Shift in the US Policy on Pakistan
By Our Correspondent, Dawn, March 11, 2008
WASHINGTON, March 10: The White House said on Monday that the United States was willing to work with whichever government was formed in Pakistan but did not have a position on who should or should not be included in this government.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said that Washington was watching the developments in Pakistan with interest, but regarded this as an internal matter.
“We obviously watch the situation with interest, but I will tell you that this is the Pakistanis working through their democratic process,” she told a news briefing at the White House.
“Obviously we’ve had good relations with Pakistan in the past several years, we fully expect that to continue but we are not going to comment on what they should or should not do as they work through their process,” she added.
The spokeswoman was responding to a question on the PPP and PML-N’s decision to form a coalition government in Islamabad.
At the State Department, spokesman Sean McCormack took a similar stance when asked to comment on the PPP-PML-N’s resolve to restore the judiciary to its pre-Nov 3 status.
“This is a question for Pakistani political system to resolve among the actors involved in that system, it should be resolved within the context of Pakistani laws and constitution,” he said.
The United States, he said, “looks forward to working with whatever government is eventually formed, and we look forward to working with all members of any Pakistani government on the issues of mutual concern”.
A big part of the US national interests in Pakistan, he said, involved the fight against terrorism “and we will continue to pursue” that goal.
The United States had no stance on the restoration of judiciary, Mr McCormack said.
“It is not for us to oppose or to support,” he added. “It is a decision solely for the Pakistani people and those political leaders in the political process to decide, not for us to comment in one way or the other.”
During a recent visit to Washington, a lawyers’ delegation from Pakistan noted that while the United States does not hesitate to comment on political developments in the country, US officials do refuse to take any position on the judicial dispute.