US embassy cable - 98ISLAMABAD7870

SHAHBAZ SHARIF ON NUCLEAR ISSUES, ISLAMIZATION AND POWER

Identifier: 98ISLAMABAD7870
Wikileaks: View 98ISLAMABAD7870 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Islamabad
Created: 1998-10-20 10:25:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PTER MNUC ENRG PK
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 201025Z OCT 98
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0980
INFO AMCONSUL KARACHI 
AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 
AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 007870 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/19/08 
TAGS: PGOV, PTER, MNUC, ENRG, PK 
SUBJECT: SHAHBAZ SHARIF ON NUCLEAR ISSUES, ISLAMIZATION AND POWER 
 
REF: LAHORE 500 
 
CLASSIFIED BY LAHORE PRINCIPAL OFFICER GEOFFREY PYATT, REASON 1.5 (D) 
 
THIS IS LAHORE 572 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY.  MEETING OCTOBER 14 WITH VISITING AMBASSADOR 
MILAM, PUNJAB CHIEF MINISTER SHAHBAZ SHARIF EMPHASIZED HIS 
BROTHER'S COMMITMENT TO FINDING COMMON GROUND WITH THE UNITED 
STATES ON PROLIFERATION ISSUES, JUSTIFIED THE RECENT REDUCTION OF 
ELECTRICITY TARIFFS AS A POLITICAL IMPERATIVE, AND DEFENDED THE 
GOVERNMENT'S ISLAMIZATION AMENDMENT AS A POLITICAL TACTIC THAT 
WOULD NOT ALTER PAKISTAN'S HISTORICALLY MODERATE COURSE.  SHAHBAZ 
RECALLED HIS MID-AUGUST MEETINGS WITH DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT 
AND OTHER OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON, AND CLAIMED THAT GOVERNMENT 
ACTIONS SINCE THEN HAVE FOLLOWED PRECISELY THE ROADMAP WHICH HE 
HAD DISCUSSED.  HE PROMISED IMMEDIATE PROGRESS ON EXPORT CONTROLS 
BUT INDICATED THAT FURTHER MOVEMENT TOWARDS A FISSILE MATERIAL 
CUT-OFF WOULD REQUIRE STEPS TO REDRESS THE INHERENT IMBALANCE OF 
THE INDO-PAK SECURITY RELATIONSHIP.  IN A BRIEF ONE-ON-ONE, THE 
AMBASSADOR RAISED THE OSAMA BIN LADEN ISSUE IN AFGHANISTAN, URGED 
SHAHBAZ TO SPEAK TO THE PM ABOUT INCREASING GOP EFFORTS TO 
PERSUADE THE TALEBAN TO EXPEL OBL AND ABOUT THE FOREIGN 
MINISTRY'S RELUCTANCE TO ALLOW THE AMBASSADOR TO ENGAGE THE PM ON 
AFGHANISTAN.  SHAHBAZ AGREED TO TALK TO THE PM.  END SUMMARY. 
 
 
THE WAY FORWARD ON NON-PROLIFERATION 
------------------------------------ 
 
2. (C) AFTER A FOREIGN MINISTRY NOTETAKER WAS ESCORTED OUT OF THE 
MEETING, SHAHBAZ SPOKE CANDIDLY AND AT LENGTH ABOUT THE 
GOVERNMENT'S PRIORITIES AND ITS HOPES FOR MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR 
BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP.  WE CAN'T CHANGE HISTORY, THE CHIEF 
MINISTER LAMENTED, BUT CLEARLY WE NEED TO GET BACK ON COURSE TO 
FOCUS ON PAKISTAN'S URGENT SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC NEEDS. 
 
