Pak PM’’s inability to speak in English during US visit termed as disaster

August 3rd, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Benazir Bhutto

Washington, Aug 3 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’’s inability to speak coherently in English on his just-concluded official visit to Washington was termed as an “unmitigated disaster” because he failed to understand what he had been asked, gave answers that were unrelated to what the query had been.
Both Gilani and his country would have been better off had he chosen to express himself in a language he could speak with comfort, the Daily Times reported.
He could have spoken in Urdu or Seraiki and a competent interpreter would have done the rest.
Gilani rambled and his thoughts were disjointed and haphazard, his choice of words poor and his grammar and syntax weak during his address at a community dinner at a local hotel on July 29.
At the White House where he walked out from the Oval Office with President Bush to speak briefly - as did Bush - to a group of waiting journalists, he was awkward and unable to express himself either clearly or with precision. He also called Bush “Mr President Bush” at least twice.
The three days that he was in Washington, Gilani said some most curious things. For instance, he kept saying that Pakistan does not have “sophisticated weapons” to deal with the insurgency in the tribal areas.
The one example he repeatedly chose of Pakistan’’s lack of “sophisticated weapons” was its inability to jam the broadcasts made by tribal insurgents on FM radio. The jamming “technology”, if it can be called that, was available in Pakistan as early as 50 years ago.
He also said that his father had signed the Pakistan Resolution, but the fact remains that nobody signed the 1940 Lahore Resolution. It was read out by AK Fazlul Haq and approved by acclamation.
The Prime Minister and his attendant delegation continued to claim the conquest of Washington inside 72 hours, the fact is that there was no mincing of words from the Americans when it came to Pakistan’’s performance in fighting the FATA insurgency and its inability or unwillingness, or both, to liquidate terrorists and prevent their movement across the Afghan border.
One source said that Bush had told Gilani that the US was reluctant to share actionable intelligence with Pakistan because of fears that it would be leaked to the very elements that were to be targeted.
No one in Washington has any illusions about Pakistan, nor people here are unaware of where power lies. It is known that the Prime Minister exercises little authority and all decisions are taken by others, the paper reported.
Any commitment that Gilani made to the Americans was seen as no more than a string of empty words, since he is viewed as not having the power or the ability to deliver on anything.
However, the paper termed Gilani’’s performance as one of the most awkward and embarrassing. Gilani made an appearance in an open dialogue with Richard Haass, one of US leading foreign policy experts, at an event jointly organised by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Middle East Institute.
The large invited audience contained the cream of Washington’’s intellectual community. Gilani first read a prepared speech, which contained the unfortunate line - that he repeated elsewhere too - “This is not Charlie Wilson’’s war. It is Benazir Bhutto’’s war.”
Asked if Pakistan had the will or ability to fight terrorism, he replied that he had accepted the challenge and Pakistan would go for good governance.
Asked if the Pakistani state was structurally weak, Gilani replied that “we have inherited this,” adding that the US is facing difficulties in Afghanistan and “this is a guerrilla war, not an ordinary war.”
When asked why FATA was not being integrated with the rest of the country, Gilani replied that FATA was under the federal government and it had its senators and MNAs “who are supporting us”. “Well, good luck then,” Haass told him as the audience burst out laughing.
Replying to a question, Gilani said, “The US knows more about Pakistan than I do”. To the question about rampant anti-Americanism in Pakistan, Gilani replied that the last government had no political support and used force.
He said the US had backed the military. Asked what the US could do to help resolve Kashmir, the prime minister declared; “The US can do what it wants”. (ANI)

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