Television Roundtable with Pakistani Journalists
Television Roundtable with Pakistani
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Pakistani National Council of the Arts
July 19, 2010
MR. PIRZADA: As-Salam Alaikum to all of you. Nine months after her first interaction with Pakistani media and civil society, United States Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Clinton is back here. But I am afraid she’s coming back to a slightly different, somewhat boring Pakistan. Today, hardly anyone is talking of Blackwaters or the Americans running away with Pakistani nukes. There appears to be increasing degree of trust and stability in U.S.-Pakistan relationship. And I suspect it has something to do with the sustained, high-level interaction and engagement of Secretary Clinton’s team and Obama Administration has done with Pakistan’s political leadership, with Pakistan’s media, and Pakistan’s civil society.
But we have many more issues. Today, we are still concerned about the nature of the Strategic Dialogue, about this unending conflict and war in Afghanistan. We are concerned about market access and trade issues. And we are worried about water and its relationship with India. And we’re worried about an eroding nuclear parity in South Asia. But I am sure, true to her spirit, Secretary Clinton will take these issues head on.
On behalf of you, on behalf of the people of Pakistan, I extend a very warm welcome to Secretary Clinton. Secretary Clinton, welcome back.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Well, it is wonderful to be back, and thank you once again for providing this opportunity, for members of the press to ask questions and give me the chance to respond, and I appreciate your words of welcome, and also your brief assessment of where we are in the Strategic Dialogue. Boring is good. (Laughter.) Doing the hard work of finding ways to deepen and broaden our relationship, to set some goals and then slowly, but steadily work to achieve them was really my hope when we began the Strategic Dialogue. And I really relish this chance to report on the progress we’ve made so far.
MR. PIRZADA: Thank you, Secretary. Now, with your permission, let me introduce you to the panelists. This is a new panel, a younger panel. Some of these people you have met before.
Let me introduce – to your right is Anwar ul-Hasan. Anwar ul-Hasan, he’s the lead anchor for the Straight Broadcast of PTV. He has his program, which has the reputation of the longest running current affairs program on PTV. He’s also PTV’s diplomatic correspondent.
Next to Anwar is Sanna Bucha. Sanna is executive producer and anchor person for Geo Television. She is a woman of crisis. She loves crisis management. (Laughter.) Her program is called Crisis Cell. And she has also been writing and working with the English magazine, Newsline.
Next to Sana is Mazhar Abbass. Mazhar brings more than 30 years of experience with print and electronic media in Pakistan. He has been secretary general of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. He is currently deputy director news with ARY television network and presents his own program called Do Tok.
To my left is Mehar Bokhari. Mehar is an emerging new talent in this country. She is the lead anchor person for Samaa Television and she’s also senior producer for Samaa Television.
Next to Mehar is Nadeem Malik. Nadeem is director of programs with AAJ Television. He also presents his own program, Islamabad Tonight. And let me also tell you that Nadeem has been an anchor person with CNBC Pakistan, which is Pakistan’s first business television channel. And in Nadeem’s program, there’s always an economic policy angle because of his background.
And next to Nadeem is Munizae Jehangir. She is a producer and anchor person for Pakistan’s only English television channel, Express 24/7, and you would remember her from Washington when we both had the opportunity of meeting and interviewing you at the first round – in the previous round with the Strategic Dialogue.
So let me also tell you that this program – we’re very grateful to the Straight Broadcast of PTV for helping us to organize all this. But it’s a contribution from all seven major networks in Pakistan.
But I have a very simple question for you. We met in Washington when you kick-started the previous round of the Strategic Dialogue and 13 working groups were created. We keep on hearing about the Strategic Dialogue, the buzz word. What exactly have we achieved in the last many months?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think we’ve achieved three things. The first is to create a mechanism for a broader commitment to the partnership that the Obama Administration seeks with Pakistan. And there were many ways of thinking about doing that. But we decided that rather than just have a series of meetings where officials talked with one another, we would go deeper and we would set up a Strategic Dialogue, which now has 13 working task forces, which is on a very, very fast track. You probably are getting sick of American officials coming for the meetings with their counterparts, but it is a demonstration of the seriousness with which we are pursuing the Strategic Dialogue.
Secondly, there have already been some positive results. This morning, I announced some major energy, electricity projects, major water projects, which I have to add is in the Strategic Dialogue because of what I heard here last October. Water was a constant –
QUESTION: Big issue.
SECRETARY CLINTON: – subject that was raised with me. And before I came, I didn’t realize the seriousness. Now, of course, I do and we have announced a number of water projects which will be of significance in the future, and in health and education, agriculture, and so much else. We’re actually putting some meat on the bones of the Strategic Dialogue.
But thirdly, there’s another element to it. From the very beginning, I have said we don’t want this just to be a dialogue between government officials; we want this to be a people-to-people dialogue, which is why I have had these media opportunities, which you all have graciously set up. I’ve reached out in town halls. I’ve met with business leaders, academics, and others, because the best way to anchor a relationship that is based on mutual understanding, mutual respect, and mutual trust is to develop many connections, because we both have democratically elected governments. We won’t have the same elected leaders in the future. Hopefully, in our case, not till after 2012, but you have to recognize that we want to set up a framework that stands the test of time so that presidents may come and go, other leaders, but we want this relationship to continue to flourish.
MR. PIRZADA: Okay, who wants to ask the first –
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, regarding your – one of your second points regarding water, now I understand that the Obama Administration wanted the Kashmir dispute to be resolved as soon as possible so that Pakistan would focus on the western front. But the fact of the matter is, unfortunately, the Indians have neither taken your encouragement or persuasion regarding Kashmir. Kashmir, it still stands unresolved, but another potentially catastrophic dispute which is now coming up is water. Sixty-two years we’ve debated with Kashmir, but with water we can’t – I don’t think we can wait for more than even five years. I want to know that what would be the role that the United States of America would play if there would be – which it seems like – an imminent regional confrontation?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that we recognize the importance of the water issue. And the way that Pakistan and India agreed back in the 1960s to allocate water out of the Indus River was the attempt at that time to try to regularize access to water. It is a program that has a built-in dispute resolution mediation mechanism, which we still think has a lot of promise.
