ISLAMABAD - Senate Defence Committee Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed has said that the Pakistani people showed resilience in the war against terrorism, sacrificing much more than any other country and Pakistan’s democratic transformation, with multiple power centres and political pluralism, deserves fair and better treatment in the US media.

He was talking to a delegation of American journalists, currently visiting Islamabad on the US-Pakistan Journalist Exchange Programme, offered by the East-West Center, Honolulu.

Senator Mushahid said that the problems faced by the US after 9/11 were due to wrong policies of Washington, particularly an ‘ideological foreign policy’ that included the unwarranted invasion and occupation of Iraq, the rejection of Saudi Arabia’s Middle East peace plan and placing Iran on the so-called ‘Axis of Evil’, even though Tehran cooperated with the US both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Such wrong policies fuelled anti-Americanism, he added.

In the context of upcoming US/NATO forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, he stated that the biggest problem in US policy had been confusion and contradictions, as sometimes the United States requested Pakistan to arrange talks with the Afghan Taliban, while on other occasions, Washington wanted Pakistan ‘to take on the same Afghan Taliban’.

Mushahid, while warmly welcoming the visit of American journalists, suggested that American strength lies not in military might as use of force had failed in Afghanistan and Iraq. He added US strength lies in its “Soft Power”, mentioning such areas as: enrollment of foreign students in the US educational institutions, cultural and academic exchanges, media fellowships and scholarships, innovations in science and technology, charity work and development aid.

The senator praised President Obama for the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran and his foreign policy of avoiding military conflict in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

Talking about the US-Pakistan Journalist Exchange Programme, the American journalists informed that the journalistic exchange, offered by East-West Center, provides media of both sides an opportunity to gain firsthand information to better understand the perspective and public opinions.