Rabbani voices worries over US stance towards Pakistan

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad—Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani has said that the parliament of Pakistan has serious reservations over the way the United States is conducting its relations with Pakistan. In his remarks after holding an adjournment motion moved by Mohsin Khan Leghari about the issue of withdrawal of subsidy on sale of F-16s to Pakistan in the Senate on Wednesday, he said the relationship is tilted in favour of strategic and national interests of the United States in the region. He said the parliament also has reservations over the fact that the US calls Pakistan a strategic partner but its relationship is tilted towards India.
Washington not only entered into civilian nuclear deal with India but turned around on the question of F-16s citing, among others, reservations of India over the deal. The Chairman said the Parliament has also concerns that the United States does not respect Pakistani law and courts as was evident from Raymond Davis episode and the issue of Shakeel Afridi.
Chairman Senate asked the Government to address these concerns of the Parliament. Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz proposed that the adjournment motion of Senator Leghari may be discussed tomorrow so that the Government responds to points raised about Pakistan-US relationship. Earlier the house was informed that an Agriculture and Food Security Policy has been finalized to address issues facing the sector. Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said that after its approval a National Food Security Strategy would also be prepared. Replying to a question, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said a system has been introduced to evaluate performance of Pakistani missions abroad on the basis of given targets.
He said focus during the last three year has been on promotion of trade and economic relations besides community services. To another question, the Advisor said Pakistan has adopted a quite liberal visa policy for Iran and its businessmen are usually given visas in just one or two days. He said Iranian Embassy and Consulate in Pakistan have a longer list of requirements for visa including insurance cover, medical test, sponsorship letter, personal interview, bank statements and higher visa fee. He, however, said the two countries have agreed to facilitate visa procedures for businessmen and transport drivers. Pakistani authorities are pursuing the Iranian side for early implementation of this decision.

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