NEW YORK: Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has urged President Barack Obama to show “some courage” and apologize to Pakistan for the NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at Salala and bring US-Pakistan relations back on track.
“Pakistan deserves an apology,” he said, noting that his current week long visit to the United states was taking place at a crucial point in the relations between the two countries.
The PPP chairman also called for an end to the drone attacks inside the Pakistani territory, saying they were illegal and violate international law and even the US’s war powers act.
While addressing PPP workers and support in New York on Monday night Bilawal said that he has traveled to America at what may be the most critical point in the 65 years relationship between Pakistan and the United States.
“For one year our countries have weathered a series of crises that have tested our partnership, the unilateral action in Abbottabad made many in Pakistan question whether the United States actually considered Pakistan a military ally in our common war on terrorism and extremism,” stated Bilawal.
Regarding the Raymond Davis fiasco, Bilawal stated that is raised several questions within Pakistan as to the authority of CIA activities within Pakistan. Bilawal added that the continuing unilateral US drone attacks on Pakistani soil were a constant irritant to Pakistani public opinion and were clearly considered as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. He further stated that these illegal strikes violated international law and even the US’s war powers act, and that they must be halted.
About the Salala attack which left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead, Bilawal added that no apology has yet been made to neither the families of the victim not the nation concerned.
“I would like the American public to consider what their reaction would have been if American troops had been killed in such an attack on their border with Mexico,” said Bilawal.
Bilawal with respect to Obama stated that the President needed to show some “courage”, though he was running for re-election. “I understand he is running for re-election but if he is the same man who inspired the world with his message of hope, changing the future of NATO mission in Afghanistan should be more important than poll numbers, Pakistan deserves an apology,” uttered Bilawal.
Answering the on-going “do more” demands of the US, Bilawal said that it was ludicrous to keep demanding Pakistan do more under these circumstances as over 4,000 Pakistani troops have already been martyred in this war. He furhter elaborated that this toll was almost equal to the entire NATO forces combined and it was time for the US to do more.
Bilawal also said that this moment was truly a moment of tension and re-examination and both Pakistan and US were at crossroads. He added that the future of the bilateral relationship could determine the success of moderation against extremism in South and Central Asia.
Bilawal was in New York on Tuesday to attend a ceremony where the documentary ‘BHUTTO’ received the prestigious Peabody award, the most coveted honor in electronic journalism anywhere in the world.
“My mother lived and died fighting for democracy, for human rights, for women’s rights, for moderation against extremism, for modernity against ignorance, for a future better than any of the pasts we have ever known,” Bilawal said while talking about his mother.
Benzair’s son said that he was in America to do everything, in his power, to bring Pakistan and the United States back on track, hence achieving his mother’s dream.
Praising his PPP government, Bilawal said that it was the only civilian government in Pakistan’s history to complete a full five year term.
“Our government, under the leadership of President Zardari and PM Gilani has accomplished what no other government could do in forty years, we have restored our 1973 Constitution and restored the rule of law to Pakistan,” stated Bilawal.
Talking about the Benazir Support Program (BSP), Bilawal said that it had infused capital into rural areas of the country, targeting micro loans to the women of Pakistan. He said that the BSP served the dual goals of woman empowerment and poverty alleviation and had lifted 6 million families out of poverty.
He also uttered that Pakistan, as a nation, has fiercely resisted the terrorist menace and paid a mind boggling price as over 37,000 civilians died during the war on terror.
“We have also lost one of the greatest leaders in the world, Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto, my beloved mother,” said Bilawal, futher adding that “No nation has paid a greater price for our freedom, we have not come this far to fail, this is my message to you, this is my message to the people of America”.