However, we have now done an in-depth study. And what we have learned is that while you have a right to be concerned about future impediments to access to the water that the treaty provides, there’s a more immediate necessity for Pakistan to do a better job of managing its own water. The waste of water is extraordinary. Ninety-two to ninety four percent of your water – clean water – goes into agriculture. It is not used efficiently.
One of our projects, which we announced today, is to work with farmers to make more efficient use of the water. You have a system – the most extensive system of canals for irrigation and transportation of water anywhere in the world, but they’ve been neglected. They have fallen into disuse. And that’s not something that you can let stand. You have to address that. So we are helping you address that.
QUESTION: I’m so sorry, but what I just mean is that, you mean that – you’re talking about the Indus Water Commission. That’s already been violated, whether we talk of Baglihar Dam, whether we talk about the potential diversion of the Kabul River, which is, again, 25 percent of our river as well. Are you willing to play a regional role regarding this hostile confrontation which we’re all worried about?
MR. PIRZADA: I think what she actually means, will you be able to mediate on the issue of water between India and Pakistan? I think confrontation is not the right thing, but the cities --
QUESTION: If it adds up to that, which is what we fear.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well –
MR PIRZADA: The conflict. The tension.
SECRETARY CLINTON: – but first I want to – from our perspective, we want to clarify what the problem is, because it’s not that there may not be some serious issues that need to be mediated.
But Pakistan has to get control of the water you currently have. Because if you go to a commission or if you go to some other mediation body and you say, “Water is being diverted.” The first response will be, “You’re not efficiently using the water you have, so how can you say whether it’s being diverted.”
So what we have concluded in working with your water experts – and I have a list of the kinds of projects we’re doing – is that the most important thing is to rehabilitate the existing water system to construct more water storage. We’re doing that in Jacobabad and Peshawar municipal water to work to improve the capacity of local authorities, because we held, in this Strategic Dialogue, the first meeting ever in Pakistan of national and provincial and local water authorities Because they’re not talking to each other and they’re not providing the kind of roadmap that is needed. So we’re doing dam irrigation projects and high efficiency irrigation projects.
So, my point is not that there will not be disputes; there very well may be, because the 21st century, I fear, will have many disputes over water across the world.
MR. PIRZADA: Unfortunately.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And it’s something that we are trying to avoid. But in order to go into any mediation, we’ve got to work together to fix the existing system inside Pakistan so that whoever the mediators are, they don’t say, “Well, come back when you’ve gotten your own usage more efficient and you’ve fixed your canals and you’ve fixed your irrigation, et cetera.”
QUESTION: So the Council of Common Interest has identified the Bhasha Dam or the building of Bhasha Dam as crucial to their water program. If asked, would you fund it?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are funding – the ones that we have listed today are the ones that were at the top of the priority list that we were provided. And what we’re trying to do is not substitute our judgment for anybody else’s judgment in Pakistan. What we want to do is respond to the needs that have been identified. So we’re going to be looking at all of the needs and trying to figure out how to prioritize the funding among them.
QUESTION: And that includes Bhasha Dam as well?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It includes the ones that –
QUESTION: But today, the announcement you have made is about Gomal Zal Dam, Satpara Dam, so --
MR. PIRZADA: But not the Bhasha Dam.
QUESTION: But not the Bhasha Dam.
SECRETARY CLINTON: No, that’s not on the list.
QUESTION: Okay, that’s –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah.
QUESTION: In the future, it can be in the list?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We are going to continue to assess all of the needs, but there’s a lot that goes into this. I mean, part of it is getting agreement between the federal government, provincial, and the local government. Part of it is doing a needs assessment to determine what the most efficient use of resources is, because what you’re trying to do is solve the immediate problems more quickly –
QUESTION: Actually, ma’am, so --
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: Because I have that list of which you have made announcements, the generation of electricity is about 17.36 megawatts from Satpara Dam and similarly, 17.4 megawatts from Gomal Zal Dam. We have energy deficient country, rather stressed, and you know there’s a big gap between demand and supply --
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: Prolonged load shedding.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right.
QUESTION: So Bhasha then will serve the purpose. Plus, can you tell us – can you tell the Pakistani audience that – do you have any plans of giving us civilian nuclear technology on the factor and scale which you have given to India? And talking about Indo-U.S. nuclear accord, Pakistan can expect from U.S. that it will also be provided with the same technology so that we can fulfill our energy demands?
And as you have mentioned, and I have a quote that you said on the eve of interministerial conference in Washington that the success will not be determined by how (inaudible) gather in summits, but by the actions and trust, stating that relationship into some sort of benefit for the people who are living in cities and villages from the people’s perspective.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Right, right.
QUESTION: People want to know that –
MR. PIRZADA: Okay.
QUESTION: – we would be able to get that civilian nuclear technology.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me start at the beginning of your question and then I will get to that.
One of the things we’re doing is a study about smart grid and distribution of electricity, because one of the problems is if you just go around creating power plants and you don’t have a distribution transmission system that can actually deliver the power, you may have done a little bit, but you haven’t done enough to deal with the energy needs of Pakistan. So we’re looking at how we help the Pakistani Government create an energy system, and that requires not just looking at every form of energy, which we are, but also how it is put together and delivered.
