Leaked cables expose PML-N’s allegiance to US


A number of US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks indicate that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s anti-America stance is fake and meant to win over sympathies of Pakistanis, as its leaders always tried their best in closed-door meetings with US diplomats to get US patronage by trying to prove that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was pro-America and “anti-mullah”.
Diplomatic cables reveal that PML-N’s firebrand Nisar Ali Khan, who publicly condemns drone attacks and opposes the US-led war on terror, always assured the US of his and his party’s full support. “Nisar avoided saying that the PML-N opposed either air attacks or US ground action. What he did say was that the PML-N would have to criticise the Government of Pakistan for allowing US action. Otherwise, said Nisar, the party would have no credibility with the people,” writes the then US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson, to Washington in a diplomatic memo sent on September 19, 2008.
NISAR PRO-AMERICAN: In the same meeting, Nisar told US diplomats that despite surface indications of good will, there was deep distrust of President Zardari among senior military leaders. In her comment, Patterson writes: “Nisar appears to be positioning himself to be a candidate for Prime Minister if the Sharifs are disqualified in the upcoming battle with the PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) over control of the Punjab. Nisar is at heart a nationalist, and he will be an eloquent and formidable Opposition Leader. But he does recognize the need to stay in the good graces of the US, and we should invite him to Washington when an opportunity arises.” In another cable sent on December 4, 2007 about a meeting with Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Nisar and Ishaq Dar in Lahore on December 3, 2007, Patterson says: “Nawaz allowed his former ministers to make a long and detailed case defending Nawaz’s pro-American and anti-militant stance. Ali Khan and Dar both said that they had been ‘disappointed’ and ‘hurt’ to read that President (George W) Bush did not know Nawaz and felt the US was unfairly supporting (former prime minister Benazir) Bhutto and (former president Pervez) Musharraf.
RAJA ZAFARUL HAQ: Another central leader of the PML-N, Raja Zafarul Haq, also assured US diplomats that his party was pro-America. A diplomatic memo sent to Washington about Haq’s meeting with Senator Joseph Lieberman on January 10, 2008 says: “Senator Lieberman and DCM met January 9 with Raja Zafrul Haq, Chair of the PML-N party at PML-N party headquarters in Islamabad. Haq urged that US officials extend their contacts with PML-N leadership.” In a separate diplomatic cable sent to Washington on December 30, 2007 (just three days after Bhutto’s assassination), PML-Quaid President Chaudhry Shujaat told the then US ambassador to Pakistan that it was easy for his party to strike a power-sharing agreement with Zardari.


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