In what can only be called a petty move, the Trump transition team has issued its own version of the Sharif-Trump telephone call, saying that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US president-elect Donald Trump did have a ‘productive conversation’ on Wednesday, but it lacked the “flowery language” included in the Pakistani version of this talk.

It is disappointing that the incumbent US administration would imply that the office of the PM lied, that the US could be so small so as to embarrass a long-time ally that has lost countless lives in the War on Terror. This was not the resolution of Kashmir, or the granting of F-16 subsidies – just a phone call where Mr Trump, in his usual flow of verbiage called Pakistan “fantastic”. It seems the people in the US, and in the international media, and especially in India, are unwilling to even let Pakistan have that much – an offhand compliment in a phone call.

The statement issued by the Trump transition team said, “President-elect Trump also noted that he is looking forward to a lasting and strong personal relationship with Prime Minister Sharif.” How the Pakistani “version” of the phone call implied anything else is unfathomable. 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”. There was no implication from the Pakistani side that any “commitment” had been made.

White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer had this to say: “It’s entirely inappropriate for the Pakistani government to release what an American president-elect says in the course of a phone call.” What the suits in Washington do not realise is that Pakistan needs to make such conversations public, because otherwise, no one in the international community is willing to believe that Pakistan is not the demon that the media has made it up to be. Releasing a readout is not inappropriate, when nothing controversial or secret has been said. CNN admits this saying, “Readouts of phone calls between world leaders are usually written safely in order to protect leaders from incidental backlash — like the one the Trump team put out.” However, while the CNN is happy to protect Mr Trump, the same privileges apparently don’t apply to a Pakistani leader. The readout by Pakistan was to protect the PM from ‘incidental backlash’ – which includes a constantly aggressive India, and the fickle Americans who gush praises and encouragement, but only unofficially.

The Pakistani version was honest. It sounded like Mr Trump, and it was released in good faith, no matter what spin the US and Indian media is trying to give it. Even The Washington Post has admitted that the transcript was in a “voice that is unmistakably his (Mr Trump’s)”.