Now, in our dialogue with the Pakistani Government, we have clearly said we will work with them on civil nuclear energy. It took years to do it with India. But we are committed to pursuing it and trying to overcome the obstacles that might stand in the way, because we think it is important to get as much of a varied source of energy all connected to the grid and all being able to prevent the lobe shedding that now is such a difficult problem for people –
MR. PIRZADA: Especially, in this season. It’s –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is, and I was told today that the average urban resident in Pakistan loses at least six hours a day, but the average rural resident loses from eight to twelve hours a day. So it’s not only a very unfortunate problem for individuals, but for business, for industry as well.
MR. PIRZADA: Just – Munizae, you wanted to ask a question. Very quickly.
QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary of State, thank you so much for coming here, a very warm welcome and thank you for this opportunity. Now, underlying all of these problems is, of course, security. And one of my questions to you is, because you are going to be leaving for Afghanistan tonight, how can you bring sustainable peace in Afghanistan without playing a proactive role in resolving differences between India and Pakistan, especially with the latest logjam? Are you going to do anything to perhaps play a proactive role in removing that logjam that has happened?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, two aspects to your question: One, we stand ready to encourage, as we have done, the dialogue between India and Pakistan. We think it is absolutely in both countries’ interests. I happen to think, on balance, it’s even more in Pakistan’s interests, because opening markets – every businessman I speak with in Pakistan kind of whispers to me, “Please, can’t we get the markets open, because I want to go compete inside India.”
So there are many ramifications to the longstanding disputes over Kashmir and other issues between India and Pakistan. So even though the officials of both governments have been meeting, we want to encourage much more dialogue. With respect to Afghanistan, there was an important event last night here in Islamabad, the signing of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade Transit Accord. This is an agreement that was begun in the 1960s. But because of mistrust and historical problems between Afghanistan and Pakistan, it never was resolved. Finally, both governments decided to sign it, and I was privileged to witness that along with Prime Minister Gillani.
Why is that important? Well, because part of the way you fight the insurgency and the extremists is through economic opportunity. And the more economic opportunity that we can generate inside Pakistan and Afghanistan, the more people will turn away from being persuaded to engage in extremist activities and instead look for a different path.
This agreement will permit goods from Pakistan to go right through Afghanistan into Central Asia. And right now, it’s very difficult. If you unload a freighter with cargo in Karachi, it’s very difficult to get it out of Pakistan. You know that. This will give merchants and businesses in Pakistan a straight shot into a whole new market. At the same time, it will give Afghanistan, which is trying to develop a business base, the chance to come and trade with you.
So there are – these are steps, all of which are important to take. They’re not going to change everything overnight, but there needs to be more trust built up between Afghanistan and Pakistan while we try to work on the longstanding issues between India and Pakistan.
QUESTION: Right. Secretary (inaudible) --
MR. PIRZADA: I have to take a break. Just quickly – can you make it a quick comment? I have to take a break.
QUESTION: Yeah. Well, I just would like to follow that up. Like, you said that economic opportunities, but till the security situation is not addressed, economic opportunities cannot come our way. Now, regarding Kashmir, right now, Kashmir is burning and the stone pelters are being killed, not the militants on the streets. And now there are pictures of these young teenagers who want to take on and want to join Jaish-e-Mohammed. And we all know Jaish-e-Mohammed has fought against NATO troops in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. So then how will you eradicate militancy from this part of the region without addressing the core issues?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s one of the most important challenges that we face together. It would be preferable – it would be, in my view, necessary – to create more of an understanding and resolve these longstanding disputes. And we should work as hard as we can to encourage the leadership of Pakistan and India to persevere despite the attacks in both countries. I really give the leadership in both countries high marks because it is not popular. They are attacked in the press, they’re attacked by organizations.
But it would be so much in the interests of long-term security and economic opportunity to try to resolve these disputes. In the meantime, however, we can’t wait for that to happen, because you’re right; the extremists continue to recruit. And that’s something that threatens everyone, particularly people in Pakistan. So we have to operate on many different levels at once.
MR. PIRZADA: Thank you, Secretary. Let me take a break. I know, Nadeem, that you really want to ask a question, but I’ll ask you the first question after the break.
We’re here with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Just let us take a break and stay with us.
MR. PIRZADA: Welcome back. We are joined here by United States Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Clinton. I’ll go to you straight away.
QUESTION: Okay. My question relates to war on terror and security situation. Even today, there’s a statement, according to you, that if attacked – if an attack in United State is traced back to Pakistan, there is – there are going to be devastating consequences. And this is not the first time we have seen such a statement from a high-ranking U.S. official. We would like to know what are those consequences.
Secondly, you are going to be in Kabul tomorrow, and the reintegration and reconciliation of Afghan Taliban are going to be discussed and perhaps officially launched in Afghanistan. Why it is different in Pakistan? Why insistence on military-only solution to eradicate the militancy and all this terrorism while we are suffering a lot? We have almost lost 6,000 lives and perhaps other have been – areas are more vulnerable today than nine years ago.
QUESTION: That’s the reason. Can I add --
QUESTION: Let me – let her answer two questions
QUESTION: They have also said that additional steps should be taken by Pakistan. Can you elaborate what additional steps?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, these are really important questions so let me just try to unpack them and answer them.
First, we commend the sacrifices that Pakistan is making and has made against the extremist threat internally. It’s been tragic to watch the loss of life among civilians and your military in this effort to try to rein in and defeat the elements of extremism that are attacking your society. So we are fully in support of what you’re trying to do.
There was an attempt, as you recall, for the government to try to accommodate the extremists in Swat. There was an agreement, as I remember the details, where the government basically said to the extremists, look, let’s just have an agreement to accommodate. As long as you behave and you’re – you can have more control over the people, you can do more things in Swat. And the agreement – the ink was not even dry before there began to be efforts by those same extremists to basically take more territory and move toward Islamabad
So not every extremist group can be reconciled or reintegrated. That’s just a fact. And whether or not it can happen in Afghanistan or Pakistan is a very difficult set of decisions. It doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying, but you have to try it with eyes wide open based on your own experience here in Pakistan. So we continue to support the security efforts by the Pakistani Government and we will do what we are asked to do to try to equip the Pakistani military to be able to take on and defeat this threat.
