1. (C) Summary. During a meeting with Ambassador January 31, Nawaz Sharif confirmed…. As proof of his pro-Americanism, Nawaz reminded Ambassador that he had overruled his Chief of Staff to deploy Pakistani forces with the U.S. coalition in the first Gulf War.
2. (C) Ambassador and Polcouns met former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-N PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif January 31 for an hour during Nawaz’s recent visit to Islamabad. PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also attended the meeting.
8. (C) The best thing America has done recently, said Nawaz, was arrange to have General Kayani named as Chief of Army Staff. This appointment is helping Army morale and raising the level of public respect for the Army. Noting that Musharraf met the UK equivalent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Khan said the U.S. and the UK need to stop treating Musharraf as if he still ran the military. CENTCOM Commander Admiral Fallon would have met with Musharaf if the President had not been travelling, asserted Khan. Ambassador replied that we had excellent relations with the Pakistani military and meet them all the time at various levels.
We are Pro-American
9. (C) Nawaz and Khan both repeatedly said that the PML-N was pro-American. Nawaz recounted his decision to override his Chief of Army Staff and deploy Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia in support of the U.S. coalition in the first Gulf War. Meanwhile, Khan noted, the PPP and its leaders were organizing street demonstrations against Pakistan joining with the U.S. coalition. Now, Nawaz said, he was hurt that the U.S. did not remember. Nawaz said he understood that 9/11 had changed things, but urged that the U.S. apply some balance to the relationship. In the past, the U.S. was known as the power that rejected dictatorships, that fought for independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. Why, he asked, did we continue to support a man who fired the Supreme Court, abrogated the constitution, and arrested civil society activists?
10. (C) Comment: The fact that a former Prime Minister believes the U.S. could control the appointment of Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff speaks volumes about the myth of American influence here. Based on our understanding of the current situation, we believe Nawaz can and should take the threats to his life seriously. It comes as no surprise that Nawaz exaggerated his party’s election prospects; his willingness to deal with the PPP is, however, a good sign he is ready to cooperate on government formation.
Friday, 01 February 2008, 13:41
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 000483
EO 12958 DECL: 02/01/2018
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PK
SUBJECT: “THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN IN PAKISTAN”
REF: LAHORE 25 07 ISLAMABAD 5138
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, for reasons 1.4 (b)(d)