Town Hall at Government College University
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning. It is indeed an honor for me to join you here at GC University Lahore, a distinguished place of learning with so much history and so many graduates who have made contributions not only to Pakistan, but to the world. I thank all of you for gathering here today. I wish to thank certainly Professor Awan and Vice Chancellor Aftab. Thank you both very much. And I’m delighted that the foreign minister and the education minister are here with us, that we have both our American Ambassador to Pakistan, Ambassador Patterson, and our Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Holbrooke.
It is a special privilege for me to be back here in Lahore. I was first here nearly 15 years ago. This is now my fifth visit to Pakistan, my third to Lahore, my first as Secretary of State. And I am delighted that I have a chance to come and speak with young people here on this beautiful campus, in this city celebrated throughout history as a center of culture and scholarship, and in a country that means so much to Islamic civilization and the Muslim world.
As someone with a deep respect for Islam, visiting Pakistan is a special honor. And I have several members of my staff, Muslim Americans, who accompanied me on this trip, and I know I can speak for them and say that we are all very pleased to be here.
Before coming to the university this morning, I paid a visit to Bari Imam, the shrine to Shah Abdul Latif Kazmi. I also was privileged to learn more about and visit the extraordinary Badshahi Mosque and the tomb of Allama Iqbal, whose ideas played such an important role in shaping this nation from its start. And one cannot stand in the midst of the mosque without appreciating the contributions to human thought and cultural expression that emanates from Pakistan.
And I’d like to speak briefly today before taking your questions about what together we can do to work to harness the ideas, the values, the talents of the Pakistani people, particularly young people, to help not only this nation, but our world shape a future of peace, prosperity, and progress. I want to hear your thoughts about the ways in which you think the challenges we face today can be addressed.
And I want to begin by underscoring the fact that I am here because the Obama Administration and I personally am committed to Pakistan and to the Pakistani people. The ties between our countries have been forged over decades through times of struggle and crisis brought on by natural disasters, acts of war and violence. Our nations have often acted as a team coordinating aid and providing support. Our soldiers have stood together, our students have learned together, our leaders have worked together, our scientists have researched together, and our entrepreneurs and our investors have done business together. Through it all, our ties have been strengthened by the hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who have moved to the United States, bringing with them the values and traditions of their homeland.
As a senator for New York for eight years, I was proud to represent the world’s largest community of Pakistani Americans, many of whom I count as close personal friends. These are people who have made invaluable contributions to my country, doctors and scholars (inaudible) --
. . . to have a partnership. Well, it is true that security has been a prominent part of the public discourse about our countries’ relationship, and that makes sense because it is a serious and urgent issue. Anyone picking up the papers today and seeing the results of the horrific bombing in Peshawar that killed dozens of people, mostly women and children, cannot doubt that Pakistan is the midst of a battle against extremists who bomb universities and police stations, who kill babies.
Now, these attacks may be happening on your territory, but this is not your fight alone. These extremists are committed to destroying that which is dear to us as much as they are committed to destroying that which is dear to you and to all people. And you are standing on the front lines of this battle, but we are standing with you.
But as crucial as security issues are, they are not the only element of our relationship with Pakistan. They are just one piece of a much broader partnership, one that we hope will improve the lives of people in both our nations in many ways, so that more people can develop their talents and make the most of their God-given potential. How many children who are denied an education or denied healthcare might have excelled at this great university, perhaps even joining the ranks of your Nobel Laureate? Well, we don’t know, because although talent is universal, opportunity is not.
And I am proud that under the leadership of President Obama, the United States is placing greater emphasis on approaches such as increasing access to education, supporting entrepreneurs, using the tool of microfinance and technology to connect and give people greater empowerment, increasing energy supplies so that the economy will have the resources it needs to thrive.
But the United States is not interested in a one-sided relationship with your country; in the long run that won’t serve anyone. We are committed to working with you as true partners, and that means, first and foremost, listening and consulting with one another.
Earlier, I had a few minutes with some of the leaders of civil society and the Bar here in Lahore, and I admired from a distance the role that civil society played in providing a platform for a return to democracy, standing up for democratic institutions, standing up for the independence of the judiciary. And the progress that has been made in a relatively short period of time in restoring democracy is a tribute to the public officials and leaders who have led it, to the civil society activists and advocates who championed it, and to the people of Pakistan who demanded it.
