ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) criticised the government for not taking parliament into confidence before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s official visit to the United States.
“Questions remain as to what truths will be told by both sides and what will be bargained in Washington,” Senator Sherry Rehman remarked while talking to reporters on Wednesday.
Sherry, who is currently vice-president of the PPP, claimed that her party always had a clear policy and never played games on issues of foreign policy and national interest.
“Washington is always considered a key capital for Islamabad, and the bilateral agenda may have benefitted with more robust advice from political parties and resource-persons in Pakistan,” she said, adding that the PPP government always discussed issues of vital national importance such as this with parliament.
The PPP leader said while the foreign office has clarified on the nuclear discussion, one hopes that Pakistan’s position on its deterrence posture will be discussed with clarity.
Senator Sherry Rehman, who has also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to US in the PPP government, stressed important questions about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan and the scale of American security assistance to Kabul need to be addressed during the PM Nawaz’s meeting with President Obama.
“Afghanistan is a sovereign country, and it must make its own terms for peace. Pakistan can only play a supportive role,” she noted.
America, the PPP senator said, has also provided a great deal of non-loan grant aid to Pakistan over a certain period and there must be some level of appreciation for that, although much of it has been disbursed unwisely.
“In any case, now it is time to bring up what Pakistan really needs, which is access to the US markets for our goods and visas for our students,” she said, adding, “Right now, under the new US-driven Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Far East, Pakistan may lose many of its existing exports given that the US is our largest bilateral trading partner.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.