ISLAMABAD- US President Barak Obama made a phone call to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, late Friday night. According to official announcement here, the US President, during his telephonic conversation with Premier Sharif, took Pakistani leader into confidence over his ( Obama’s) upcoming visit to India. The said visit, according to The Daily Mail’s sources, is likely to take place in January 2015 on the eve of the Republic Day of India where Obama will be participating in the grand gala as the Chief Guest. It was announced officially that during the conversation, US President informed Premier of Pakistan that US was very much desirous of seeing peace between nuclear arch rivals of South Asia and said that peace overtures by Islamabad and New Delhi would very much be appreciated by Washington.
This is what the press and public has been told officially. However the insiders have something more to reveal. According to these anonymity requesting insiders, a phone call by a US President to a Pakistani leader has always been something of great pleasance for the later. However, this call by Obama, over the weekend, has actually made Mian Nawaz Sharif rather upset and instead of being very jubilant to receive US President’s phone call, the Pakistani Premier has been seen in a great distrust.
According to these insiders, US President asked Pakistani Premier to shun his plans of raising the issue of aggression and unprovoked shelling and hostile firing by Indian army along the working boundary and on the Line of Control (LoC) during the upcoming Summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation that is being held at Nepalese Capital city of Kathmandu. Obama has also asked Sharif to avoid mentioning of Kashmir issue in any form at Kathmandu moot. This part of Obama-Sharif telephonic conversation emerged when Obama asked Nawaz Sharif that US was desirous of Pak-India peace and told Sharif that Indian Premier Modi was rather perturbed by the expected Pakistani move of raising the Indian army’s border hostilities and Kashmir issue at Kathmandu. These insiders say that though Mr. Sharif promised Obama of not creating any trouble for Modi at Kathmandu moot, yet he asked Obama to play his role in diffusing Pak-India tension and also urged him to take up the Kashmir issue with the Indian leadership.
The insiders say that after this part of the conversation, Premier appeared to be very upset as the things had gone contrary to his planning with regard to Kathmandu engagements. They say that after deep consultations with the top professionals at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the light of the feedback from country’s military establishment as well as from the general public and media’s view point, it was decided that Prime Minister of Pakistan would adopt a rather harder line during the SAARC moot and would use the main forum as well as the sideline meetings and media talks to elaborate the hostilities of the Indian army along border with Pakistan and on LoC. In fact, according to these insiders, a few heads of the SAARC member States including the hosts were also reported to be having plans of raising their respective issues of similar nature, pertaining to India during Kathmandu event.
The sources say that SAARC charters does not prove room for raising bilateral issues at the formal level of the forum, yet if more than one member States come up with similar natured complaints about any other member, the issue can be raised at the forum. Furthermore, the reservations can be expressed by any member State about any other member in a rather informal manner, the way it happens at the moots of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). These sources say that Pakistan’s diplomats were holding rather covert parleys in this direction with more than two members States and Islamabad had obtained assurances that in such a move, they too would come up to raise their respective issues with Delhi.
On the other side, both Foreign Office and military establishment had advised Premier Sharif to adopt a relatively strong stance at the SAARC moot and should better avail the Kathmandu opportunity while the Foreign Office had also advised the Premier to avoid seeking a formal call on with Indian Premier Modi and adopt a rather stiff body language while formal interaction with Indian counterpart during the moot. The sources say that a particular engagement agenda for Premier’s engagements on the sideline of the SAARC Summit were prepared keeping in view the policy guidelines, chalked out accordingly.
However, these sources say that after Obama’s call, Premier was seen very upset as he was reported to be feeling stuck between the requirements of Washington and expectations from military headquarters in Rawalpindi as well as those of the entire nation, particularly when rivals, PTI Chief Imran Khan and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, were very effectively snubbing Indians over the unprovoked aggression, judging the pulse of the nation, very effectively. The sources further say that after this development, Premier held an emergency meeting of his very close aides and discussed the new development. A team of Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been tasked to come up with their input, according to the scenario, changed after Obama’s call. The sources also said that after finding Premier Nawaz in sort of two minds, Obama administration, the very next morning, directed US envoy in Islamabad to hold a meeting with PTI Chhief Imran Khan to convey a polite, yet meaningful message to Mr. Sharif.
Sources say that it is to be seen in the coming couple of days as to who is preferred by the Premier while being at Katmandu. Is he going to go according to Obama’s desire or would he like to come up to the expectations of the nation and the military leaders at Rawalpindi.
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