By Barbara Finlinson
The consul general of Pakistan visited UVU and spoke to students regarding the dismal state of relations between the United States and Pakistan on Thursday morning.
His Excellency Tasawar Khan, delivered a passionate speech in the Library’s Timpanogos room, about the rollercoaster-like relationship between Pakistan and the United States over the last 67 years.
During this time, “Our two countries have been the best of friends and the worst of friends.” Khan stated.
Khan broke down key events from 1947 until today that have defined the relationship between the two countries. The ups and downs between the two countries seemed to culminate on 9/11. This began a severe downturn in the countries’ relationship.
According to Khan, Pakistan became a key ally in the war against terror with the US in spite of their strained relationship.
“According to the US official at that time” Khan said, “I quote, ‘the new relationship between the United States and Pakistan is not just about September 11between our two countries.’ Very frankly, many in Pakistan were skeptical.”
According to the Consul, the two countries lack trust in one another and rising “problems, difficulties and challenges” in Pakistan have the US questioning the Pakistani attitude toward terrorism.
The worst year for relations between the countries and Pakistan was 2011 “stopped viewing the United States as a friendly country,” Khan said.
On May 2, 2011, US Special Forces killed Osama Bin Laden in a private compound in Pakistan during a secret operation.
“This raised hard questions about the depth and longevity of the Pakistan/US relationship. This act not only shocked the Pakistanis but caused immense embarrassment to its intelligence agencies,” Khan said.
Hilary Clinton said that “Cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to Bin Laden and the compound in which he was hiding.“ But in fact, according to Khan, the US expressed a total lack of trust in Pakistan when they acted without their knowledge.
“This caused immense damage in the relationship between the two countries.” Khan said., it is about the rebirth of a long-term partnership
Khan said that if the US could start keeping its promises to Pakistan and its army, the lack- of-trust gap could possibly be bridged and relations could improve.
“The idea that we mend fences, the better for Pakistan, the better for the United States and indeed the whole world. We must be truthful to each other, very open and very frank,” Khan said. “The US must trust that Pakistan is committed to fighting terrorism.”
On his visit to Utah, Khan said that his experience was “So far, so good.” He also enjoyed his tour of the campus.
“I really like the interconnected campus. At the University of London, when you go between classes it seems it is always hot or cold.”
When it comes to Pakistan’s state of affairs, Khan has the experience and knows what he is talking about. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in General Defense Studies from the University of Peshawar in Pakistan.
Following graduation, Khan spent nearly eight years in the Pakistan Army Corps in the Artillery division.
“I’ve been a soldier. If I make any crude remarks you can link it to my past,” Khan said. “As they say, once a soldier always a soldier.”
He joined the Civil Service in 1989 as an assistant director of protocol with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad. Khan then went on to obtain a master’s degree in International Diplomatic Studies from the University of London.
Khan’s resume is long and diverse, having served in Zimbabwe, Islamabad, London, and Saudi Arabia in various diplomatic positions.
He is married with three daughters and one son.