Interview With Anwar Iqbal of Dawn Television
Secretary of State
QUESTION: So I have to get it going – very brief because I know you don’t have that much time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: So it’s about your visit to India.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Are you going with an initiative for restarting the India-Pakistan talks?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m going with the hope that has been ignited in the last weeks that India and Pakistan will pursue a dialogue again, and it was a very promising meeting between Prime Minister Gillani and Prime Minister Singh, the follow-on meeting between Prime Minister Singh and President Zardari, which suggests that there is an interest and a seriousness on the part of both governments in trying to work toward resolution of some of the longstanding differences.
I have always believed, and you may have heard me say in many meetings of my friends in the Pakistani and American community, that Pakistan’s future is unlimited. The potential for economic growth and for influence in the region is, in my view, as great as any country’s. But there has to be a commitment to trying to focus on the internal developments of Pakistan, and that requires dealing with and trying to resolve some of the outstanding concerns.
QUESTION: With India?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, with India.
QUESTION: And according to the media report, you’re going to conclude two agreements during this visit: for nuclear plants and for selling 126 fighter jets to India. Do Pakistanis have reasons to fear the outcome of your visit?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Not at all. And we don’t yet have any agreements resolved between us, but my goal in going to India is to work with the Indian Government on a range of issues – agriculture, health, education, strategic cooperation, climate change, clean energy, just a very vast array of concern. And I think that all of these issues are ones that are important not only to Indians, but, I would argue, also to Pakistanis. Trade between India and Pakistan, if were ever able to come to that point, would benefit both countries. Cooperation across borders on matters having to do with agriculture, education, so many other issues would be mutually beneficial.
So the point of our trip is to certainly broaden and deepen our relationship with India. And I will be coming to Pakistan in the fall and be looking to do the exact same thing with Pakistan.
QUESTION: But whenever somebody says that they would want India to play a leading role in the region, and you said that this week, the Pakistanis fear that perhaps it would translate to a subservient role for Pakistan and will lead to bullying by Afghanistan. How would you allay these fears?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is certainly not at all what is intended. I think that what we see now in the region is a very courageous, sustained effort by Pakistan against the internal miscreants, those who would destabilize the Pakistani Government and democracy, who kill innocent people, who are – they are not at all part of Pakistan’s future.
And so what Pakistan is doing is, in my view, very important, as Pakistan tries to stabilize your democracy so that you can build on development. Actual economic development was going well. There were a lot of positive steps. And some of the government’s policies are working out well. There seems to be a growing acceptance of how Pakistan is doing with the global economic recession. But the constant threat from the internal terrorists is one that has to be dealt with in order for Pakistan to grow and flourish.
So I see what is happening in Pakistan as a necessary set of steps to get Pakistan to the point where the future is unlimited. With India, I think India has had steady growth. They’ve had a very clear set of goals that they’ve been able to pursue because they are a largely stable and internally secure country now. That’s what I want to see for Pakistan. And then I think you can be in a friendly competition for jobs and for prosperity and for growth and for education statistics.
I often say that when Pakistani Americans come to the United States, they are among the most successful people in our country, and they are among our professionals and our business leaders and our academics and in every other walk of life. I would hope to see a day when Pakistanis would have the same opportunities in their own country, and that’s what I would like to work toward with you.
QUESTION: You actually, help found an organization called the Pakistan Foundation.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: What are your expectations from the Pakistan Foundation?
SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s interesting because – as you know, because we have some mutual friends, there are so many Pakistani Americans who are very successful financially. They still have family in Pakistan. They travel often back to Pakistan. They have a very deep connection to their homeland. And I thought it would be important to try to convince Pakistani Americans to be putting forward financial resources to work back in Pakistan.
And I know; I have friends who have done that. They’ve built schools, they’ve built health clinics, but to do it in an organized way. So we created the idea and then turned it over to the Pakistani Americans and the Pakistan Government, which was very interested. And so people are raising money and identifying projects.
We also reached out to Pakistani American doctors and asked if they’d be willing to serve and care for the internally displaced people, because of the fighting against the Taliban and al-Qaeda and all of their allies. And so we have Pakistani American doctors taking vacation, going to Swat or Bunair or other places to provide medical care.
So I think that there is an opportunity for Pakistani Americans to feel more committed and connected to the future that you are building in Pakistan.
QUESTION: Now, the anti-Americanism in Pakistan. We know that both governments are committed to fighting terrorism, and there is a realization in Pakistan too – that this is a war that they need to win. But this somehow does not convey to the people there. They don’t trust the US and still have a lot anti-American feelings. So how do you overcome this problem?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I hope that more and more people in Pakistan understand that President Obama and I have no other interest than providing assistance to the Pakistani people, and, increasingly, Americans – not just the Pakistani Americans, but other Americans want to help the people of Pakistan. We are not in any way making decisions, interfering or dictating. That is not our intent at all. But we want to be helpful because we see this courageous fight that you are waging. We know how hard it is because we are fighting the same enemy. We have been attacked. We know what that means.
We also see how the vast majority of Pakistanis just want a better life for themselves and their children. So if we can be helpful in helping to provide schools or textbooks or health programs and physicians, nurses, things that will actually help improve the daily lives of the people of Pakistan, that’s what we are interested in doing.