Later today, I will meet with Pakistani business leaders to discuss how the United States can help create jobs and strengthen Pakistan’s economy. Tomorrow, I will meet with citizens from the FATA areas in the North-West Province to learn more about the needs of the people in those remote regions. I will also hold a town hall tomorrow with several hundred women to highlight the unique contributions that we women make to our communities and discuss ways that we can all do a better job of unleashing women’s potential worldwide.
I think it’s important that we emphasize the role that an academic institution such as this and so many of you play in a robust, civil society to protect the rights of people, to hold leaders accountable. I believe that society rests on a three-legged stool. One leg is a strong democratic system with accountable government, with transparency. The other is an economy that produces opportunities, good jobs, rising income. But the third leg of that stool is civil society, where most of life takes place, where we practice our faiths, where we associate with one another, where we pursue our interests and our hopes and aspirations.
So for me, this is an opportunity for us to reaffirm our partnership and to turn the page on some of the past that, frankly, represent lost opportunities to strengthen the relationship between us. We could have done more to convey solidarity with the activists. We could have done more to urge the government to live up to its obligations. But the United States will not repeat that history. We are committed to helping you along the road towards sustainable, durable democracy.
And we know from our own experience that building such a strong and stable democracy is an ongoing process, and it is not always neat and tidy. It requires far more than free elections. It requires a strong ethic of activism. It requires what De Tocqueville – the famous French writer who traveled to my country when it was still a very young country – what he called the habits of the heart, so that no matter what goes wrong in the government, the habits of the heart are strong enough to pull it back on course.
All of you are stewards of Pakistan’s democracy. Each of you, in your own ways, can help ingrain democratic values into the culture of your community, whether on this campus or at home with your families or out in society. You can communicate the importance of having a voice in the public sphere of resolving differences peacefully, joining with other citizens to strengthen public institutions so all people have a chance to participate in their country’s progress.
You can help Pakistan transition from the promise of democracy to the practice of democracy. Many of you have found your education to be a powerful tool, as the vice chancellor was reminding us. The importance of having the courage to know cannot be overstated. It is an apt motto not only for this university, but for our lives today, because your education does help to develop an ability to consider other viewpoints and alternate approaches. That’s essential for participating in a diverse society. It’s also a passport to greater economic opportunity.
But broadening access to higher education is one of the unfinished tasks here in Pakistan. For too many young people, a university education is but a distant dream. So I am proud to announce that the United States will give $45 million to Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission to expand – (applause) – to expand both university and technical education for students in economically vulnerable areas such as southern Punjab or the North-West Frontier Province, as well as students displaced from their homes and communities by recent violence.
There is truly no limit to what this, your generation, can do to bring people together in civic engagement, especially with the new technologies that offer the possibility of communicating and collaborating like never before. I read a story in The New York Times earlier this year about a group of students here in Lahore who were tired of the accumulation of trash in their neighborhood. So they did what any social activists do today. They went on Facebook and invited their friends to come out and collect trash on that Sunday. Then they did it again on the next Sunday and then on another Sunday, and they convinced people who were walking by to join them. They asked shopkeepers to pitch in. They named their group Responsible Citizens. And today, their Facebook community has more than 1,600 members.
Some might say, well, what does picking up trash have to do with democracy? It empowers individuals to take action that needs to be done, no one else is doing it, and it is not left to someone else to do. It imbues the entire community with a sense of empowerment and opportunity. And I commend these students and hope that their numbers grow by leaps and bounds. Because today, it has never been easier for the young people of Pakistan to unite in common cause across class barriers and geographic divides to make your nation a better place and to inculcate those habits of the heart.
And to help you pool your talents, ideas, and energy, telecommunications companies from Pakistan and the United States have joined together to launch a new technology service called Hamiri Awaz, or Our Voice. This is a service you can use on your cell phone to distribute news stories, to invite people to an event, to share your thoughts and opinions, to report problems that you see, to call for actions to solve those problems. The United States is proud to support this kind of innovation by covering the cost of the first 24 million messages. And to find out how to use this new service, text the word help, h-e-l-p, or madad, m-a-d-a-d, to the number 7111. That’s help, h-e-l-p, or madad, m-a-d-a-d, to the number 7111.
