Sharif is America’s new man of the moment

April 17th, 2009 - 6:38 pm ICT by ANI  

Nawaz Sharif Lahore, Apr. 17 (ANI): Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “appears to be the man of the moment” for the Obama administration, which is increasingly paying great attention to him, the Washington Times claims.

“The United States has realized that he enjoys broad-based support in Pakistan and expects him to play an effective role in the fight against terrorism,” the Daily Times quoted Professor Rasul Bakhsh Rais, as saying.

The report also mentioned Admiral Mike Mullen and US special envoy Richard Holbrooke’s meeting with Nawaz last week in Islamabad.

Sharif reportedly urged the Obama administration to change its policy regarding drone attacks inside Pakistan.

A State Department official in Washington was quoted by the paper as saying that the US embassy in Islamabad “has been in contact” with Nawaz as an “important political figure” in Pakistan.

“That in no way should suggest, however, that we are backing him or ‘working closely’ with him.” Bruce Riedel, who led the Obama administration’s recent review of US policy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan, said.

The US was dealing with Nawaz because “there’s nobody else out there. Zardari has the political strength, but it seems to be evaporating … There is a recognition that [Sharif] may well be the next leader. Therefore, you have to deal with him.” Riedel said. (ANI)

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