3. (C) RECALLING HIS LATE SUMMER MEETINGS IN WASHINGTON, SHAHBAZ 
ARGUED THAT GOP ACTIONS SINCE THEN HAVE FOLLOWED PRECISELY THE 
"ROAD MAP" THAT HE HAD DISCUSSED WITH DEPUTY SECRETARY TALBOTT. 
WE RECOGNIZE THERE IS MORE FOR US TO DO, SHAHBAZ CONTINUED.  SOME 
STEPS, SUCH AS ENHANCING EXPORT CONTROLS, WE WOULD TAKE EVEN 
WITHOUT YOUR PRESSURE.  THIS IS NO PROBLEM AT ALL.  OTHER STEPS, 
INCLUDING THE FISSILE MATERIAL CUTOFF, REQUIRE THAT WE FIRST 
DETERMINE HOW TO ACHIEVE MINIMUM DETERRENCE VIS-A-VIS INDIA.  WE 
NEED TO REMEMBER THAT INDIA IS THE AGGRESSOR WHICH STARTED THE 
CYCLE OF NUCLEAR TESTING.  IT FRUSTRATES US, SHAHBAZ ADDED, THAT 
FRIENDS LIKE THE UNITED STATES SOMETIMES APPEAR TO OVERLOOK THIS 
BASIC FACT.  WE HAVE TO KEEP WORKING IN GENEVA, BUT UNCONDITIONAL 
PAKISTANI ADHERENCE TO THE FMCT IS A PROBLEM.  WE MUST FIND A WAY 
TO ACCOUNT FOR STOCKPILES AND BRING SOME FORM OF PARITY TO OUR 
SECURITY RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIA, SHAHBAZ CONCLUDED. 
 
4. (C) THE UNITED STATES UNDERSTANDS THAT THERE ARE THREE 
PARTNERS IN THESE DELIBERATIONS, AMBASSADOR MILAM RESPONDED.  BUT 
WE THINK FMCT IS THE RIGHT WAY FORWARD.  BOTH PAKISTAN AND INDIA 
NEED TO BRING TRANSPARENCY TO THEIR NUCLEAR POLICIES.  SHAHBAZ 
AGAIN CAME BACK TO THE POLITICS OF THE NON-PROLIFERATION DEBATE. 
NAWAZ SHARIF MUST BE SEEN TO BE DEFENDING PAKISTAN'S SUPREME 
NATIONAL INTERESTS.  FOR THAT REASON, SHAHBAZ ARGUED, WHATEVER 
STEPS ARE REQUIRED AND WHATEVER INDUCEMENTS THE INTERNATIONAL 
COMMUNITY PROVIDES MUST BE VIEWED AS EQUITABLE AND FAIR. 
 
 
SOUTH ASIA'S KOSOVO 
------------------- 
 
5. (C) SHAHBAZ TURNED TO THE BROADER ISSUE OF INDO-PAK RELATIONS, 
NOTING THAT "WE'D BE LIVING IN A FOOLS PARADISE" TO SEEK PROGRESS 
ON NON-PROLIFERATION WHILE IGNORING THE CONFRONTATION OVER 
KASHMIR.  THIS WAS NOT WHAT INDIA AND PAKISTAN WERE MEANT TO BE, 
SHAHBAZ CONTINUED, FIGHTING PROXY WARS AND SQUANDERING EACH 
OTHER'S ECONOMIC RESOURCES.  LOOK AT TRADE.  THINK HOW MUCH WE 
COULD SAVE IF PAKISTAN WERE ABLE TO BUY COAL FROM INDIAN MINES 
INSTEAD OF IMPORTING IT FROM THE AMERICAS.  BUT THAT'S JUST NOT 
POSSIBLE UNDER PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES.  WE CAN MOVE THE 
RELATIONSHIP TO A NEW LEVEL, BUT WE NEED YOU TO THROW YOUR WEIGHT 
BEHIND A SETTLEMENT OF THE KASHMIR DISPUTE.  AS YOU HAVE DONE 
WITH THE CONFLICT IN KOSOVO, THE UNITED STATES MUST BRING IT'S 
AUTHORITY TO BEAR ON THE KASHMIR DISPUTE. 
 
 
THE POWER IMBROGLIO 
------------------- 
 
6. (C) AMBASSADOR MILAM RAISED THE ISSUE OF INDEPENDENT POWER 
PROVIDERS (IPP'S), NOTING OUR PUZZLEMENT ABOUT THE REDUCTION IN 
CONSUMER ELECTRICITY RATES COMING IN THE MIDST OF DIFFICULT 
NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE IMF.  WE HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO REDUCE 
ELECTRICITY TARIFFS, SHAHBAZ INSISTED.   FROM KHYBER TO KARACHI, 
PAKISTANIS WERE CLAMORING FOR RELIEF FROM UTILITY BILLS THAT WERE 
CONSUMING A SIGNIFICANT PART OF THEIR DISPOSABLE INCOMES.  PEOPLE 
HAVE TO BE ABLE TO MEET THEIR BASIC NEEDS.  THIS GOVERNMENT HAS 
NO INTENTION OF REVERSING THE MARKET-ORIENTED DIRECTION THAT THE 
PRIME MINISTER SET IN HIS FIRST MONTHS; THAT'S NOT EVEN AN 
PEOPLE A SENSE OF HOPE. 
 