Now, innovations like these remind us that even in the midst of unprecedented global challenges, we have unprecedented opportunities to meet those challenges if we work together. So it’s critical that we build and strengthen connections. We are all interconnected and interdependent, whether we like it or not, and we are confronted by people who seek to divide communities, dismantle democracies, provoke fear, and stifle progress. They represent defeat, isolation, and instability. So therefore, we have to respond with an even stronger commitment to build a brighter future together for the people of Pakistan, the United States, and the world.
This is a pivotal moment, but I am confident that we can and will succeed by building upon the talents and strengths of our people. The United States is grateful for the ties that already connect us, and we look forward to broadening and deepening those ties and this relationship. And we are proud to stand with you to work together to meet the challenges of this extraordinary time. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)
Now I will, I guess, just call on people? Is that what we’re going to do? How does this work? Yes? Okay, good. So I will try to call – the first hand I saw was this young woman right back there.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, and there will be a microphone. You can either come out to the aisle and form a line, which might work, but – or we can give you the microphone.
QUESTION: Hello, ma’am. My name is (inaudible). I’m from Pakistan College of Law. I wanted to actually suggest American people and the government that the image we Pakistanis are seeing right now is of terrorists and people who are with violence and they create violence all over the country like you see in Iran. The attack that happened, they blame Pakistanis again. So we want American Government to help us build our new image, a good image of good people – not terrorists, but good people in Pakistan. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: And that, of course, is one of the reasons why I’m here today, because I do not want anyone anywhere in the world, particularly in my own country, to have any misunderstanding about the people of Pakistan and the extraordinary abilities, talents, and positive contributions of the people of Pakistan.
The terrorists are a small but deadly group who must be defeated, because otherwise, they put so much of what has been worked for for so many years at risk. But I have no doubt that given the courageous efforts of the Pakistan military and the commitment of the democratically elected government that you will be successful against the scourge of terrorism. But I don’t want the terrorism to overshadow the story of everything else going on in Pakistan.
And so part of the reason why I am here, why I have made this trip, why I’m not just meeting with government officials even though I enjoy my time with the foreign minister or the prime minister or the president and other officials at the local and national level – but I want to have people-to-people diplomacy, because ultimately, that is what creates the bonds, and it helps to tell the story, the larger story of Pakistan.
So, thank you for that and we will work very, very hard together to try to make sure that is the story that gets out. (Applause.)
Okay. So now, I have to go over to this side. Let’s see, there’s a gentleman in a pink or purple shirt who caught my eye.
SECRETARY CLINTON: One thing we might do that could make it move more quickly is if people would go to the center aisle who wish to ask me a question, then we could just tap the microphone.
Right now, we’ll just go in order of how people line up, and I want to have some gender equality here, so – okay, so stop right there and we’ll bring the microphone down. The gentleman with the pink, why don’t you come around. You can have the first question. Why don’t you, sir, come around.
Looks like I’ll have to be here for a week. (Laughter.) All right? All right, sir. Please come right here.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I am member of National Assembly of Youth Parliament. Under the --
SECRETARY CLINTON: Could you move the microphone a little bit closer, sir?
QUESTION: I am a member of Youth Parliament under the leadership of (inaudible). I wanted to say that why American Government always support Indians as compared with Pakistan, although Pakistan always standing with Americans in every (inaudible). (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I am sorry. I could not make out – could you repeat the question? I couldn’t hear it.
MODERATOR: Yeah. The gentleman said that I want to ask the – why American Government always supports Indians, Indians – India as a country as compared to Pakistan. That’s his perception.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you for asking that so that I can say that is not true. And let me explain that for many years, going back to the founding of Pakistan, which was founded in the year I was born, which tells you how old I am, the United States has been very closely allied with Pakistan, has worked with the people and governments of Pakistan. There have been periods of time when we were very closely connected. Pakistan helped to open the United States to China during the 1980s when the Soviet Union was in Afghanistan. Our two countries worked closely together.
Now there have been some problems in our relationship, and there have been some problems and ups and downs in your government. So it’s been challenging at times, but we have had a consistent relationship with Pakistan. My husband spoke to the people of Pakistan when he was president in 2000 and expressed very well our relationship and our connection. But we have relationships with all countries, and we have a relationship, obviously, with your neighbor, India.
