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We will tear up Khan’s network: Powell
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Activists of Pakistan's Opposition Muslim League protest against the visit of US Secretary of State Colin Powell to Pakistan
Activists of Pakistan
's Opposition Muslim League protest against the visit of US Secretary of State Colin Powell to Pakistan in Lahore on Wednesday. — Reuters photo

New Delhi, March 17
The USA is in the process of “totally tearing up” the proliferation network of Pakistan’s disgraced scientist A Q Khan, according to Secretary of State Colin Powell who left India this morning after a two-day visit.

Mr Powell has also reposed faith in the ongoing cricket diplomacy between India and Pakistan saying sports could do fascinating things and recalling that the present level of strong and vibrant US-China relationship started off with a ping-pong match.

“... When people come together, go to each other’s country, and watch a conflict being played out on the field of sport, as opposed to the field of battle, and you see people can do this and appreciate the other side, appreciate the power the other side brings to the field, then why can’t that same spirit, that same philosophy infect other aspects of relations,” Mr Powell said in an interview with Doordarshan News, a transcript of which was released by the US Embassy here.

Mr Powell stressed the importance of sports and said in specific context of India and Pakistan: “... Let’s hope that the spirit of cricket that we have seen in the last few days affects the whole comprehensive dialogue between the two sides.”

It was an aggressive question from the interviewer that brought out a spirited and elaborate response from Mr Powell on the issue of proliferation. He was asked about the American “double standards” vis-a-vis Iraq and Pakistan.

His contention was that Washington takes action against all proliferators though “it doesn’t always mean that the action has to be military action”. Mr Powell stressed that the US had to make sure that it was acting on an information which was not only accurate and useful but actionable also.

Mr Powell put Pakistan on a different pedestal when he said: “With respect to other countries such as Libya, Iran and North Korea, we are using political and diplomatic methods with respect to Pakistan.”

He elaborated that the US gave information to Pakistan with respect to the activities of Dr A Q Khan and made it clear to Islamabad that the Americans already knew a great deal about Dr Khan’s network. “What we knew we took it to the Pakistanis and said it’s time for all of this to come to an end. And we called up President Musharraf and said President Bush was going to be acting on this and speaking about it,” Mr Powell said.

He disclosed that the A Q Khan episode was triggered when the Libyans came forward with their decision to get rid of all weapons of mass destruction and spilled the beans on the A Q Khan saga. The American leader also stressed the need for elevating the Indo-US dialogue with respect the economic activity.


US to remain Pak’s friend, says Powell

US Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at a news conference in Kabul
US Secretary of State Colin Powell speaks at a news conference in Kabul on Wednesday.
— Reuters photo 

Islamabad, March 17
Promising that US would remain a “steadfast friend” of peace-makers in both India and Pakistan, Secretary of State Colin Powell has said American interests in Pakistan were not defined by the state of Indo-Pak relations but by the country’s “regional and global importance.”

“As India and Pakistan work to resolve their differences, the United States will remain a steadfast friend to the peace-makers on both sides and we will continue to build strong bilateral ties with each country in its own right,” Mr Powell, who arrived in Kabul today ahead of his Pakistan visit, wrote in an opinion peace in ‘The News’ daily.

The US has “enthusiastically” supported the “farsighted steps” toward reconciliation taken by President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said.

“Two years ago, India and Pakistan were spiralling toward conflict. Now, both leaders are shaping a composite dialogue, looking for ways to expand bilateral trade and promoting people-to-people ties, such as the cricket matches,” he said.

“America’s interest in Pakistan is not defined by the state of India-Pakistan relations, nor driven solely by the need to secure your assistance against terrorism and proliferation. We seek to build a close and enduring partnership with you because we recognise Pakistan’s regional and global importance.”

Mr Powell also said the US-Pak alliance remains crucial to protecting both the countries, and the world, from terrorism.

“Our joint efforts have put Al-Qaida on the defensive, and we will take the fight to them until (Osama) bin Laden and his supporters are brought to justice, and their networks destroyed,” he said.

He said Pakistan was “pressed forward” to fight terrorism and global fight against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with “conviction and courage.”

“The Pakistani people have reached out a hand of reconciliation to their neighbours. On the domestic front, Pakistan is battling extremism and forging ahead with the difficult task of economic reform and democratic institution building,” Mr Powell said.

Asserting that US stood by Pakistan in facing the challenges, he said each of the challenges carried “profound implications for regional and global stability.”

“In all of these critical efforts, the United States stands with Pakistan in partnership,” he said.

He said Mr Bush’s proposed five-year $ 3-billion aid package embodies America’s “abiding commitment” to Pakistan. “The package contains an economic component, which supports poverty reduction and will help Pakistan’s citizens prepare for success in a 21st century world.” — PTI

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