Qureshi denied contact for hours with US officials

Pak Foreign Minister had to wait for hours to contact Holbrooke and Hillary.

Last Updated: Jun 01, 2010, 13:27 PM IST

Islamabad: The Pakistani government’s big claims that it had easy access to senior American officials was exposed when Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had to wait for hours to contact any of them.

Qureshi had been trying to contact American Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton since Monday morning. However, he was denied early access to both till the evening, the sources said.

They added that because of this reason, Qureshi kept himself away from media persons until Monday evening.

After he failed to contact Holbrooke and Hillary, Qureshi contacted US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson, and requested her to contact the Israeli administration for the early release of three Pakistanis, who were on board when the Israeli Army attacked the aid ship.

“ I have talked to US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson to ask Obama administration to use its influence on Israel for early release of the stranded Pakistanis; including veteran journalist Talat Hussein” The Nation quoted Qureshi, as saying.

The Foreign office spokesperson said the foreign minister had talked to Holbrooke, who had assured his help on the issue. He further said that in Tel Aviv there was no Pakistani among the dead.

A group of Pakistanis, including journalists, had been travelling with the flotilla.

The Foreign Office further informed that diplomatic efforts were being made to ascertain the whereabouts and safety of Pakistani nationals, including senior journalist Syed Talat Hussain, Raza Mahmood Agha and president Khubaib Foundation Islamabad, Nadeem Ahmad Khan.