And what we hope is that at some point in the future, which I would like to see in the not-too-distant future, Pakistan and India can resolve their outstanding differences. And why do I say that? Because I believe that trade between Pakistan and India could rival trade anywhere. I believe that if there were peace between Pakistan and India and the outstanding issues were resolved, Pakistan would take off like a rocket in terms of economic development.
Now, that is just my perception, but I have studied economies around the world, and Pakistan has such an opportunity to be a powerhouse. You are so strategically located. Just look at where you are geographic and that you have access to the sea, and if you had trade opening up to the north, to the east, to the west, it would make a huge economic difference to your country. And one of the major obstacles standing in the way is the distrust and history between India and Pakistan which blocked the kind of opportunities for investment that I think could make a huge difference.
So we are friends with both Pakistan and India. We work with both. We have given far more aid over many, many years to try to help Pakistan’s development. It’s up there with – among the top countries that we have tried to support. We have had numerous meetings with your democratically elected government in the last nine months. So we are working hard to make sure that we have good relations with both countries, and we encourage both countries to address these problems that only you and India can resolve.
MODERATOR: And now we have some questions. We are – email also, one question from Peshawar. The question from Peshawar comes from somebody called (inaudible) about (inaudible). He says: Having spent the last two days in the heart of Pakistan and learning about the apprehensions of Pakistani people about the Kerry-Lugar bill, how would you address this issue for any future bill? And what advice do you take back for the President of the United States?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me – (applause) – let me say as clearly as I can, because some of you may have seen me having a wonderful interview with seven of your most effective journalists yesterday, and we covered that in great detail. So let me just make three points.
Let me – let’s talk about the purpose of the bill. The purpose of the bill is to help Pakistan. That was our intention, that was our motivation to help your democracy, your economy, your people to really represent the friendship and partnership between our two countries. And let’s talk about what the bill does. The bill is a major long-term commitment to improve the lives and the livelihoods of the Pakistani people through strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law, economic opportunity, human security. It triples the funding from just the last year to account for $7.5 billion to be spent on schools, roads, medical clinics, electricity, like the announcement I made yesterday.
The bill does not impinge on Pakistani sovereignty. It does not compromise Pakistan’s national security interests. It does not micromanage any aspect of Pakistan’s military or civilian operations. But clearly, we did not do a very good job communicating what our intentions were and what we thought the bill was actually doing. And as I said yesterday, and I will repeat today, that has been an important lesson for us, to make sure that we reach out to your media and to leaders in Pakistan so that you know what we are trying to achieve, and that we work together closely. Because obviously, our United States Congress saw this as a major commitment to Pakistan beyond anything we have ever done before. And we wanted to be helpful, and we still think we can be, but we’ll make sure that we work closely together to avoid any future misunderstanding.
As to the second question about what to advise the President, the President and I both share a great admiration and affection for Pakistan. We both had friends in college who were Pakistanis. We both have a lot of Pakistani American friends. And I think that the President is committed to this relationship and wants to do what he can to make sure that we put it on a very strong, solid foundation.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I am representing Youth Parliament of Pakistan. (Inaudible) is quite appreciative that – giving aid to Pakistani people from the people of the United States. But there have been recent incidents reported in media, there are some incidents of reckless driving, drunk driving that is creating bad image of American people. And on the other hand, the USA’s Clean Drinking Water Project and the districts (inaudible) project that I know are creating will – goodwill of the people of the United States and the people of Pakistan.
So it’s – what would you do to appreciate the good managers and to restrict the bad managers who are implementing the job? That’s my question.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re all human beings and we all have people in both of our societies that don’t always conduct themselves in an appropriate matter. That’s part of life. But we have to continue to not lose our focus, that individuals don’t represent nations, and we need to keep building a solid and positive relationship and improve the way that we work with one another, that we perceive one another. That will be something that I take very seriously, and I look to all of you to help us come up with new ideas about how to achieve a much clearer and more accurate depiction of each of our countries in the other country.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible) and I would like to ask the Americans – okay. First of all, you mentioned in your speech that the Americans would like to become true partners with the Pakistani. And my question is that what can the Americans give Pakistan that we can now trust you (inaudible) the Americans this time of your sincerity and that (inaudible) are not going to be between us like the Americans did in the past when they wanted to destabilize the Russians and (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that – (applause) – I think that it’s a fair criticism that after we worked together to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan, there was such a sense of success and relief on the part of the government, our government then, that we did not follow through the way that we should have, and I have said that publicly. I’ve testified about that to our Congress. And it’s what we’re trying to avoid.