Now, what I mean is that if an attack is traced back to Pakistan, people in America will be devastated – devastated. Because you’ve got to understand that we believe that we’re facing a common enemy, that we have a common threat, and certainly, under the Obama Administration and the Kerry-Lugar-Berman commitment, we see ourselves in solidarity against this common enemy.
So it would be devastating and I cannot predict what the consequences would be because there would be many people in the United States who would say, “Why did this happen? Why are we investing so much in our partnership?”
QUESTION: But Secretary --
SECRETARY CLINTON: And we would then in the government have to do what we did after the foiled attack in Times Square.
QUESTION: What additional steps? You mentioned --
QUESTION: (Inaudible) fighting the war on terror --
SECRETARY CLINTON: No --
QUESTION: Two promises and (inaudible) –
(All at once.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: But we’re not saying go do it alone; we’re saying we’re doing it with you. We’re doing more and you’re doing more. So there are, I’m sure, additional steps that each of us can and should take. The problem is that we don’t have any clear idea about how best to get at the people we consider to be our primary enemies. Al-Qaida, Usama bin Ladin, those are the people who attacked us and those are the people who are at the top of our list.
Now, they are somewhere, we believe, based on our best information. Where, we don’t know. We would like to work more closely together to go after them and to either capture or kill them, because we believe that at the center of this syndicate of terror that is terrorizing people in Pakistan, al-Qaida exists.
QUESTION: Secretary, I just want to ask you a question.
QUESTION: Let me --
QUESTION: Just to –
(All at once.)
QUESTION: Let me have one follow-up. Yesterday, there were suicide attacks in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Iran, in Algeria. If the military-only solution was working very nicely, then there should be some control inside of (inaudible) suicide attacks. I have a feeling that there is a need of proper review of this war on terror, both for Afghanistan as well as for Pakistan. Would you like to respond?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we don’t believe there is a military-only solution.
QUESTION: Well, you are following military-only solution in Pakistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, no, that’s not true. I mean, we – when we took over, when President Obama came into office, it is fair to say that most of the emphasis for the preceding eight years had been on security and military action. And what we concluded is that we wanted to build a more durable, lasting partnership and we wanted to help Pakistan meet some of the needs that could perhaps eliminate the base for terrorism in certain places.
Yesterday, the prime minister said to us in our meeting he wants help with schools in Southern Punjab because the madrassas recruit young kids, bring them in, and heaven knows what happens to many of them. Well, we want to help because we do think that it’s not a direct line from military action to the end of terrorism; we think there are many paths in, and one of them is education and what we’re trying to do –
(All at once.)
QUESTION: Secretary, my question is related to this because a few weeks ago, a few weeks ago, we heard that Pakistani administration is trying along with the Karzai administration to open up channels of negotiation with the Haqqani Network. Today, we read that your Administration has decided to declare the Haqqani Network as an internationally – international terrorist organization or something like that.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, those are not mutually exclusive. I mean, first of all, we know that the Haqqani Network is behind many of the attacks in Afghanistan. This is not one of the groups that is sitting on the sidelines. They’re deeply involved in what’s going on in Afghanistan and they take credit for some devastating attacks within Afghanistan. So clearly, they’re a terrorist organization and they are killing Afghans, Americans, and others who are part of the international coalition.
Now, you do not make peace with your friends. That’s just a fact. You make peace during a conflict with those who are on the other side who have been your enemy. And the fact that there may be discussions with this group or any other group is something that we are willing to support so long as there are certain guidelines. Because we watched carefully what your government tried to do in Swat and we were not against that. If you could have made a deal that actually held, that would have been an internal matter. But it didn’t hold because a lot of these terrorists have absolutely no interest in reconciling.
So what we have said is engage in conversations, but remember, if you’re going to try to have a political resolution, people have to agree to abide by the constitution and laws of the country, whether it’s Pakistan or Afghanistan, they have to renounce violence, and we also want them to renounce al-Qaida --
QUESTION: Secretary of --
SECRETARY CLINTON: -- and we want you to see whether or not it’s a sincere effort, not just a stalling effort.
QUESTION: Secretary of State, where do you see Pakistan after July 9/11 – after July 2011 and beyond that, when U.S. forces will start pulling out from Afghanistan?
Secondly, you have been talking about U.S. perception in Pakistan. There are reasons for that and one of the reasons is that if we can hand over 200, 300 people who are involved in terrorist activities or alleged to be involved, the United States – and on the other hand, if we demand one Pakistani prisoner in United States, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, U.S. always come to the excuses of justice.
Now, those people who were handed over to U.S. were also charged in Pakistan, but they were handed over to U.S. on your demand. Why can’t you consider one request from Pakistan to hand over Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, you asked what will happen to Pakistan after July 2011. What we hope is that the relationship that we are developing will lead to even closer cooperation on many fronts. What July 2011 is meant to be is a signal to the Afghan Government that they have to address with urgency the need to defend their own country. And I was very pleased that President Karzai agreed to create local defense units, because the Afghan army is making progress but it’s not yet at a stage where it can defend the whole country.
So what we see is, starting in July 2011, a movement toward ownership and leadership in certain parts of the country by the Afghan army, but not the beginning of any wholesale withdrawal. That was never the intent. But what we have done in developing what I believe to be more open and confidence-building relationships on both the civilian and the military side is that all of this is being discussed with your leadership so that they’re aware of what we’re doing and why, and we’re aware of what you’re doing and why. So that’s a long way from where we were a couple of years ago.
And specifically on the case that you mentioned, that trial was just held. The process continues. I can’t predict what might happen in the future, but for the time being, it is a matter for our justice system because of the underlying facts of the case.
