Nawaz Sharif’s role is limited, ISI decides key Pakistan policies says Former U.S. diplomat
Zalmay Khalilzad, who was born in Afghanistan, moved to the US as a teenager and rose to be President George W Bush’s points man for Afghanistan and Iraq, post-9/11 attacks. He was more than the eyes and ears of Washington DC; as a backroom man armed with extensive contacts, knowledge and cultural instincts, he was part of the nation-building exercise in these two volatile countries.
In his recently-published memoirs, The Envoy, Khalilzad shares his insights and offers a way ahead. Pakistan, he says, remains a spoiler as it provided sanctuary to Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, and President Bush ignored his (Khalilzad’s) requests to put additional pressure on Pakistan to deliver
Former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad alleged on Friday, that it is the military and the ISI in Pakistan that decide the key foreign and national security policies and not Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Answering about the political vacuum in Pakistan following Nawaz Sharif’s ill-health, Khalilzad told reporters, “There is a vacuum clearly, but on critical issues of national security I think the PM’s role, as the case has been with other civilian leaders, is very limited. It is the military and ISI that decide the key foreign and national security policies.”
The Former U.S. Diplomat also showed a strict stance against Pakistan by saying that Washington should suspend all assistance to Pakistan, until it changes its policy of ‘supporting terrorism’.
“All assistance from the U.S. to Pakistan needs to be suspended including, assistance from multinational originations such as IMF, till Pakistan changes its policy on support for extremism and terror” said Khalizad.
Khalilzad also pointed out that there have been some changes in the U.S. policy towards Islamabad, the drone attack was a shot across the bow for Pakistan’s generals. It had a clear message. If we can do that with Mullah Mansour (the successor of Mullah Omar was killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province in May), we can surely tackle the other Taliban leaders. It was a very powerful message. We will not stop from crossing into Pakistan to kill them. In terms of reduction of assistance including the Washington’s refusal to subsidize the deal of F-16 jets to Pakistan.
Khalizad further said “U.S. should work with other countries to get them to cut off assistance to Pakistan and US should use its voting rights and influence on IMF not to renew support for Pakistan.”
The former diplomat added that Islamabad needs to be fearful of becoming the next North Korea, implying its isolation from the world.
“Pakistan has to be threatened with prospect for becoming another North Korea and isolated from the world. That might help Pakistan reconsider its approach” said Khalizad.
He also mentioned that there are people in Pakistan who understand that the country needs to change its policies.
Khalilzad said “There are some voices in Pakistan saying they are too isolated in the world and we need to change our policies. I hope …that Pakistan will listen to those voices.”
Replying about a question on Pakistan’s inaction against Hafiz Saeed and asking for more evidence for the 26/11 attacks even after India provided many evidences, Khalizad said, “That is a mistake by Pakistan. India and US should speak and co-operate each other against terrorism.”