And it is difficult to go forward if we’re always looking in the rearview mirror. My hope is that we can appreciate that there have been problems on both sides that we have to recognize honestly and not deny, but that we have to recommit ourselves, because I think that we have a lot more in common than what divides us. So that’s what I’m hoping. And certainly with the return of democracy, something that makes a very big difference to Pakistan’s future and to our ability to relate to and work with you on matters that go beyond security, I think we have a great opportunity, and I just don’t want to see us lose that.
QUESTION: Hi. My name is (inaudible). I actually have a question for you and Ms. Patterson. USAID did betray us, and this is a fact. Even back when you were just an intern in Ford Administration back in the ‘70s, and later on when you became First Lady, even in the ‘80s, they did that. My main question is: What is the difference that we will see between Obama Administration and Bush Administration towards Pakistan? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there is such a huge difference. I obviously was not a supporter of our former president and did not agree with his policies. (Applause.) And I spent my entire eight years in the Senate opposing him. So to me, it’s like daylight and dark. It could not be a more stark difference.
But there are certainly questions that you and others have raised. And we have to decide whether we want to try to move beyond the past in your country, as well as the past in our country, because I just met with a lot of the lawyers and the activists who campaigned very strongly against your former president, and I bet there are people in this hall who did not support him either. So I think we are now at a point where we can chart a different course. And part of what we want is to support your new returned democracy.
I was deeply, deeply saddened by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. She is someone whom I had known, whom I considered a friend, whom I admired for her bravery and her commitment. And it was just a terrible loss when she was killed. But I am very proud that Pakistan went on to reassert your democracy. And that has to be nurtured.
Now, I just finished saying I did not agree with the former president. But I supported our democracy. And what we have to do in a democracy is, once the winners and the losers are decided, is to close ranks and support democratic institutions, continue to disagree respectfully, and use the political process to do that.
The most common question that I was asked right after I became Secretary of State, and I traveled to Indonesia and South Korea and Africa and many other places – the most common question I was asked is how could I, who campaigned so hard against Barack Obama for two years, tried very hard to win the nomination of my party, was not successful – how could I then turn around and campaign for him and take a job and work so closely with him? And it’s because in a democracy, you have to put your country first. And we both love our country, and we both decided that what we had in common was far greater than what divided us. That’s how I feel about the United States and Pakistan. (Applause.)
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, my name is (inaudible) and I’m a student at Pakistan College of Law. My question is we have a lot of respect for what the Americans believe in, and they’re doing great things for Pakistan right now. But there’s a fundamental difference between the way your democracy works and the way ours is encouraged to function. And while you keep stressing on the return to democracy for Pakistan, my question is: Does the U.S. Government support summoning former President Pervez Musharraf to a competent court within Pakistan for being tried for treason because he was obstructing democracy? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I have to say that this is the kind of decision which can only be taken within your own country. And if a Pakistani leader were in my country and somebody were to ask a question like that, I think the proper answer would be that is up to the people of America, like this is up to the people of Pakistan.
But what’s important to me, without commenting at all on any specific case or any individual, is that there must be respect for the rule of law, there must be an independent judiciary that does not abuse its power but which stays within and supports the rule of law, the democratically elected government must abide by the rule of law. I mean, to go back to the prior example I was given, I was very unhappy when our Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2000 that enabled President Bush to become president. I was not happy about that. But I respect the Supreme Court and I respect the rule of law. And we went on.
That’s what you have to get ingrained. Every political difference needs to be worked out within the institutions that exist. And it can be frustrating because passions run high. I have very strong feelings about the right direction for my country, and I’m delighted to be working in an Administration with which I have so much agreement about what we need to be doing. But if I were to disagree or if you are to disagree, it has to be worked out in the rule of law. And that certainly includes any kind of legal action against anyone. The court cannot be used for an abuse of power.
