Holding gun to our heads is not conducive: Haqqani to US

Washington: Pakistan`s top diplomat to the US Husain Haqqani has likened the Obama Administration`s suspension of military assistance to his country as amounting to "holding a gun" on its head.

"Holding a gun to our heads, saying that this is going to be about breaking off ties or cutting off of aid, etcetera, is not conducive," Huqqani told the CNN in an interview.

The US has suspended USD 800 million aid as it presses for greater counter-terrorism cooperation from Pakistan, which has faced intense criticism after al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed on its soil in May.

Coming in strong defence of his country after both the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Defence Secretary Leon Panetta asserted that Pakistan needs to deliver fast on the war against terrorism for the resumption of military aid to Pakistan, Haqqani said there are issues that need to be resolved.

"But they will be resolved over time," he said.

"The US State Department has said today that we are working towards a cooperative relationship. My only request is that the American media also needs to understand that diplomacy takes its course, and there`s a time for diplomacy and a manner of diplomacy. Screaming and shouting and raising voices, and putting a nation in the dark, is not the way forward," he said.

Haqqani argued that the statements coming in the media that the US has suspended USD 800 million of its military aid to Pakistan is not a correct characterisation.

"The USD 800 million includes USD 300 million in reimbursements that have just been slowed down. We haven`t received a reimbursement since December 2010. So basically, it`s just something that`s already slow, having been slowed down more," he said.

"Both sides are working together on a number of things and Pakistan is not happy with the pace of delivery of assistance. Americans are not happy with the pace of delivery of certain deliverables from Pakistan," he said.

"It happens sometimes. Right now because Pakistan is a fledgling democracy and everything that happens there hits the media and similarly, of course, there`s an American domestic political context in which everything becomes an issue because of the way people react to your administration," the Ambassador said.

"All I`m saying is we cannot have a conversation and a dialogue that`s just aid centered. Secondly, the United States needs Pakistan for a stable Afghanistan and Pakistan needs the United States to beat terrorism, which we consider to be a menace for our own people," Haqqani said.

"So we need to work together and both sides are working together. The only problem is whenever there`s a disagreement or the pace of things, it always becomes a much bigger story. My understanding is that the United States government is continuing with all civilian assistance to Pakistan," he said.