.

And that’s what we’re trying to do, and I think that the way that we’re supporting Pakistan is really unprecedented because we’re supporting not only the military, we’re trying to support the civilian side, because we very much admire what the military is doing in this fight against violent extremism, but we also want to help the government and the people of Pakistan with energy, electricity, job creation, education – the kinds of things that people who may not live in Waziristan but may live in Karachi or Lahore are saying, well, what’s in this for me, what am I going to get out of the relationship. And we want it to be a comprehensive strategic relationship.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s really a QUESTION that is hard to answer because a lot of military equipment is fungible. I mean, it’s mobile. It can be used in different places. But what we see as the direct threat to Pakistan right now comes from the violent extremism. Obviously, we are hopeful that there will be a resumption of dialogue between Pakistan and India, because I think the threat that Pakistan faces is a threat that could destabilize the entire region. And what we want to do is to help Pakistan really finally eliminate that threat. And what we hope is that on the ongoing challenges between India and Pakistan that that can be handled politically and it would never come to any kind of military action.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we’re just beginning to understand the best ways to fight that war. Clearly, those who are suicide bombers, who blow up military headquarters, who attack cricket players – I mean, what kind of life is that? What does that have to offer to anyone? So we do need to take them on and we need to take them on in the most effective possible fashion.

But we also know that if people can’t send their children to a good primary school, if there aren’t secondary schools for children to go to once they get out of primary school, if there is not the kind of future for the economy, well, that breeds a level of dissatisfaction and discontent that could be radicalized, not just in Pakistan but across the world. So the military response must go hand-in-hand with the political and the economic responses. So what we are trying to do is, in working with Pakistan, to integrate those so that people feel that it’s – our relationship is not just based on the immediate threat from the violent extremists, but that the United States wants to see a prosperous, peaceful future for Pakistan. And that goes to what we can do together to help people who are in need of the support that we want to offer.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s a really important point, Anwar, because what I would like to see us do is to reach out more again to people culture-to-culture. I would like artists and academics to come from Pakistan to the United States, and I want more from the United States to go to Pakistan. I also think we should be using the internet. We should be using cell phone technology. Maybe we can’t have the physical presence that we would like in some places as we previously did. We can have the virtual presence. We can do much more through the media to counter some of the myths and the misperception. That’s really our responsibility. And a few weeks ago, our new public diplomacy under secretary, Judith McHale, was in Pakistan meeting with people, and she heard some of the criticism, like you’re not present, you’re not responsive, you don’t reach out again. And many people would say things like when I was in college or university there was much more free exchange between the United States and Pakistan. That seems to have diminished. We want to rebuild that.

And I think your point is a very strong one. We want people to see America in its fullness – the generosity of spirit, the fact that we have gone to war to protect Muslim lives many times in the last 15 years. We believe strongly that Islam is an extraordinary religion that deserves the support and the protection that should come with people being able to stand up and say I’m a proud Muslim and I’m a proud Pakistani and I am in favor of peace and coexistence. I mean, we want to see that. And we can’t leave the arena to the extremists who intimidate and oppress people.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, Morocco and Tunisia were among the very first countries to recognize us.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: (Inaudible.)


QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I hope that nothing. I hope that we’re going to be much more effective. I can’t speak for the past because I wasn’t in this position, but we’ve done some very good series here in the United States which you may have seen about Muslims in America. I would love to have those translated and shown on television in Pakistan. I would like for people to know on a person-to-person basis that not only have we had mosques that go back hundreds of years in our country, but we have a very vibrant Muslim community in America. It represents every aspect of our life. I have so many Muslim Americans who work for me.

QUESTION: But is there a fear of (inaudible) at home? Recently, there was a press conference on the Hill against Muslim Americans who (inaudible) and they also published a book saying that this is a conspiracy (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that was ridiculous, and I totally reject that. Now, I think because we both have big countries, we’re going to have people on the extremes in all walks of life, including in elected life, who say things that are just out of bounds. And they have to be rejected and they have to be absolutely repudiated.

But what we have to do is a better job of having the majority of Americans speaking to the majority of Pakistanis. And that’s what I hope to do. I hope this trip can be an important milestone in turning the page on our relationship so we are on a much stronger basis going forward.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m very committed to improving trade. I support the reconstruction opportunity zone legislation. I went up and spoke to 52 senators a few days ago, stressing the importance of that legislation. So I’m going to do everything I can. And we want to help with some of the infrastructure issues that will assist the economy, like reliable, predictable electricity, like some of the roads and the ports and other kinds of infrastructure that will really lift up the Pakistani economy.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) What message are you taking (inaudible)? Did the President give you a message? Was there anything specific (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m taking not only the very warmest wishes of President Obama, who has a longtime personal connection to Pakistan and Pakistani friends, and I think in an interview with you he talked about how much he loves Pakistani food and even cooking it up from time to time. But I’m taking his hope with me that we can really break through some of the misperceptions, some of the stereotyping, misinformation that has plagued our relationship. Let’s get back to a really strong basis where we can work with one another, we will listen more closely to one another and consult and have this strategic partnership really build more into the future and create benefits for both of our people.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the President will have more to say about that. I don’t want to preempt my President, but I know how hard he’s working on it.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. Good to see you.

