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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07ISLAMABAD2780
2007-06-22 11:22:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

BOUCHER'S FOREIGN MINISTRY DISCUSSIONS FOCUS ON CURRENT EVENTS, STRATEGIC DIALOGUE AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Tags:   AF  ECON  IN  PGOV  PHUM  PK  PREL  PTER 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 002780 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/21/2017
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, PHUM, ECON, PK, AF, IN
SUBJECT: BOUCHER,S FOREIGN MINISTRY DISCUSSIONS FOCUS ON
CURRENT EVENTS, STRATEGIC DIALOGUE AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD


Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Peter Bodde, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) Summary: On June 15, Assistant Secretary for South
and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher met separately with
Foreign Minister Kasuri, Foreign Secretary Khan, Additional
Secretary for the Americas Shahid Kamal, and other Ministry

SIPDIS
officials. The discussions focused on the U.S.-Pakistan
Strategic Dialogue and relations with Afghanistan and India.
On the Strategic Dialogue, Pakistani officials noted progress
on the energy, education, and science and technology pillars,
but believe there is still some work to do establishing the
economic pillar. On Pak-Afghan relations, they reported signs
of progress despite interpersonal tensions at the top. On
Pakistan,s relations with India, the various Pakistani
officials showed cautious optimism. Finally, in discussing
current domestic events in Pakistan, Kasuri stated the
Government of Pakistan would support the Supreme Court,s
ruling in the reference against the Chief Justice and would
remain committed to freedom of the press. End Summary.

Kasuri,s thoughts on the Chief Justice


--------------------------



2. (C) Kasuri stated the Government of Pakistan would
support the Supreme Court,s ruling on the reference against
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. He conveyed complaints Post
has heard from several other government officials: a) the
Chief Justice was &promoting8 himself by feeding on the
media,s close attention to his case; b) the Chief Justice,s
newfound popularity was eroding the separation of power
between the judicial and executive branches; and c) the
decision to file the reference against the Chief Justice had
been made in part because the government was concerned over
the Chief Justice,s role in canceling privatization plans,
including one for Pakistan Steel.

An independent media


--------------------------



3. (C) Kasuri was pleased Musharraf had withdrawn proposed
amendments to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory
Authority ordinance that would have placed restrictions on
press freedoms. According to Kasuri, when Musharraf realized
the restrictions would tarnish his legacy of promoting free
expression, he asked the Prime Minister to announce
withdrawal of the amendments. Kasuri said the government was
frustrated by &irresponsible8 news reporting of the Chief
Justice,s case and related protests, but understood the
media needed to be given time to develop independent
regulatory mechanisms.

Strategic Dialogue


--------------------------



4. (C) During a lunch with several Ministry officials,
Boucher and Additional Secretary Shahid Kamal agreed that,
although a formal round of the Strategic Dialogue had not
been held for several months, the two countries had
maintained ongoing strategic discussions thanks to frequent
high-level visits from both sides. The two officials
reviewed progress on the four pillars of the Dialogue
(education; science and technology; energy; and economics)
and agreed to explore how to invigorate the economic pillar,
hopefully holding a round of the dialogue in October or
November. Boucher promised he would work with the
appropriate officials in Washington to set a date in that
timeframe. Kamal said Pakistan looked forward to accepting a

ISLAMABAD 00002780 002 OF 003


delegation of U.S. university presidents as part of the
education pillar, and both officials noted particular
progress in science and technology and energy discussions.

Pakistan on the Hill


--------------------------



5. (C) Kamal reiterated Pakistan,s concern over language in
House Resolution 1 (the 9/11 bill) that called for
certification of Pakistan,s efforts in the War on Terror.
Boucher assured Kamal the U.S. Administration continued to
emphasize to Congress the negative impact such legislation
would have on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. Boucher noted
the good work Ambassador Durrani was doing, stressed the
importance of continuing discussions between members of
Congress and visiting Pakistani officials and also noted
positive feedback from the visit of Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff General Ehsan ul Haq.

6. (C) Kamal was pleased the U.S. Congress recently approved
USD 110 million for development in the Federally Administered
Tribal Areas. He also asked for an update on potential
legislation authorizing the establishment of Reconstruction
Opportunity Zones on the Northwest Frontier Province border
with Tribal Areas; he said Pakistani officials recently spoke
to European public and private figures about investment
opportunities should the Zones be approved. Boucher assured
Kamal the legislation remained a top priority of the U.S.
Administration.

Tribal Areas and Afghanistan


--------------------------



7. (C) Turning to the border areas and Afghanistan,
Additional Secretary for Afghanistan Khalid Khattak noted
positive trends in the Pak-Afghan relationship. While
Presidents Musharraf and Karzai did not necessarily enjoy a
warm relationship, they had met in Ankara in late April and
agreed to a substantive joint statement that included
follow-up steps. Both leaders, Khattak said, appreciated the
importance of a stronger government-to-government
relationship. (Note: Foreign Secretary Khan told Boucher he
would meet his Afghan counterpart in Ankara the first week of
July ) it would be the first follow-up meeting to the April
30 trilateral. End Note.)

8. (C) According to both Foreign Secretary Khan and Khattak,
some of the recent exchanges of gunfire between Pak and
Afghan forces on the border had occurred because the two
sides were working from different maps, which made it unclear
whether some border posts were in Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Pakistani and Afghan leaders were open, Khattak said, to
resolving these minor border disputes at the field commander
level instead of engaging in a public (and politically
sensitive) discussion on formally demarcating the border.
Khattak added the two countries, economic commissions hoped
to meet in July. &All of this is practical,8 Khattak said,
&and practical talk between our peoples is good.8

9. (C) Turning to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas,
Khattak believed strongly that increased economic
opportunities would help defeat militancy and extremism.
According to Khattak, tribes in North and South Waziristan
agencies had not yet embraced the idea of small businesses;
in other areas such as Khyber and Orakzai, small businesses
had flourished starting in the 1950s and 60s, which helped
explain why these agencies were relatively more peaceful.

ISLAMABAD 00002780 003 OF 003



Composite Dialogue in &slow mode8


--------------------------



10. (C) According to Khan, the Pak-India Composite Dialogue
was in &slow mode.8 Khan said April talks on Siachen
Glacier were &disappointing;8 he believed Indian officials
at the talks did not have a mandate to negotiate and were
instructed instead to restate old positions. In May, the two
sides exchanged Sir Creek maps. Hydrologists and surveyors
were narrowing remaining differences. Khan believed policy
suggestions on Sir Creek made at the technical level would be
raised to the political level for further negotiation. While
the Sir Creek dispute did not resonate strongly with the
public, Khan believed its resolution would help debunk the
Pakistani public,s notion that it was impossible to resolve
difficult disputes with India. Khan considered Kashmir &a
long way8 from resolution; he stressed Pakistan,s
leadership saw no way forward with India but peace through
dialogue. Kashmir would remain part of on-going strategic
discussions between the two countries, leaders.

11. (C) According to Khan, the initial Anti-Terror Mechanism
meeting in March did not result in productive intelligence
sharing. He was pleased, however, that India had started
focusing ) both in public and in private ) on how to
address domestic sources of extremism and terrorism.

Regional Integration ) Almaty to Karachi


--------------------------



12. (C) Boucher and Khan discussed prospects for regional
economic integration. Boucher emphasized Pakistan would act
as a critical link between Central Asian energy and goods and
Indian markets; he added that a highway from Almaty to
Karachi could reopen natural trade routes. Khan agreed and
stated the economic potential of integration with Central
Asian economies made security in Afghanistan all the more
important to Pakistan,s long-term stability and prosperity.
BODDE