 
THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT 
----------------------- 
 
7. (U) AS THE CONVERSATION DREW TO A CLOSE, THE CHIEF MINISTER 
RAISED THE GOVERNMENT'S CONTROVERSIAL CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON 
ISLAMIZATION.  YOU HAVEN'T BROUGHT IT UP, SO I WILL, SHAHBAZ 
NOTED.  THERE SHOULD BE NO DOUBT ABOUT THIS GOVERNMENT'S WESTERN, 
LIBERAL ORIENTATION.  THAT'S WHY I'VE BEEN WEARING ALL MY OLD 
WESTERN BUSINESS SUITS, HE JOKED, INSTEAD OF THE SHALWAR THAT 
MOST PAKISTANI POLITICIANS TREAT AS THEIR UNIFORM.  SHAHBAZ ALSO 
DREW ATTENTION HIS OCTOBER 14 SPEECH AT A WOMEN'S ASSOCIATION 
MEETING IN LAHORE WHERE HE HIGHLIGHTED THE ROLE THAT FEMALE 
MANAGERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND SCIENTISTS MUST PLAY IN PAKISTAN'S 
FUTURE DEVELOPMENT.  CAN WE THINK OF DEVELOPMENT INVOLVING WOMEN 
WHO WEAR A VEIL OR SIT AT HOME, SHAHBAZ ASKED IN HIS SPEECH. 
IT'S SIMPLY NOT POSSIBLE. 
 
8. (U) THERE SHOULD BE NO MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT OUR REASONS FOR 
ADVANCING THE 15TH AMENDMENT, SHAHBAZ CONTINUED.  AFTER WESTERN 
PRESSURE ON CTBT AND THE AIR STRIKES ON AFGHANISTAN, THE 
RELIGIOUS PARTIES WERE RIDING HIGH.  BUT THIS ONE ACTION OF 
INTRODUCING THE ISLAMIZATION AMENDMENT HAS TAKEN THE WIND OUT OF 
THEIR SAILS. 
 
9.  (C) IN A BRIEF ONE-ON-ONE THE AMBASSADOR MENTIONED HIS 
INCREASING PREOCCUPATION WITH AFGHANISTAN, AND ESPECIALLY THE 
ISSUE OF THE TALEBAN HARBORING OSAMA BIN LADEN.  THIS IS A VERY 
BIG ISSUE TO THE U.S., AND OUR SENSE IS THAT, PERHAPS, WITH ADDED 
PUSH THE U.S., PAKISTAN AND SAUDI ARABIA CAN PERSUADE THE TALEBAN 
TO EXPEL OBL.  WE NEED A STRONGER PUSH ON THIS BY THE GOP.  THE 
AMBASSADOR HAD TRIED TO SEE THE PM ON THIS BUT WAS BEING SCREENED 
OFF BY THE FOREIGN MINISTRY.  THE AMBASSADOR ASKED SHAHBAZ TO 
TALK TO THE PM ABOUT THIS.  THE CHIEF MINISTER SAID HE WOULD. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
10. (C) IN BOTH THIS MEETING AND A SUBSEQUENT LUNCH WITH HIS 
SENIOR ADVISORS, SHAHBAZ DISPLAYED THE MIXTURE OF IMPATIENCE AND 
REFORMIST ZEAL THAT HAVE BECOME HIS HALLMARK.  COMPARED EVEN TO 
THE LAST MEETING WITH HIM IN LATE AUGUST (REFTEL), WE FOUND HIM 
MORE CONVERSANT AND MORE WILLING TO VENTURE AN OPINION ON THE 
SECURITY ISSUES THAT FORM THE CORE OF THE U.S.-PAKISTAN BILATERAL 
RELATIONSHIP.  IMPLICIT IN THE SCOPE OF OUR TWO HOUR CONVERSATION 
AND LUNCH WAS AN UNDERSTANDING THAT WITHOUT PROGRESS ON NON- 
PROLIFERATION AND THE RELATED SANCTIONS, THE EXPERIMENT IN LOCAL 
GOVERNMENT REFORM THAT SHAHBAZ HAS LAUNCHED IN PUNJAB (LIKE THE 
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ITSELF) MAY COME CRASHING TO THE GROUND. END 
COMMENT. 
 
 
MILAM 

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