Islamabad/Washington: Pakistan on Thursday claimed that US President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a terrific guy and also told him that he looked forward to visiting the “fantastic country”.
The tenor of Trump's outreach to Pakistan surprised those who had expected him to take a strong line against Islamabad because of his criticism of that country and vehement opposition to Islamist terrorism during his campaign.
Notably, Trump had even ridiculed President Barack Obama's administration for not being able to help the jailed doctor who helped the US track down and kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was sheltering in Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif's office yesterday released a read-out of the Pakistani PM's conversation with Trump. However, Trump's team has issued bare minimum information, triggering much bemusement both in mainstream and social media.
The transition team of US president-elect Donald Trump has taken issue with the Pakistan government`s version of the telephone conversation that took place with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Saying that Islamabad had overplayed Trump`s offer to play "a role" in resolving Pakistan`s disputes with India, the transition team released its own version of the telephone call.
It said that both Prime Minister Sharif and Trump did have a `productive conversation` on Wednesday (November 30).
The Dawn quoted the transition team`s statement as saying, "President-elect Trump and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke, had a productive conversation about how the United States and Pakistan will have a strong working relationship in the future."
"President-elect Trump also noted that he is looking forward to a lasting and strong personal relationship with Prime Minister Sharif," the statement added.
An unidentified adviser to the Trump team said the Pakistani readout of the talk had "committed the president-elect to more than what he meant".
The most critical comment on the Pakistani readout, however, came from a former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who said: "It`s entirely inappropriate for the Pakistani government to release what an American president-elect says in the course of a phone call."
Meanwhile, CNN commented: "We know that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President-elect Donald Trump spoke on the phone Wednesday. What was said during that call is what's at issue".
"After the conversation, the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office put out a statement directly quoting Trump -- a violation of diplomatic protocol -- in which he glowingly praised Sharif," the network said.
Readouts of phone calls between world leaders are usually written safely way in order to protect leaders from incidental backlash -- like the one the Trump team put out, it said.
"They're dry and diplomatic statements summing up conversations using carefully chosen buzzwords," it said, adding that such calls themselves are usually quite formal.
"A president wouldn't gush over a foreign leader the way that Donald Trump did. He wouldn't volunteer to do all these things," says CNN political analyst David Gergen, who has served as an adviser to four presidents.
"Our relationship with Pakistan is one of the most sensitive and difficult relationships in the world. It's an extremely important relationship."
When making that call, a president would likely have a press aide and national security advisers at his side, according to Gergen.
"You'd carefully think through any call like that, you'd make your two or three points, [then] over and out," he said. "Especially don't leave them in a position where they could put out something so gushing that it hurts your relationship with India."
The Washington Post, in its report on the Sharif-Trump conversation, said, the Pakistani readout is "unusual in that it focuses almost entirely on Trump's contributions to the conversation, and reproduces them in a voice that is unmistakably his."
"Lavishing praise on the Pakistanis would be a major turnaround for the president-elect. In 2012, Trump took to his favorite social media platform, Twitter, to denounce Pakistan," the leading American newspaper said.
According to Pakistani account, Trump lavished extravagant praise upon Sharif and Pakistani people.
"You have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy," it goes. In addition, Pakistan is "a fantastic country, fantastic place" with the most "intelligent" people and "your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities".
Not satisfied with that, the account, commonly known as read-outs, culminates with this flourish: "Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people, said Mr Donald Trump."
"It is unclear to what extent these are direct quotes, but there was much bemusement both in mainstream and social media," the BBC commented.
Cricketer-turned politician and opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan tweeted: "Good news is Trump spoke to Nawaz Sharif. Bad news for NS is this won't save him from Panama scandal - not even if a Trump letter arrived!"
"Am spellbound by this profound piece of literature. How terrific is the level of incompetence at the Nawaz PMO," says a tweet in the name of former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar.