On March 16, President Asif Ali Zardari asked the US to assist Pakistan in civilian nuclear technology to help the country surmount its energy crisis and narrow the trust deficit between the two countries. He said this during a meeting at Aiwan-e-Sadr with Director of US National Intelligence Dennis C Blair, Neil H Joeck, National Intelligence Officer for South Asia National Intelligence Council, US Ambassador Ms Anne W. Patterson and Jonathan D Bank, Regional Affairs Counsellor.Also present at the meeting were Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Director General Inter Services Intelligence Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Secretary General to the President Salman Faruqui and Senator Sughra Imam.
According to the President’s spokesperson, Farhatullah Babar, Mr. Zardari said that provision of civilian nuclear technology would help a great deal in addressing misperceptions about the US in Pakistan. The President also called upon the US administration for early transfer of drone technology to Pakistan for use by their own security forces and for its wider public acceptability. Mr. Babar further stated that the President condemned the US drone attacks on Pakistan soil as an infringement on national sovereignty which also undermines national consensus on the war against terror.
The President also expressed reservations over the new screening regime for Pakistani nationals and called for its review as it had created resentment in the country.