New York: Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has turned out to be a key player in shaping US-Pakistan foreign policy and could be the next US secretary of state, a media report said.
Kerry, who championed the Kerry-Luger-Berman aid package bill that puts USD 1.5 billion in Pakistan`s pocket annually, is probably the popular figure in the region, suggested an article in the recent edition of `Newsweek`.
"Kerry is probably unique in being able to go to Pakistan as a demonstrated friend and say, `Look, lots of people are calling for us to cut off assistance. I will not be able to defend you unless you respond in a meaningful way to this event’," PJ Crowley, former State Department spokesperson, has been quoted as saying.
After the raid in Abbotabad to kill al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, this month, Pakistanis are angry with the US for crossing their borders.
Kerry has emerged as President Obama`s go-to guy when things get ugly in the region, which works because he wants Hillary Clinton`s position.
Special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, who died recently, relied a great deal on Kerry, according to the report.
A Pakistani official said that during one meeting with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Holbrooke whipped out his cell phone and rang up Kerry.
Holbrooke told him, "I have got Senator Kerry on the line right here," then handed him the phone so Kerry could get involved.
After that, says the official with a chuckle, whenever Holbrooke and Zardari were scheduled to meet, the President`s staff would install cell phone jammers to prevent the envoy from repeating the stunt.
Following the tensions over shooting by the CIA contractor in Lahore, Raymond Davis, the Newsweek reported that Kerry was asked by the White House to help defuse the crisis.
Ten days after the shooting, Kerry called Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani and invited him to his Georgetown home for tea.
According to a person familiar with the meeting, Haqqani told Kerry that the situation required "an expression of remorse" by the US and that it had to be delivered in Lahore.
Kerry went to Pakistan and his appearance on Pakistani television helped "soften the blow”, the official said, enabling both countries to save face.