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Hope US considers Pakistan 'ally from heaven', says Sartaj Aziz in Washington

Washington: Acknowledging that there was a "significant change" in its policy to act against terror groups without discrimination, Pakistan has said it hopes the US would now consider it an "ally from heaven" and not from hell, as described in a recent book by an ex-CIA chief.

"After my government came in 2013 there has been a significant change in our policy. We are now moving against all terrorists without any discrimination. And I hope that we would qualify to be an ally (of US) from heaven," Sartaj Aziz, the Foreign Affairs Advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told a Washington audience.

Aziz's remarks during his interaction at the Council on Foreign Relations came in response to a question in which his attention was drawn to a recently-released book written by a former CIA chief in which Pakistan was described as "an ally from the hell".

"There was a big divide in our thinking after 9/11 because the US suddenly changed sides from those people who they trained to fight the Russians. From holy warriors, they suddenly became terrorists," Aziz said.

Sartaj Aziz. File photo. Reuters

Sartaj Aziz. File photo. Reuters

He conceded that from 2002 till 2012-13, there was a perception that Pakistan was on one hand participating in the war against terrorism and on the other supporting some of these groups.

But, this perception and the narrative being sold in the West was not correct, Aziz said, claiming that Pakistan had arrested and handed over some 600 Al-Qaeda terrorists to the US during the same time.

"That time we were fully co-operating. At that time there was question mark on some of the groups. And that's the time when these kinds of perception came in," Aziz said. "But in my view they are out of date," he added.

"Now there has been a significant change in our policy," Aziz said.

In his latest book "Playing to the Edge", Michael Hayden, the former CIA Director and also head of Director of National Intelligence, expresses his deep frustration of the "duplicity" of the Pakistani leadership when it came to taking action against terrorist group in particular the Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT and the Haqqani network.

Arguing that the Pakistani Army is built to fight against India and not terrorists, the country's top leadership particularly those from its military in the past one decade have repeatedly expressed its inability to take on the terrorist groups in the tribal regions as desired by the US, he wrote.

Narrating an incidence when the then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf refused to fill up gas in the airplane that flew him to Islamabad, where he had gone to press him to take action against terrorists, Hayden wrote: "One more bit of evidence that these guys really were the ally from hell... The crew had forgotten their government credit card— you can't make this stuff up— and the Pakistanis wouldn't budge", he wrote.


Updated Date: Mar 02, 2016 10:43 AM

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