Relation with Pak complicated, frustrating: US

US` relationship with Pakistan is complicated and often "frustrating", Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said as she slammed the political establishment there for being dominated by "powerful interests."

Last Updated: Mar 03, 2011, 12:08 PM IST

Washington: US` relationship with Pakistan
is complicated and often "frustrating", Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton said as she slammed the political
establishment there for being dominated by "powerful
interests."

"This (US-Pak) is a complicated and often frustrating
relationship," Clinton said in her testimony before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee as she appreciated the constant
attention and helpful interventions from its Chairman Senator
John Kerry in this regard.
"We are working to deepen that partnership and keep it
focused on addressing Pakistan`s political and economic
challenges, as well as our shared threats," Clinton said.

Responding to a question from Senator Richard Lugar,
Clinton said the Pakistani politics is dominated by the rich.

"Economically and politically, it`s a much more complex story.
They have made some decisions that we support and that
Kerry-Lugar-Berman was intended to encourage, but they`ve also
run into a lot of political difficulties because this is a
political system that is dominated by the rich."

Lashing out at Pakistan`s political establishment, she
said "They don`t to pay a penny in taxes, if that sounds
familiar. They want to keep their big landed estates, don`t
want anybody asking them to support education, support health,
to support anything for their people. And as a result, those
powerful interests dominate the politics of Pakistan."

Clinton said as a result of this attitude US has been
working with those organisations that it believe are on the
right track for reform. "We`ve been working with NGOs, both
Pakistani-American and international, that we think can
support those kinds of changes."
"The floods came along and just upended everything
because they were so devastating and they cost so much money.
But I would say that on balance, despite how challenging the
relationship is and how much internal pressure their
government faces every day, we`re in a better position than we
were two years in actually confronting the real problems.
We`re not papering over them. We`re not pretending that they
can somehow be ignored," Clinton said.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the
US continues to work with Pakistan to deal with terrorism in
the region.

"We continue to work with the Pakistani government to
deal with the issue of terrorism and insurgents," he told
reporters.

However, Senators were concerned over the fact that
Pakistan is not doing enough on the war against terrorism.

"I`m not criticizing you (Clinton). I`m just saying it
is hugely disheartening to see what we`re doing in Afghanistan
taking place, knowing that the center of all of it is really
in Pakistan, and there`s no real effort to deal with it on
their part," said Bob Corker said.

Senator Christopher Coons, who was recently in the
Af-Pak region, said the progress in Afghanistan was matched
with a lack of real sustained progress in Pakistan.

"I had some real concerns about their either
unwillingness or disinclination to go after extremists and to
essentially close this deal and give us a sustainable
opportunity for success," Coons said.

"What are we doing as a nation to ensure that the very
extremists who slipped through our fingers in Afghanistan and
crossed over to Pakistan are not already able to find
promising second fronts to move to in Yemen, in Somalia and in
other states? There were disturbing developments even today in
Yemen," he asked.

PTI