ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is optimistic about winning US support against India when he meets President Barrack Obama on October 22 at the Oval Office. Obama had invited Nawaz for a meeting in August. The invitation came at a meeting between the premier and US National Security Adviser Susan Rice in Islamabad. A US National Security Council statement later said the meeting was intended to “advance our mutual interests and address areas of concern, particularly terrorist and militant attacks emanating from Pakistani soil.”

Officials at Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the meeting will give Nawaz a chance to rebut India’s claims that Islamabad is disturbing regional peace and sponsoring terrorism. Pakistan was also disappointed last month when the US and India agreed to deepen cooperation in fighting terrorism and asked Pakistan to bring to justice the 2008 Mumbai attack perpetrators. The joint statement after India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue ahead of the United Nations General Assembly last month prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to point the finger at India during his UNGA address. Pakistan’s envoy to UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi also presented three dossiers accusing India of sponsoring terrorism in Karachi, Balochistan and the tribal areas. The Premier proposed a four-point “new peace initiative” calling for demilitarising Kashmir and Siachen, and formalising the 2003 ceasefire. The formula was rejected by India who insisted Pakistan “must stop supporting terrorism” before talks can be held.

At a meeting here yesterday with Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the prime minister expressed the confidence that his upcoming visit to the US will improve relationship between the two countries. “The prime minister expressed the hope that the visit will also help in providing Pakistan with an opportunity to highlight the matchless sacrifices and huge losses against the war on terror,” said an official statement.

A foreign ministry official said the PM will take up Pakistan’s case before President Obama and present proof of India’s interference in Pakistan. He said India had been misleading the world about Pakistan’s role. “The PM will tell Obama how much we have lost in the war on terror. Our soldiers and citizens have died. We are the victims not the perpetrators,” he added. The official said prime minister had advocated Pakistan’s case at the UNGA and desired peace with India “but they responded negatively”. “It is an open secret that India has been presenting us as promoters of terrorism. Whenever they get a chance, they speak against us. The PM will show President Obama who the real culprit is,” he maintained. “The PM will urge President Obama to play neutral. Many feel they are playing for India at the moment,” he said. Defence analyst Lt-Gen Amjad Shoaib said it was for the first time Pakistan was openly exposing India before the international community.

“We have handed over dossiers based on evidence of Indian subversive activities to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Copies were circulated among other permanent members of UN. This should work,” he commented. He said Pakistan has always appreciated and encouraged dialogue with India for sustainable peace in the region but India has always avoided the process. Senior analyst Dr A Z Hilali said, “Pakistan has successfully uncovered the hidden face of India in front of international community. Pakistan has given a truly tough time to India on recent UN forums. Also, Pakistan openly says they are ready to resolve all issues with India through dialogue. This time Pakistan is effectively expressing its stance regarding all issues and this must be appreciated.”