QUESTION: Okay. Staying on justice, in light of the recent outcome of David Headley’s statement, will the United States of America book him for murder of six Americans who died in 26/11?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t know everything he’s being booked for. I don’t know that. But he has been connected with many different events, including Mumbai, but others as well And the interrogation that has brought much of this to light is continuing. He was fully cooperative and he was willing to explain in great detail a lot of what he had done over the years. So I don’t know the specifics, but I know that it has been quite a revealing set of facts that we’ve shared with the Pakistani authorities.
(All at once.)
QUESTION: Okay. Let Munizae ask a question, then you. Then (inaudible). Go ahead, Minuzae.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, (inaudible) Pakistan – will you give Pakistan access to David Headley if asked?
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s up to the Justice Department. I don’t know the answer to that.
MR. PIRZADA: You ask (inaudible).
QUESTION: Secretary, going back to the Haqqani Network, now in a post-U.S Afghanistan, has Pakistan offered the United States a role for the Haqqani Network who are based in North Waziristan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: There are discussions about the Haqqani Network that go on all the time because the actions by this particular network are quite brazen and are publicly claimed by the participants. So it’s not as though it’s a stealth operation. They are quite proud of what they do and they trumpet it to anyone who will listen. I think that they are not yet among the groups
that pose a direct threat to Pakistani security, but my view is that all of these groups are developing a closer and closer cooperative network. And I think that any armed group that is convinced it has a right to kill in the name of its own objectives is a threat to the sovereign state of any nation. And so I believe that it poses a threat currently to Afghanistan, but that it has the potential for posing a threat to Pakistan as well.
QUESTION: But, Madam Secretary, adding to that --
QUESTION: If they put down the weapons, if they put down their weapons, would the U.S. negotiate with them or would you allow the Pakistanis or the Afghans to negotiate with them?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Look, we have said – and that’s why I repeat – you don’t make peace with your enemies. We’ve had – we’ve seen lots of conflicts around the world that were very bloody, very protracted, where people decided that they were tired of fighting, they wanted to have a more normal life, and they put down their arms and they entered into negotiations. We would never reject that. We would just caution that you need to enter into it very realistically as to the sincerity and the lasting nature of the commitments that are made. But we would certainly never reject any sincere offer to negotiate --
QUESTION: Madam Secretary --
MR. PIRZADA: (Inaudible) is waiting (inaudible). Go ahead.
QUESTION: Maybe, I mean, adding to the same issue, it is also commonly believed that because Pakistan, as you said, it’s not directly – Haqqani Network is not threatening Pakistan maybe, but because Pakistan security establishment does not want to treat this as another enmity, another enemy altogether, so is this not a breach of our own national security needs when you try to push us or try to encourage us to open the front of another war, another battle, another operation with them?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think you have to look at this from a historical perspective. It has been the experience in most countries that armed groups inside a state that should have the monopoly on military power eventually pose a threat to that state. That’s just a historical fact. So even if there are – let’s say there are a hundred different groups that are armed inside Pakistan and maybe 25 of them are the direct threat, and obviously, any military, any government, has to prioritize. You can’t try to spread yourself so thin that you go after all 100 at once. And what the Pakistani military and the government have done is to try to go after those groups like the Taliban – the Pakistani Taliban in particular that have been behind so many of these terrible attacks inside Pakistan
All we’re saying is that, at some point, it is hard to deny that any group that has got men under arms and believes it has a right to use military means to for their own purposes could, in the future, pose a threat. That’s – we believe that.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, it’s almost a decade now that you have been trying to also – you having operations in Afghanistan as well. The fact of the matter is that is it – now we’re hearing radical options like the Lebanon option in Afghanistan. Is it not time enough for you to realize maybe, or for the United States to realize that whether it’s the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani, or Hekmatyar, the militias of them, these are, in fact, the indigenous representatives of the Pashtuns in Afghanistan and (inaudible).
(All at once.)
MR. PIRZADA: Let Nadeem (inaudible), let Nadeem (inaudible), because Nadeem has (inaudible). I think can you add quickly, quickly.
QUESTION: What she has said, just to add quickly – have you ever analyzed why 9/11 occurred?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We certainly have.
QUESTION: And what was the reason?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we may have a difference of opinion. I can tell by the way you ask that question. But look, there are groups that have, in my view, perverted their religious beliefs to justify their pursuit of power and have done so by utilizing traditional methods of terror combined with modern methods of communication and transportation. And speaking particularly about this incident, it was very clear when al-Qaida sponsored the first attack on the World Trade Center that they wanted to make a statement; that they wanted to declare that they were against the West, that they were against the United States, that they were against our values, our freedom, particularly women’s rights; that they had an agenda that was rooted in their view of the world.
They came back and, unfortunately, successfully destroyed the Twin Towers in 2001. They were looking for a name for themselves. They were looking for leadership of a global movement. And they had found safe haven in a place that had been largely rendered government-less and basically with very little check on them. And if you recall, after 9/11 President Bush said very clearly to the then-Taliban government, if you turn over bin Ladin, we will not retaliate. And the Taliban basically said no, we are totally --
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QUESTION: (Inaudible) that there’s a heavy presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and with the drone attacks every week or every day or alternate days, why U.S. have been not been able to track down Usama bin Ladin or Mullah Omar? Why expecting too much from the other countries?
And one question from the Afghanistan policy – U.S. policy. Many critics believe that peace in Pakistan is linked with peace and stability in Afghanistan. U.S. seems to be confused in Afghanistan of late. Sorry to use this strong word, but they lack vision and clarity. General Petraeus, the new ISAF commander, he wants to defeat the militants in the battlefield --
MR. PIRZADA: Can you shorten (inaudible) take a break?