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She is already addressing her media agenda in Pakistan.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Interview released on October 28, 2009
Washington, DC
October 26, 2009

QUESTION: Pakistan being a front-line state in war against terror has often been described by the U.S. policymakers an important ally of Washington. However, recent reaction in Pakistan over the Kerry-Lugar bill has suggested that there’s a wide gap between how the things are being understood in Washington and how the efforts are being interpreted in Islamabad.

Today, we have with us U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is about to embark on a journey to Pakistan, which many believe will be perhaps one of the most important trips since she assumed the office of Secretary of State.

Madame Secretary, thank you very much for being with us today, and before we start, I would like to say Happy Birthday to you and coming to the point, tell us – this is not your first trip to Pakistan, but as a Secretary of State, is it the first trip. How are you feeling and what you will be focusing during this trip?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Sami, and of course, it is my birthday. Pakistan and I are the same age. (Laughter.) And so I am very much looking forward to my visit. It will be my fifth trip – one trip as First Lady, three trips as a senator, and now my first trip as Secretary of State. And I am very much looking forward to it.

I think it’s important for our two countries to be consulting closely together. It is my hope to turn the page to start a new era in relationships between Pakistan and the United States. And of course, personally, it is such a pleasure for me. I have many Pakistani friends, Pakistani American friends, and I’m looking forward to returning.

QUESTION: Before your trip, there was announcements by Ambassador Holbrooke and there was also a task force to set up U.S. assistance to overcome energy crisis in Pakistan. Would you tell us, will there be any announcements in this regard? Or another thing which Pakistan needs these days is the investment.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you are right on both counts, and that’s why I’m talking about turning the page on our relationship, because we want to work with the people and Government of Pakistan to help realize some of the desires and needs that the people of Pakistan have told us about. And at the top of that list, of course, are things like energy, particularly electricity that is reliable for not only residential use, but commercial use – things like jobs, improving the economy and the investment environment.

It is our very strong hope that we can be a partner with Pakistan. Of course, Pakistan must chart its own future. It must have its sovereignty respected. But it is, I hope, a way for us to work with the people and government to say what the people of Pakistan want is what people everywhere want – a good job, a good education for children, healthcare, energy needs met. And that’s what I’m coming to offer.

QUESTION: Coming to the Kerry-Lugar bill, it was meant, as U.S. officials say, to give support to the people of Pakistan, but the way things have laid out, there is skepticism in Pakistan, as in many Pakistanis believe that perhaps still the position of conditions in the bill reflect that U.S. does not trust Pakistani security forces and does not believe that Pakistan is a trustworthy partner in war on terror.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me respond, and I appreciate you raising it, because there has been some misinformation that I hope to remedy. First, the sacrifices that the people of Pakistan are making in the struggle against violent extremism are extraordinary – the courage of your military, the very determined effort that is going on as we speak to root out those extremists who threaten the lives and the livelihood and the property and the future of Pakistan. And I am extremely impressed and admiring of this effort.

Secondly, what we intended with Kerry-Lugar was to offer more help than has ever been offered to Pakistan on the civilian side, so that some of these very legitimate needs that people have spoken to me about for quite some time, about how to make sure that Pakistan fulfills its own destiny, is what really is behind what we are attempting to do with Kerry-Lugar. And I appreciate the effort that’s been made to clarify that information.

And thirdly, there are no conditions on Pakistan. There are conditions that we place on ourselves. There are really questions that we ask that we ask in most of the aid programs that we provide over many years, so that we are sure that we have the best partnership and that we are providing the assistance that is most usable.

So I think if we can clarify what we are attempting to do, which is really in response to what the people in Pakistan have told us over many years and this government has told us, I believe that there can be no doubt that we are not in any way attempting to dictate to the Pakistani Government or military that we are not in any way infringing on territorial sovereignty, that we are trying to move our relationship into the same category that we have with other countries so that we can be of assistance to the people of Pakistan as you chart your own future.