One of things that we’re seeing in many countries right now is they say they believe in democracy and they believe in elections, but they believe in elections once and then they want to stay in forever. That is not the way a democracy is supposed to work. I mean, by definition in a democracy, you have winners and losers. I have won and I have lost. And that’s the way a democracy works. So I think that is up to people of the Pakistan to decide. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: Madame Secretary, the next question is via email. Please, this is a question from Karachi. And it says: Good afternoon, Madame Secretary. My name is Roshinda (ph) from Karachi, and I’m a student at Mohammad Ali Jinnah University. My question is: What kind of accountability is needed to ensure the success of democracy?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think several things are needed. We’ve talked about a few of them: an independent judiciary; a free press that is exercising its freedom of expression but doing so in a way that is accurate, or at least as accurate as possible; a commitment by elected officials to play by the rules, the rule of law being paramount; a respect for minority rights; a tolerance for diversity and pluralism.
When I was in the mosque this morning, the imam was telling me that in that mosque they have been working on interfaith dialogue, which I greatly appreciate, particularly in these times, to bring people together in a respectful fashion to discuss their religious faith and beliefs, but not to in any way threaten the other. And the imam and the archeologist who was guiding us said, “You see that building over there? That is a very sacred shrine for Sikhs and it is right next to a mosque.” So that’s the way it was for hundreds of years. So there are many aspects to democracy that have to be developed and accepted, even when you disagree.
Sometimes people do things in my country or they say things which I disagree with completely, but I respect their right to say it. And there are people who have attitudes, they have beliefs, that I find absolutely unacceptable. But as long as they’re not harming someone else, then we say they have a right to have those beliefs.
So I think democracy is much, much more than elections, and it really needs to start in the attitudes that you learn in school and the attitudes that you see practiced every day. And I hope that we can do more to lift up all the different aspects of democracy so that people know elections are important, but that’s not the end of democracy. That, in fact, is just the beginning.
And you have to have built-in accountability for those who are elected. There has to be much more transparency. There has to be a committed effort against corruption which robs people in society from getting the services and the assistance that they deserve to have. There have to be checks and balances among different parts of a government and separation of powers, so that no one person or no one institution can have absolute power in your society. And I think Pakistan is on the way to realizing a much stronger and more durable democracy.
QUESTION: Hello, ma’am. I am (inaudible) and I represent Seeds of Peace. I am a medical student at King Edward Medical University. First of all, I’d like Madame to know what an inspiration she is for all the aspiring young women all around the world for being who she is. Madame, thank you so much for coming here today. (Applause.)
Talking about the speech that you just gave and in the beginning you talked about the misunderstandings and lack of communication between the two (inaudible) partners, Pakistan and America. Well, we also see that every time an American leader comes, he always emphasizes the fact that there should be exchange of information, intelligence, all along. But at the same time, the drone attacks are being carried out in our country in our people. They are causing so much collateral damage at the same time. We, at one point, asked the United States of America to share the intelligence with us and carry it out. And at the same time, the drone attacks are still going on in Waziristan. What does Madame or America in general plan to do about that, because it’s creating a lot of frustration among our people? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I will not talk about that specifically. But generally, let me say that there’s a war going on. And thankfully, there is a very professional and successful military effort that has been undertaken by the Pakistani military. And I’m hoping that the support that the United States provides and the courage of the Pakistani military will bring much of this to a conclusion. Now, there will, unfortunately, always be those who seek to inflict terror, but eventually they can be eliminated and they can be deterred if society just abruptly turns against them. So I think that the war that your government and your military is waging right now is a very important one for the future of Pakistan, and we are going to continue to assist the government and the military to be successful in that war.