QUESTION: And some senior U.S. officials say that there’s still room for talks with those who come from the cold. So can you tell us, is U.S. military still on the same page vis-à-vis Afghanistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. I mean, those are not mutually contradictory. And perhaps we are not doing a good enough job explaining it, but there is no contradiction between trying to defeat those who are determined to fight and opening the door to those who are willing to reintegrate and reconcile. That is not at all mutually exclusive. And I think that there is no doubt that this is very hard. I’m not claiming otherwise. But it is important to recognize that there is a military element to what we are doing, but we fully recognize that it is not the only element. So yes, do we have troops in Afghanistan? Yes, we do. And frankly, it would be very helpful if we could get access to bin Ladin and Mullah Omar. And I said when I was here in October that I believe that they’re here in Pakistan. And it would be really helpful if we could get them because that’s --
QUESTION: Secretary --
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s an important part of what we’re trying to achieve.
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MR. PIRZADA: Anwar, I have to take a break. I have to take a break. I’m sorry, Secretary (inaudible). We have to take a break, and join us after a commercial break and we will push the discussion forward in a different direction as well after the break.
MR. PIRZADA: Welcome back We are joined here by United States Secretary of State Ms. Hillary Clinton. This is the last segment of this discussion. We are going to push the discussion forward. Nadeem, you wanted to ask a question.
QUESTION: Just one more.
MR. PIRZADA: Quickly. A quick one.
QUESTION: Regarding Afghan Taliban issue, certain Taliban leaders’ name are being removed from UN sanction list, and this reintegration and reconciliation process is also being launched. Would you like to explain which are those Taliban which are reconcilable?
SECRETARY CLINTON: We don’t know yet. I mean, that’s the question: which, if any, are reconcilable. We know that there are many young men who joined the Taliban because they were seeking employment, because they were pushed into doing it or intimidated into doing it. They’re already leaving the Taliban. We have a lot of evidence of that. They are leaving and being reintegrated back into their villages and into society.
But who can be reconciled really depends upon what conditions they’re willing to meet, and we just don’t know the answer to that yet.
QUESTION: Can we (inaudible) that process in Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: You certainly could try. You’ve tried once. I mean, I go back to what happened with Swat. If you have people who you believe will genuinely lay down their arms and rejoin society, you should certainly attempt to do so.
QUESTION: Everyone is not going to (inaudible). There are going to be certain elements which are going to be reconcilable even in Pakistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: There are. But you’ve got to find out which ones are and which ones aren’t.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, one question that I would like to ask, there is some talk of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, that the Afghan Government is reaching out to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Would you endorse that kind of view? Because I know you’re somebody who stands for women’s rights, and that would be very controversial with the women in Afghanistan.
MR. PIRZADA: Is your question also on Afghanistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, what we have said is anyone who wants to be reconcilable has to be willing to abide by the constitution and the laws of Afghanistan, and that includes the rights of women. Now, I feel very strongly about this and I’m sitting here with these three remarkable young journalists. I do not want to see the clock turn back on those Afghan girls who are finally going to school, on those Afghan women doctors who are finally able to take care of their patients again, on those Afghan members of the government who happen to be women who now have a job. I would not believe that that would be in the best interest of long-term stability in Afghanistan.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary --
MR. PIRZADA: Just give me a second Just give me a second and I’ll explain what I’m going to say.
SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s always lively.
MR. PIRZADA: The point is this, that I want to bring the discussion back to Pakistan. I want to connect them together.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
MR. PIRZADA: And the issue is this, that we feel in this country – it’s an opportunity (inaudible). We feel in this country that whereas the pain of Afghanistan is (inaudible) to the U.S. Senate, to the Congress, to the U.S. media, to the Administration, the pain of the 117 million people of Pakistan who are suffering, who are dying every day – and it’s not only the death – the cycle of death. It’s that we are stagnating economically because of the war effect of Afghanistan. The investments are not coming. The production is not happening. We have an energy problem and things like this. And do you realize what’s happening to us? And what’s the solution? We’re not getting market access from you. For ten years we’ve been asking for this.
QUESTION: I just wanted to (inaudible) that exactly three days back on 16th of July, Madam Secretary, the government of Punjab issued checks for the affectees of the Data Durbar blast. It saddens me to say they bounced. We are critically going through a very bad phase. Every day we see 9/11s, 26/11s. What about the money you owe us? What about the coalition support fund? Is this not a big global disservice that that money is being delayed?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say we are accelerating everything that was owed and we’ve begun to catch up on the arrears. I’m not going to justify it. We inherited a lot of backlog that we are trying to clean out. But we are moving forward.
Also, with the Kerry-Lugar-Berman commitment, we are putting more money into assisting the people of Pakistan than has ever been done before because we do recognize not only the pain and the suffering and sacrifices, but the fact that Pakistan deserves a better future. And we know that there has to be actions taken by Pakistanis themselves, but we can assist that. There are so many reforms that are needed inside Pakistan that nobody from the outside can make happen. You have to have economic reform. You have to have tax reform. Your entire agricultural industry is not taxed. That is a huge loss of revenue. You have one of the lowest revenue collections per GDP in the world. So you don’t have the revenues coming in that makes sure checks don’t bounce from governments or builds schools in Southern Punjab. We know that we have a role to play that we are willing to play because we believe in Pakistan’s future, but we expect certain actions by Pakistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, there has to be an understanding that over the long run, an outside can only do so much.
QUESTION: Yes, but when you speak of the Kerry (inaudible), we understand there’s authorization and appropriation process in the United States of America which we might not necessarily understand. But the Coalition Support Fund or the other money for us acting as a frontline ally, that money should actually come in swiftly. That’s the only issue. That money we’re not seeing.