QUESTION: Well, there were certain reports, comments on the Kerry-Lugar bill, and one comment was that with this bill, perhaps the U.S. is making an effort to halt Pakistan’s nuclear program, and specifically they mentioned one clause which says that – the information or access to those who are in the process of acquiring nuclear material. Now, people in Pakistan say that acquiring the nuclear material does not fall in proliferation. But still, that was mentioned in the bill, and they believe that that clause was not aimed at stopping proliferation, but perhaps to halt the nuclear program of Pakistan.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is not at all what is intended or what had been assumed in the process of this legislation. First, let me say that we have confidence in the Pakistani Government, in the military, in their efforts to safeguard Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. We have absolutely no reason to doubt the very strong measures that Pakistan has taken.

But we are concerned about proliferation, and I believe Pakistan should be concerned about proliferation. What would happen if some terrorist went off to somewhere else in the world and acquired material to detonate a bomb that had nuclear material in it? It would be devastating, whether it happened in Pakistan, Afghanistan, in the Middle East, in Europe, the United States. I think all people who know the importance of making sure that this material is not proliferated into the wrong hands should agree with us, but that has nothing to do with our confidence in the Pakistani program.

QUESTION: Let’s talk about war on terror. Right now, Pakistan forces, they have started operation in Waziristan. But there was a concern in Pakistan that when they started this operation (inaudible), they abolished their check post by Afghan borders. Was there any specific reasons for that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, not at all. I’m not aware of that, but I know for my information, that we are very impressed with the actions being taken by the Pakistani military. This appears to be at a very well planned and implemented effort to try to go after those who threaten Pakistan.

I think your question is part of a broader concern; how do we try to prevent the movement back and forth across the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan so that we are not threatening the people of Pakistan, because people in northern Pakistan take refuge on the Afghan side of the border, or vice versa, so that people don’t take refuge inside Pakistan. So I think that that is – that remains a very high priority. I don’t know about specific military decisions, but I do know that the Obama Administration is committed in the effort against the Afghan Taliban, just as we see Pakistan going after elements of the Pakistani Taliban that threaten Pakistan.

QUESTION: Well, you weren’t the first one who said very openly that it is time that the U.S. must engage in conversation with those groups of Taliban who are willing to disassociate themself from al-Qaida. Tell us, is there any progress on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do believe that as part of a broad strategy of engagement with the people in Afghanistan, there has to be an effort to determine who that calls himself a Taliban is willing to engage in the political process instead of engage in terrorism and violence. Because it’s our information that there are people on both sides of the border who get caught up in the intimidation and the press by the hard core extremists, and that they’re not committed ideologically. They feel compelled to participate.

What we want to do is separate those out, and we’re going to engage in that, and we look to the Government of Pakistan – particularly the military and the intelligence services – to help guide us in that.

QUESTION: Well, does it apply on the Pakistani Taliban also?

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s up to the Pakistanis. I mean, that is something that the Government of Pakistan has to determine.

QUESTION: The biggest problem which seems at the moment is the deficit of trust between the two governments. And until so far, what has been done apparently doesn’t look like it’s working because the recent area report suggested that the majority of Pakistanis don’t trust Americans; in the same way, majority of American people doesn’t trust Pakistan.

Is there any new strategy you are working on? What do you think? What should be done to achieve that goal?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think both President Obama and I are committed to broadening and deepening our relationship with Pakistan. And we see it as not only a government-to-government relationship, or a military-to-military, intelligence-to-intelligence, but a people-to-people relationship.

I think with President Obama and myself, you have two people who are very fond of the Pakistani culture, like to eat Pakistani food, have enjoyed, in my case, in wearing shalwar kameezs, who have friends, longstanding friends going back to college in both the case of the President and myself. And we deeply regret that there is misunderstanding and that there may not be the kind of relationship that we would like to see, which is why I am very consciously trying to turn the page.

Now it doesn’t happen overnight; it is something that has to be earned and built on. But I believe in the last nine months, we have seen an improvement. It may not yet have spread across the entire population of either of our countries, but I know that in our working with your government, we are developing personal relationships in every aspect – the civilian, military, intelligence side. I think we’re having a level of candor and openness that may not have ever been present before.

I’m looking forward to restarting the strategic dialogue between the United States and Pakistan because it’s not just about fighting terrorism. Of course we both care about that. When I see these horrible bombs and attacks in Islamabad or Lahore, it just makes me sick. It just hurts me. And so, yes, we do have a joint common interest in preventing those who would rather destroy than construct a better future.

But it’s not just about that. It is about energy and business and investment and education and healthcare, things that are very close to my heart. So I hope through this trip, not only in my formal meetings but in getting out in the country, meeting with the people, answering direct questions from the Pakistani press and the Pakistani people, we can begin to build a stronger relationship.