QUESTION: You once said that America too – made mistakes in Pakistan. What were those mistakes and how would you avoid them?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that if you go back and look at the history between the United States and Pakistan, we were not always as sensitive or understanding of the needs of the Pakistani people. We were not always constant in our support and our friendship for Pakistan. We encouraged Pakistan to create the forces that fought against the Soviet Union occupation in Afghanistan and then left you to deal with the aftermath. So it’s been, I would argue, a relationship that hasn’t been as constant and as effective as we would want it to be.
Now, we will continue to make mistakes. I mean, we are just human beings; we know that. But we want to be as honest in admitting them as possible, learning from them, and then trying to move forward. We weren’t as supportive of Pakistan’s democracy as we could have and should have been in the past.
But our goal now is to be there as a constant friend and a country that Pakistan, not just the government, but the people can rely on to build up more trust and understanding between us, and to be of assistance when asked by Pakistan.
QUESTION: And do you have complaints against Pakistan too – particularly when you see that the Pakistani people, the Pakistani administration, and the Pakistani media fail to understand your point of view, they fail to appreciate your sentiments?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it requires time. We have started a much deeper engagement with Pakistan on all levels. We’ve even established a trilateral relationship between the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to try to work through some of the common problems we face. I hope that there is a growing awareness that President Obama and I care deeply about the future of Pakistan, and particularly want to reverse some of the misconceptions and perceptions that existed in the past.
So I hope that we’re going to be given a fair hearing. I hope that people will look at us and say there is something different here, it’s not the same old, same old attitude.
I know that President Obama, when he spoke with you, talked about how much he loved Pakistani food. I --
QUESTION: And do you?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I echo that. I am also a fan.
But it’s more than that. It’s a sense that the people of Pakistan are working hard for a better future. And we want to be of help. And we have no – we have no claims, we have no interest other than assisting you in achieving the kind of sovereignty and self-determination and very solid democracy, and then results for people. I mean, democracy in and of itself is only the means to an end of a better life, so that every child has a chance to live up to his or her God-given potential to get an education, to get the healthcare he or she needs, to have their parents have jobs with rising wages and dignity. I mean, that’s what all people are looking for, and the people of Pakistan deserve that.
QUESTION: Drone attacks. I think it was Senator John Kerry, who stated they are making more enemies than they are killing. Do you agree with this comment?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t comment on any matter that is of that nature. But I think that what we see is what’s happening on the ground with the Pakistani army and the sacrifices that they’re making. And I think that it’s important that we pursue joint efforts against those who would murder innocent Pakistanis, innocent Americans, innocent Indians, people who were just going about their daily lives and have no reason to be targeted the way that they are.
So our goal is to see you and help you in whatever way is appropriate to defeat the enemy who wants to totally, radically change Pakistan.
QUESTION: Yesterday, you said in your speech that there was some good Taliban in Afghanistan, I mean, you didn’t use the word, good Taliban, but indicated that. Are there good Taliban in Pakistan and can they be engaged too?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that would be up to the Pakistani Government to determine, but it does seem to us that people get caught up in these organizations, sometimes because they’re paid, sometimes because they’re intimidated, sometimes because they think there is – that they mean something other than what they do. And for those who are willing to put down arms against the Pakistani Government, who are willing to renounce violence and try to work to achieve a better life for themselves in connection with the democracy that Pakistan is, I certainly think that it would be appropriate for Pakistan to consider that.
But I am reminded that Pakistan did try that. Pakistan tried to, in a very open way, reach an agreement with the Taliban and their related organization. And I’m told they didn’t keep it. I mean, they didn’t abide by it. They resumed their aggressive behavior, their violence, their terrorism. So I think that it’s up to the Pakistani Government, of course, to decide what’s appropriate for Pakistan.
QUESTION: President Obama (inaudible), in an interview, he talked about (inaudible) --
SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s okay.
QUESTION: Talked about Taliban issue – sorry, just --
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah, no problem.
QUESTION: There are some in Pakistan who say that Indians are using Balochistan to interfere in Balochistan. Will you discuss this with the India? In his inaugural speech, President Obama said that Kashmir is one issue that needs to be resolved. And now, your administration does not seem to talk about it. It seems that they no longer see Kashmir as an issue that needs to be resolved.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m going to raise everything that we believe is of significance with the Indian Government. I believe that it is in India’s interest for Pakistan to be stable, democratic, free of terrorism. I think that the disputes between India and Pakistan, which are historical and long-standing, should be looked at with fresh eyes, and there should be an effort to build some mutual trust. And from what I hear, it was a very good meeting between Prime Minister Singh and Prime Minister Gillani.
The United States stands ready to support the steps that India and Pakistan may take together, but we know that the only way these matters can be finally resolved is between the two countries, but it’s not just the government, but the people. And so we will encourage that, but we know that it has to be left to Pakistan and India for there to be any resolution.
QUESTION: So Kashmir is still seen as a dispute that needs to be resolved?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it certainly should be on the agenda of discussion between India and Pakistan.
QUESTION: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. It was good to talk to you. Thank you.