Express Tribune, July 5, 2012
Nato routes: No â€˜secretâ€™ deal with US, says Sherry Rehman
KARACHI: A day after Pakistan reopened Nato transit routes, Pakistanâ€™s top diplomat in Washington quashed rumours of a secret deal with the United States. In an exclusive interview with Munizae Jahangir of Express News, Ambassador Sherry Rehman lauded the US for what she called â€˜strategic patienceâ€™ and said the decision was an â€˜important milestone in bilateral relationsâ€™ of the two countries.
She added that no â€˜secretâ€™ deals had been cut and that the governmentâ€™s move to refer â€œmatters of national security to Parliament for the first time in the countryâ€™s historyâ€ was meant to bring it under public scrutiny. Ambassador Rehman said the words â€˜regretâ€™ and â€˜condolencesâ€™ were put forward many times by the US, but that â€œsorry is what we had asked forâ€.
Asked whether the US apology was conditional and contrary to Pakistanâ€™s earlier demands, she said the Salala tragedy was clearly mentioned as the reason for the hiatus in bilateral relations and that makes it â€˜meaningful to Pakistanâ€™. While the opposition has criticised the government for not taking into account the parliamentary recommendations which include calling off the drone campaign, she said such a backlash was inevitable in a â€˜large democracy such as oursâ€™. She said that in the past decisions on national security were taken by the executive behind closed doors â€“ but â€œwe not only gave due deference, but also spent a lot of time trying to develop a consensus with Parliamentâ€.