QUESTION: Plus the Friends of Democratic Pakistan Initiative has been launched two years back, so out of 5.2 billion pledges we only received 1.9 billion pledged.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but part of that is that the Friends of Democratic Pakistan are working with the government to determine where the rest of the money should go. And I just saw a very thorough study on the energy sector that was done by the Friends of Democratic Pakistan. Because when you go to the donors, you want to say here’s where the money will go, here is the roadmap for how the money will be spent There is so much activity that is aimed at helping Pakistan and it does grieve me that the press and the people in this country feel as though you’re so alone, that you don’t have the support that I see you receiving from so many.
QUESTION: But, Secretary, I’ll explain. I’ll explain. The old economic theory shows this thing – I’m saddened by the fact when Pakistanis ask – for myself at least, I am saddened by the fact when the Pakistani Government and the Pakistani people keep on asking U.S. aid. That saddens me. All economic theory in 20th century shows the thing that aid does not help nations to progress. What nations actually need is trade. And what Pakistan is asking since 9/11/2000 – 9/11 is market access. Ten years have passed. Pakistan is not getting market access. I know getting the aid from Senate and Congress is not easy, but both the European Union and United States try to give aid to Pakistan and not – neither the European Union – you’re not producing any change in the structure of the regimen of the trade that can allow a war-stressed country, 116 million people suffering because of war in Afghanistan, we’re not getting trade access.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, we are working on trade access. We just did a deal on mangos, which I think is a big deal because we want to start importing agricultural produce and mangos are something that will have a good audience in the United States. We passed the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones through the House. We’re working on getting it passed through the Senate.
We are working on increasing the kind of investment that American businesses can make in Pakistan. I just met with a group of leading Pakistani businesses. Here’s what they asked me for. Of course, they want more market access. But in addition, they want more funding from American businesses, from our funding mechanisms like the Export-Import Bank, all of which we’re doing. And one of the businessmen said to me most of the people in Pakistan don’t know that every major power project in the past was funded with American dollars, most of it private sector dollars, as you point out, not public sector dollars. There’s a role for aid and there’s a role for trade.
The investment climate has been hurt because of the security. Now, that’s just something that we have to cope with and we have to --
QUESTION: And change.
SECRETARY CLINTON: And – yeah, and we have to change. And what we’re doing is taking Pakistani business leaders on trade trips to the United States so that they can talk to their counterparts, because there’s a lot of great economic activity that can go on here. But if you’re the average businessman sitting in the United States, you wonder, okay, is this going to happen, is it going to be a safe investment. So we’re trying to dispel that and create more business connections.
QUESTION: Secretary, since your last visit to Pakistan, have you noticed political stability in Pakistan and good governance, bad governance, fragile democracy? What have you noticed? Is the government stable going – because there are a lot of political uncertainties and that uncertainty is creating wrong perceptions about the Pakistan’s role in the war on terror as well.
And secondly, what will happen if you lose in Afghanistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first with regard to Pakistan’s democracy, we are very strongly supportive of the democratically elected government. We think that Pakistan has all the ingredients for sustainable democracy. You have a very active opposition, which we know is very much involved in a day-to-day way in opposing the government. That’s what oppositions are supposed to do. You have a very free press. You have a very independent judiciary. So there are many institutions that we, frankly, believe are making progress.
Now, it’s not a straight line because you don’t just do it overnight, but we believe that this democratic government and the passage of the 18th amendment which has devolved power to the provinces, which has begun to remedy some of the grievances that border areas like FATA and the North-West Province – now renamed – have had historically. So we see some positive signs. We think, actually, that it’s not easy. We’re not going to say that. But we do see progress.
And the goal is to institutionalize all of these aspects of democracy. And we think that is happening and we want to see a normal democratic process. We want to see this government fulfill its term, then we want to see a vigorous election, and then whoever comes next we want to see – we don’t want to see interruptions. We don’t want to see military takeovers. That should be part of the past. So despite the challenges of governing a large country like Pakistan, we see some promising signs.
Look, with respect to Afghanistan, we believe strongly that creating stability in Afghanistan is in everyone’s interests and we appreciate the assistance that we are receiving from the Pakistani Government. We appreciate the cooperation with the Pakistani military. We believe that trying to stabilize Afghanistan and create the base for a democratic government there is in the long-term interests of the entire region.
Again, it’s not going to be easy. Nobody ever said it would be. But we think it’s an investment worth making and we have said that we’re going to be there long after the combat troops are gone.
MR. PIRZADA: (Inaudible) have your question, please. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes, I just want to ask you – and this question is in two parts, so I just want to make it very short. Do you think Kashmir is a cause or affectee of terrorism?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think historically it has been both.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, then there was this idea of – and you were talking about women rights in Afghanistan. I’ll talk about human rights in Kashmir. And there was an idea that was being toyed with initially when – before President Obama came into power. And that was the idea of having former U.S. president Bill Clinton becoming special envoy for Pakistan and India to resolve Kashmir. Is that something that you could think? Would you recommend it to the Obama Administration now?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, in order to have anyone play that role, both sides have to agree. And that has not been the case as of now.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, just a quick question --
MR. PIRZADA: I know both of you want to ask questions. But let’s take a quick question from the young gentleman with (inaudible).
QUESTION: Yes. Madam Secretary --
MR. PIRZADA: Can you also introduce yourself?
QUESTION: Hi, Madam Secretary. My name is (inaudible). I ((inaudible) to a point you made earlier about how the American public would be very disappointed if another attack happened on U.S. soil originating from Pakistan. If you look at the recent biographies of people like, for example, Faisal Shahzad, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, even Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, all these individuals were radicalized on U.S. soil, whether through college or afterwards. Is this something which the U.S. is also --
MR. PIRZADA: Ask the question again. There’s an audio sync issue. Please ask the question again. I’m so sorry.
QUESTION: You made a point earlier about how the American public would be very disappointed if another attack took place on U.S. soil or was foiled on U.S. soil originating in Pakistan. I was wondering what steps the United States is taking to prevent radicalization on its – in its own country, given the fact that Faisal Shahzad, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and individuals like these were actually radicalized while in America.