QUESTION: As you talk about stronger relationship and a level of trust, we see statements and also conversations which are in the newspapers that Pakistani security forces, they are wanted to do operation in Waziristan (inaudible), but there was shortage of supply of military equipment which was not being provided by the United States. And also, there was a complaint by the Pakistanis that the reimbursements under the CSF are very delayed and almost now $2 billion which are pending. And these things, according to Pakistani forces, are hampering the war on terror.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we inherited a system which we are working to change. With respect to the reimbursements, we are trying to expedite and streamline that process. We have an obligation to the American taxpayer, because in effect, we’re saying to people who live and work in Chicago or in Los Angeles, you have to help us to help Pakistan. And so we do have a reimbursement accountability schedule which we use with everyone around the world.

But I think under the circumstances of what the Pakistan military is attempting to do – and one of the examples that the Pakistani military has given to us is that when people in the military are out in Swat or Waziristan, they may go to a farmer and buy some sheep in order to slaughter them and eat them. Well, the farmer doesn’t have a receipt book. (Laughter.) And so when we get something for reimbursement to help the troops who are on the ground fighting the bad guys, as we call them, we just have to work this out.

But it is not in any way specifically about Pakistan or in any way meant to be misconstrued. And that’s what I want to get across to the people of Pakistan, is that we both have governments with bureaucracies. Heaven knows they’re not the easiest things to move and make do what they should do. But we are very committed to this relationship. And so when we hear things like that, we try to remedy them – maybe not as fast as we would like, but we do try to respond.

QUESTION: Another issue which is very important to the region is relations between India and Pakistan. President Obama, when he was campaigning as candidate, he discussed the (inaudible) Kashmir issue. But after his presidency, we haven’t seen anything on that front. And many in Pakistan believe unless you start on the Kashmir issue, a durable peace is not possible in the region and relations between India and Pakistan will not be normalized.

What is your take on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me stress that our relationship to India is a separate relationship from our relationship to Pakistan. We want to have two solid bilateral relationships. We believe that we have very important interests with Pakistan and with India. Now it would be a very important step for both India and Pakistan to work to resolve their differences.

But we believe that the most durable possible outcomes of any kind of resolution or normalization can only come from the two countries themselves – developing more trust, more confidence-building measures, and working toward resolving. There was some very good work done in the last several years which we encouraged and we watched with admiration – the bus routes being open, for example.

So we are going to encourage and hope that we can see that occurring again, because at the end of the day, Sami, my view is that India and Pakistan have so much more to gain by working through their very difficult relationship. It will help improve trade and investment and it will create a better opportunity for Pakistan to prosper and progress, and that’s what I hope will happen.

QUESTION: In Sharm el-Sheikh, the prime minister of India and prime minister of Pakistan, they met and then a declaration came out in which both prime ministers said that there will be dialogue and they will be discussing issues, particularly it was mentioned about Balochistan, because many Pakistani believe that India is behind the insurgency over there.

Do you have any information or is there any information which your intelligence people are telling you about that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t discuss intelligence, but let me say that I think it’s very important to follow up on what happened in Sharm el-Sheikh. And we would encourage that because the air needs to be cleared and a very open understanding should exist.

QUESTION: And let me ask you this thing, that there’s a review going on in – about Afghan policy. Do you think – how much more time it will take before the new policy is announced?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I know that the President has undertaken a very thorough review, which I applaud, because I think it’s such an important decision. But of course, the Afghan election is a very critical milestone. So I would bet that it would be somewhere in the vicinity, but I don’t know when – after the Afghan election, before or after, somewhere in that area.

QUESTION: Many in Pakistan believe that the United States will be in Afghanistan for a very long time. So do you see an open-ended military escalation over there?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think that open-ended is at all what the President is looking to. I think what he’s looking to is how do we define the mission and make progress so that we can provide more stability and security for the people of Afghanistan, prevent the spillover from Afghanistan into Pakistan, work jointly with Afghanistan and Pakistan together against the extremist threat which threatens all of us, and I think that’s how he’s looking at it.

And he’ll have more to say. I don’t want to preempt my President. He’ll have more to say when he makes the announcement.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, thank you very much for talking to us, and we wish you best of luck in your trip to Pakistan.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m so much looking forward to it. Thank you very much.

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As we figured.

Daily Appointments Schedule for October 28, 2009

Washington, DC
October 28, 2009



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Well we know the Secretary of State will visit Pakistan “soon” (according to State Department officials). Although some foreign news organizations have posted a date for this visit, I shall not because I still believe it is a security issue.

We also know that she will be in Morocco November 2 and 3. According to this article: Clinton due in Israel on Sunday for talks with Netanyahu the October visit to Israel will be made in between the other two. This article places the Morocco visit before Israel, but according to the October 21, 2009 State Department press release, her visit to Morocco will take place after Israel on Monday and Tuesday of next week.


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