A Hindu-American group is calling on Donald Trump to reconsider his approach to Pakistan after an unusually detailed readout of a call showed the president-elect offering gushing praise for the country’s prime minister.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), a D.C.-based advocacy group, cited a long list of Pakistan issues for Trump to consider, including human rights abuses, the rise of extremism in the country and Pakistan’s conflict with neighboring India. “If the transcript of the conversation is indeed accurate, we’d urge President-elect Trump to look more carefully at Pakistan’s record within its own borders and with its neighbors before offering praise,” said Suhag A. Shukla, HAF executive director, in a statement.
Trump brought up none of those topics in his recent conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, according to the and instead lavished praise on his counterpart, according to a readout provided by the Pakistani government. “You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way,” Trump said, according to the readout. “I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.”
The call drew condemnation—and confusion—from foreign policy experts. Pakistan is technically an American ally that receives financial support, but relations have been tense in recent years, with the U.S. saying the country needs to do more to combat terrorism within its borders. Furthermore, Trump sought to win over Indian-Americans during his presidential campaign promising he would be a close friend. Pakistan and India have been hostile toward each other since they became separate political entities in 1947; since then, they have fought four wars and continue to battle over Kashmir.
“Pakistan’s challenges are only further amplified by an unabated rise in radicalization and the presence of dozens of domestic and international Islamist terrorist organizations which have historically enjoyed the patronage of the state’s security and intelligence services,” said Shukla. “The American interest in a strategic partnership with the only secular democracy in the region—India—is gravely compromised by Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir and cross-border terror attacks in India.”