MR. PIRZADA: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s a very important question because radicalization is now taking place really everywhere, including over the internet, which is one of the main sources that we now see where extremists are basically radicalizing people and enlisting them. So every country has to be aware of what is going on inside, and that is certainly the case in our own. And we recognize too that we have to do more to try to prevent that from occurring. But there’s a difference between being radicalized – a lot of people believe things that are quite radical but don’t act on them and are not facilitated to act on them.
So in the case of Headley and Shahbaz and others, they took their radical ideas but basically they were facilitated, directed, operationalized elsewhere – and in those two cases, here in Pakistan, as we now know.
So we do have to do more to counter violent extremism and we have to understand more about this phenomenon. What takes a young man or a young woman who may have a set of opinions and move them toward violence and then move them the extra step where they’re willing to kill themselves in order to kill others? It’s that process, which is a multi-stepped process, that we have to do a better job of understanding.
But once someone decides to act on their radical beliefs, then it is important for the country where that is occurring to work to get law enforcement and judiciary and other elements of the society together to prevent the operationalizing of it. People can believe what they believe. That’s their right in a free society. But they can’t act on it to the detriment and harm of others. So we have to try to prevent the radicalization insofar as that’s possible, but then we have to work together – all of us – to try to prevent the acting on it
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, Munizae has a question and then Maher.
QUESTION: Have you discussed the utility of military (inaudible) in North Waziristan with Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: There’s a constant dialogue going on between our two governments and between our two militaries, and I don’t really want to comment on any specifics. But --
SECRETARY CLINTON: There’s a lot of discussion about anything that would make Pakistan safer and prevent further violence in this country and Afghanistan.
MR. PIRZADA: Munizae, quick question.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, a very quick question. You know you talked of supporting democracy in Pakistan, but the reality on the ground, it’s an open secret that it’s actually the military that led the civilian government to prepare for the Strategic Dialogue. Now, there is a fear in Pakistan that eventually the U.S. will tilt back towards the military in order to let its policies through or see its policies through. How are you going to address that fear?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can tell you very clearly that neither I nor President Obama have any intention of having that happen or winking at it or permitting it insofar as we can prevent it, because we believe in democracy. And we particularly believe that Pakistan must have a democratic government that fulfills its terms with another election and another democratic government.
Now, having said that, we understand that any time there’s conflict in a society, there’s going to a very heavy security emphasis, and the law enforcement and the military elements are going to have their say, and that’s understood. But what we see is a partnership – when I work with Minister Qureshi and we send all of these officials that we’ve been sending to work on our Strategic Dialogue, the security dialogue is a part of that. And that, of course, is between defense and military officials.
So we listen to all of the voices inside Pakistan, but we support the democratically government.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, adding to that, as you know that you shocked the world because owing to political reasons when you changed the command in Afghanistan, now in Pakistan there’s going to be a very natural change in command which is coming around in September as well. I would like you – I’d like your opinion on that, where you say you support the democratic process. Do you think that it would impact the war that Pakistan and America both are involved in if there’s a different general on either side?
SECRETARY CLINTON: That is an internal matter for Pakistan. We have not and will not express an opinion –
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MR. PIRZADA: I’d like to take a quick comment from the lady – the last lady on the first row. Very quick.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) and I’m a journalist from Samaa TV. I want to ask a question if we are facing a same war against terror, why you people are fighting this war with a modern technology like drone and EDC, and why we are facing that war with the 20th century old weapons? We are facing a lot in Pakistan. Why America always rely on promises when it’s come to military aid or a modern technology?
MR. PIRZADA: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have provided an enormous amount of aid to Pakistan. Just recently, America delivered some additional F-16s, which is a very modern weapon, to the Pakistani military. And we are in close consultation and cooperation with the military, literally, all the time, to assess their needs and to work with them.
QUESTION: Do you have (inaudible)?
(All at once.)
MR. PIRZADA: Your team is killing me. Your (inaudible). (Laughter.) Last question, quickly. Quickly, last question.
QUESTION: One last question, Secretary of State. Why as a person I feel that when we choose a statement condemning Iran’s Government policies against their political opponents, the U.S. issues statements condemning that they crushed the protestors, but when it comes to Kashmir and atrocities by the India, U.S. always come out with a statement that it’s an internal dispute. Don’t you think such kind of – can I use the word “double-standard – always create an hatred against the U.S. among the people that, on the one hand, you are condemning a foreign country, its internal affairs, and on the other hand you are calling a dispute, an internal dispute? Similarly in Middle East, your policies towards Israel, your approach toward Israel, is something different than what happened in the other side of it.
MR. PIRZADA: Mazhar, thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I think there’s a big difference between India and Pakistan and Iran. India and Pakistan have vibrant democratic institutions, free press, independent judiciaries. We do not find any of that in Iran. So there is a recognition that although Kashmir is a very important and difficult issue, you’re dealing with two countries that are not making threats against the rest of the world. You may have very difficult historical issues between the two of you which we would like to see resolved; but in contrast, Iran is threatening all of its neighbors, is threatening to wipe countries off the map, is funding terrorism all over the world.
So I think the fact that the people of Iran, in our assessment, tried to change their leadership and were so brutally oppressed is a very significant fact, and therefore we will condemn it because we think it runs counter to the rights of the Iranian people as they attempt to express them.
(All at once.)
MR. PIRZADA: Unfortunately, we running short of the time and we have no more time. We’re glad you could join us for more than an hour.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
MR. PIRZADA: It is always difficult to manage time in a situation like this, and there are many more questions, I’m sure, but I’m glad that Secretary Clinton could join us for more than an hour. Thank you so much.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, another lively session. (Laughter.)
MR. PIRZADA: It was more than an hour. Last time it was 38 minutes.