Pertains to U.S. bid to get India to play a leader's role in the region

Pakistan on Saturday rejected the United States' bid to get India to play a leader's role in Asia-Pacific with Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani stating that “we do not want any chaudhry [chieftain]” in the region.

He said this in response to requests for a reaction to Ms. Clinton encouraging India to assume leadership of the region in a speech in Chennai on Wednesday. Evidently eager not to vitiate the atmosphere ahead of the India-Pakistan Foreign Minister-level engagement in New Delhi next week, Mr. Gilani at first sought to dodge the question and then dismissed it as her opinion; adding that restrictions cannot be imposed on anyone's thinking.

“Stinging” references

Though Ms. Clinton had made several “stinging” references to Pakistan during her India visit, Islamabad has stopped itself from reacting the way it did last year after U. S. President Barack Obama echoed the ‘do more' mantra from Indian soil.

Members of Pakistan's community of strategic analysts are of the view that Ms. Clinton — knowing full well how “allergic” Islamabad is to being blamed for anything from Indian soil — could have avoided some of the references she made to Pakistan in her comments in India as also the inclusion of a mention of “safe havens for terrorists” in Pakistan in the joint statement.

Evades Fai issue

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister refused to be drawn into commenting on the arrest of Kashmiri-American Council's (KAC) director Ghulam Nabi Fai by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Asked about Dr. Fai's alleged linkages to the Inter Services Intelligence, he said: “Let the facts come out, we will see then.”

The Foreign Office had earlier come out in his support; stating that the arrest would not affect the legitimacy of the Kashmiri struggle and complaining about the slander campaign against Pakistan over the issue.

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