Ties with US not normal: Sherry Rehman


    Washington, (IANS) The Pakistan-US relationship was certainly not going through “normal” times, Islamabad’s ambassador to Washington Sherry Rehman has said, and asked the Pakistani-American community for their support to bring the two countries closer.

    The relationship has never been as important, yet the tensions have never been so grave, Rehman was quoted as saying by the Online news agency.

    “This embassy is not going to work alone in Washington. It is going to work with many ambassadors, which are yourselves, to attempt to change the way this important bilateral relationship works,” Rehman said.

    Rehman was appointed the envoy after Husain Haqqani’s resignation, following allegations of a memo from Islamabad to Washington that said Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari feared a military coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden.

    She said Pakistan speaks today as one united voice, including the government and the people.

    “We will have one united policy toward the United States. This is an opportunity to reset this relationship in a transparent, consistent and predictable manner,” she said.

    “As Pakistani Americans, I want you to know that I will rely heavily on you as the extended arm of this embassy and its consulates in getting our message delivered to the American public. Every one of you is our mouthpiece. Every one of you is our lobbyist,” she said.

    “We want to remain friends with the United States but our relationship must be based on mutual interests, respect and shared values.”

    “Our friends in the United States must know that our sacrifices in the war on terror far outnumber those of any other international or NATO coalition partner in Afghanistan.”

    She said the relationship should move from dependency to partnership, from aid to trade.

    “We would prefer to be economic and political partners and not just battlefield allies,” Rehman said.