Pakistan has long road ahead to “full reconciliation”: US

March 18th, 2009 - 10:23 am ICT by IANS  

Nawaz Sharif By Arun Kumar
Washington, March 18 (IANS) The United States says Pakistan has a long road ahead to “full reconciliation” among various political actors so as to deal effectively with a major problem of terrorism facing it.

“There is a long road ahead before Pakistan has gotten to full reconciliation,” State Department Spokesman Robert A. Wood told reporters Tuesday when asked what more political leadership in Islamabad needs to do.

Washington had Monday credited Pakistani leaders for defusing the crisis over the demand for reinstatement of sacked judges including former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, but calling it as the first step towards political reconciliation asked Pakistan “to do more.”

“There are clearly a lot of tensions between the parties and among the parties,” Wood said. “And this is something that’s going to need to be worked out in accordance with Pakistan’s constitution, its laws.”

“It’s a complex country. It’s got a major problem that it’s dealing with, and that’s called terrorism,” he said without spelling out what it expects Islamabad to do.

“And with regard to what Pakistanis need to do to better reconcile, they will know better than I, but it’s clear that there are tensions.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as also US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, and US Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke “were doing what they could to try to help reduce tensions.”

Clinton had Saturday telephoned both President Asif Ali Zardari and his rival, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in a bid to defuse the crisis. Holbrooke and Patterson too had played a “very helpful” role “in both working with the Pakistani leaders themselves and in keeping our government informed,” as Clinton put it.

“But in the end, it was the Pakistanis who took the right decisions and have, you know, put a very positive step forward. And as I said, they need to continue down the path of true reconciliation,” Wood said.

Asked if Holbrooke was planning to go to the region again, Wood said: “At some point he will be, but I haven’t been told that he’s planning to go anytime soon.”

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