QUESTION: Hello. (Inaudible) University of Punjab. My question is about war on terror. As you have mentioned in your speech that there is a misunderstanding or lack of communication among the United (inaudible) and Pakistan, I don’t think there is any misunderstanding or lack of communication. I think there is a concerted effort (inaudible) confidence, and that has a history, long history behind it. My question is: Would it not be better to replace the present U.S. and national forces in Afghanistan by UN or peacekeeping forces from the liberal democratic Islamic (inaudible) so that would give some sort of credibility to this war which is going on, so that Muslims also believe that they are participating in this and they also believe that what is going to happen on the name of war of terror? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you know, there are Muslim forces in Afghanistan right now. Countries like Turkey or the United Arab Emirates, others are participating and contributing forces. Because I think they believe, as you seem to suggest, that this needs to be an international effort. So the international security forces already stationed in Afghanistan are very diverse. As I said, they include forces from predominantly Muslim nations. So I think we already have a very broad cross-section of countries that understand that defeating the threat of extremism and terrorism is in everyone’s interest.
It is particularly in the interest of Muslim countries because these extremist groups seem to target Muslim countries, whether it’s Indonesia or it is Pakistan or Afghanistan. There have been incidents in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and so many others that are really the targets of these people. And so I think that that’s why you already have Muslim nations. And of course, Pakistan itself is one of the principal contributors to peacekeeping forces around the world. Pakistani soldiers are in many other countries, and they go to countries that are not Islamic countries, but they are welcomed because they are very professional.
So I think it is important not to limit the struggle against terrorism to any one group, any one group of countries or certainly any faith, because this is a universal, common threat. So I’m very proud that we have so many different countries participating and that Pakistan is helping to keep the peace, often very far from home.
QUESTION: Good afternoon, ma’am. My name is Rabab (ph) and I’m representing (inaudible) Punjab (inaudible). Ma’am, the challenges faces – faced by the United States, they are very similar to the ones that are faced by Pakistan. We face a threat (inaudible) just as you do in many parts of the world. (Inaudible) today is (inaudible) to reduce that threat (inaudible) to an extent. Now, what are the people of Pakistan, the youth of Pakistan, the Government of Pakistan, and you know, just the public in general supposed to do to reduce the trust deficit that has been created if a student from Pakistan goes to the U.S., that student is looked as – looked at as a terrorist rather than just a normal student? How is this trust deficit to be reduced? Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that’s really at the heart of what we’re talking about today, because I think you have accurately described it. And it goes both ways. I’m well aware that there is a trust deficit among many Pakistanis toward my country, and you are well aware that in my country there is a trust deficit toward many Pakistanis. And I guess my message is that that’s not the way it should be, that we have so many opportunities to work together.
Now, do we have people in both of our countries who say and do things that create this impression? Yes, of course, we do. I mean, that’s a mutual responsibility that we each have to accept. But we have an old expression: You can’t let the tail wag the dog. I mean, we cannot let a minority of people in either of our countries determine the course of our relationship. It is certainly President Obama’s and my commitment to try to close that deficit, to try to create much more awareness and understanding between us.
But there will always be people on both of our sides who do things that we do not approve of or we do not like or we regret. But we can’t let that make the decisions. The United States has relationships with countries everywhere, and in some of those countries our relationship goes up and down, and sometimes it’s over very small matters that get blown out of all proportion, and we then have to repair those relationships. So this is something that happens among human beings. None of us is perfect. None of us has the ability to just convey perfection. That is not who we are as human beings.
But what we can do is be honest with other, listen to each other, try to clarify misunderstandings instead of letting them become embedded in people’s minds. There are many stories about Pakistanis and there are many stories about Americans in each of our countries that are just not true. So part of what we have to do is clear that away.
Now, will we always agree? No, we will not. But then, I don’t know about you, but we don’t always agree in my family and we don’t always agree among my friends. So why would we be expected to agree on everything? That is never going to happen. But let’s narrow the area of disagreement between us and work on that which we agree upon together that can be mutually beneficial and have our relationship built on mutual respect, and then build toward mutual trust. That is what I’m hoping we can do together. (Applause.)
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I’m from (inaudible). I want to ask that America is standing with Pakistan in the war against terrorism, but Pakistan is being destroyed or you can say that the shortfall of energy and some other problem like education and unawareness. So what America is doing in this regard to Pakistan or America is promoting something now (inaudible) to cover the shortfall of energy, plus education and awareness in this society?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your question. I think it’s my hearing.
