Asserting that the US is trying to make its relationship work with Pakistan, the Obama Administration’s point man for Af-Pak has said that it is important both the countries recognise that terrorism, including Haqqani Network, is a threat to both of them.
"We are trying to do all that we can to make this relationship work. We want it to be successful. But it’s very, very important that the Government of Pakistan and the Government of the United States and the people of the two countries recognise that terrorism –- and that includes the Haqqani Network –- is a threat to both of us," Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Mark Grossman said.
Terrorism and extremism is a threat to both Pakistanis and Americans. That includes the Haqqani Network, he said.
"And we hope that action, joint action, will get taken," Grossman said.
Grossman asserted that a big part of statement of Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, before a Congressional committee last week was that Pakistan and the US needed to stay engaged with one another.
"That’s what we want to do. This is not about ending relationships or moving away from relationships, rupturing relationships. It’s about continued engagement in the relationship," he told in an interview with Pakistani news channel.
Message to the people of Pakistan is that the United States is a friend of Pakistan, the United States will be there with Pakistan, that the threats to Pakistan are the same threats that Americans face and that’s extremism and terrorism, the transcripts released by the State Department quoted Grossman as saying to the channel.
"And we ought to be able to find ways, and we ought to work to find ways, to identify our shared interests and then act on them together," Grossman added.
There are important issues out there – Afghanistan, relations with India, the Haqqani Network, other terrorist organisations.
But these are things that the United States and Pakistan ought to be talking about and ought to be finding ways to work together.
Identifying shared interests, acting on them together, that should be our watchword for the very near future of US-Pakistan relations, he said.
"I've been saying – and I don't know if people in Pakistan will agree, but what I've been saying is, is that we ought to be able to find a way to identify our shared interests – Pakistan and the United States – and then act on them together," he said.
"The other bit of it seems to me – or two other bits if you’d allow me – first of all is to keep focused also on the people-to-people relationships," Grossman said.
"One of the things we're very proud of is that we have more education and student exchanges with Pakistan than in any other country in the world," he said.
United States was among the most active countries in responding to the floods over the past few weeks, Grossman said.
"So this idea that we can focus our attention on shared interests is extremely important, and again, I come back to the joint threat, or the common threat, that terrorism, very much including the Haqqani Network, poses to both Americans and to Pakistanis," Grossman said.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland has said US and Pakistan need to work together to tackle Haqqani network and the two countries were in communication with each other on the issue.
"We need to work together on Haqqani with Pakistan; that is what we are working on together," Nuland said.
The State Department stands behind the conclusion of Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that this safe haven is extremely dangerous, that the two nations must work on it together, she said.
"Admiral Mullen also made the point that we have no choice, the US and Pakistan, but to tackle this together," she said.
Nuland ruled out that there was any difference between the State Department and Mullen on the issue.
"Admiral Mullen expressed the views of the administration that the safe havens that Haqqani exploits are extremely dangerous, that we've got to work on this together," she said.
"We are not going to go back wards; we need to go forwards here with the Pakistani government, and we need to work on this issue together," Nuland said.
Pakistanis have suffered greatly from terrorism. Together more terrorists have been killed and wrapped up in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world, and we need to continue to do that, she said.
"The issue of our mutual requirement to tackle this threat is obviously something that we are all engaged in and all working on together," she said.