US "intrusive" in Pak's internal affairs: Munter
The US appears to be "intrusive" in Pakistan's internal affairs because it is the largest donor to the country, American ambassador Cameron Munter has said against the backdrop of fresh strains in the ties between the two countries.world Updated: Jan 08, 2011 21:09 IST
The US appears to be "intrusive" in Pakistan's internal affairs because it is the largest donor to the country, American ambassador Cameron Munter has said against the backdrop of fresh strains in the ties between the two countries.
"We appear to be intrusive because we care, we are the largest donor. Our aid comes as outright grant of assistance which is different from loans," Munter said during a lecture organised by a think tank on Friday.
"Yes we are demanding," he said.
Munter acknowledged that the US had been "bluntly" saying what Pakistan needs to do but such calls came with "a measure of respect."
He reiterated the American administration's demands for Pakistan to broaden the tax base, improve revenue generation, flush out militants and expel international terrorists.
The deep involvement of American diplomats and leaders in Pakistan's domestic politics came to light with the release of secret US diplomatic cables by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.
Munter's candid remarks took the audience at Friday's lecture by surprise.
The envoy also said the US would "continue to be this way" while defending human rights, including the rights of women.
Expanding the tax base is essential for Pakistan's long-term development and will send a signal to international donors that aid is being used for the right purposes and "not covering the Pakistani citizens who don’t pay their share", Munter said.
The US is encouraging Pakistan to put in place prudent economic and regulatory policies, he said.
He cautioned the government against protecting the interests of "few" persons, saying this was "happening too much" in Pakistan.
Western donors and US leaders, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have criticised Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilanis recent decision to rollback an unpopular fuel price hike.