QUESTION: I want to ask that America is standing with Pakistan in the war against terrorism, but Pakistan has a problem of a shortfall of energy, lack of education, and lack of awareness. So America is doing anything in (inaudible) or in future to (inaudible) Pakistan?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that our relationship is much broader than the war on terrorism. That’s what we are attempting to really convey and work on together. Yesterday, I was privileged to make announcements about commitments that the United States is making to improve the energy sector in Pakistan to try to help make electricity more reliable so that you would be able to count on the supply of electricity. And in areas like that – in health and education – we do want to be partners. In fact, we regret that over the last eight years our relationship has been defined primarily by security and the war on terrorism. We don’t think that accurately reflects the quality and the content of our relationship. So I think it’s important for all of us to look for ways that we can cooperate and make a difference for the people of our countries.
QUESTION: My name is (inaudible). I’m from GC University Lahore. Being a student of history and interstate politics, it is my perception that there are analogous moments and common inflection points between the Vietnam war and the current U.S.-led Afghanistan campaign, and it seems that Afghanistan is a sequel to the Vietnam quagmire. So don’t you believe that it is the time that is better to win the battle of hearts and minds than to win a battle to occupy a barren land for no specific reason? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you know, President Obama is conducting a very thorough review of our policy in Afghanistan and has consulted with leaders in Pakistan about the best way forward. I think that the President understands very well the difficulties that exist across your border and is looking for ways so that whatever he decides can be more effectively implemented. And it will, I know, be coordinated with the Pakistani authorities because, obviously, the shared border responsibility between Pakistan and Afghanistan on the Afghanistan side, it is not at all what it needs to be and Pakistan carries a lot of the responsibility there.
But I think that the goal is to try to help train a professional, effective Afghan security force so that the people of Afghanistan will be able to defend themselves. And that certainly is our hope and what we’re working toward.
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is (inaudible). I am from (inaudible). My question is that the war in terrorism – there’s not been much progress after the Obama Administration, you know, came in, because the Gitmo is still there and your troops are still in Iraq, and, you know, you’re sending 48,000 more troops in Afghanistan. So it’s very hard to believe that the U.S. policy in regards to Pakistan – the war on terrorism – is going to be changed. But don’t you think that hampers the democracy, because now the U.S. is forcing Pakistan to take actions which, on the other hand, we might not be willing to take? (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, really, the United States supports the decisions that are made by Pakistan, and I think it was the Pakistan Government, the democratically elected government, and the Pakistan military who decided that it was intolerable for terrorist organizations to be seizing large chunks of territory of your country. I mean, that’s a decision for Pakistan to make. Because certainly, when President Obama became president shortly after that – he hadn’t been in office very long – it became clear that the terrorists were moving out of Swat into Buner and people were alarmed in Pakistan.
And I don’t know any country that can stand by and look at a force of terrorists intimidating people and taking over large parts of your territory, particularly when that force is often guided by, directed by, and funded by outside foreign influence. But that’s up to Pakistan. I mean, if you want to see your territory shrink, that’s your choice. But I don’t think that’s the right choice. In fact, I think that’s a very self-destructive choice. So when the government and the military of Pakistan said, look, we’ve tried to get along with these people, we have signed agreements with them, we have said that we would tolerate a certain level of autonomy, but they didn’t stop. They kept coming. The bombs kept coming. The killings kept coming. The intimidation kept going.
How can you be the head of a country or a country’s military and allow that to happen? That would be as though on our Canadian border there were terrorists who were coming across the border and we let them have Washington and then we let them have Montana and then we said, well, you know, not very many people live in the Dakotas, they’re not near Chicago or New York. You can’t do that.
So I can tell you how we would respond, exactly the same way as your government responded. And we admire that. Because this is a fight that has to be won. And you know here in Lahore you are not immune. No institution is immune, not the military, not the intelligence service, not universities, not even cricket teams. So how do you let that go on and not respond?
My late father used to have a saying which, when I was a little girl, I never understood. He said, “You know, if you let the nose of the camel in the tent, pretty soon you’re living with two humps.” Well, that’s what was going on. Slowly but insidiously, you were losing territory. And your government – the writ of government was being undermined. No government, no country, especially a country like Pakistan – born with the idea of independent and autonomy and self-determination – can allow foreign influences that ally themselves with those who would undermine the Pakistani way of life to be given any space. So I think that your government and your military are doing exactly the right thing for your country. (Applause.)
Thank you all very much. Apparently, our time is up. Thank you. (Applause.)
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