Islamabad, Aug.1 : Much was expected from Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's first official visit to the United States, as he represented democracy in his country. But sadly, he fell short on many scores, feels a Pakistani columnist.
According to Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor of daily English newspaper The News International, decision makers in Washington D.C. are still trying to figure out what to make of the visit.
"The plain fact is that Washington is disappointed and has decided not to take him seriously. The real Washington needed to have a first-hand look at the man they were being asked to deal with after General Musharraf," claims Sehbai in his article.
They found Gilani to be "lacking the depth of understanding and vision in dealing with complex international and security issues, articulation to comprehend and project Pakistani policies in a clear and candid way."
Sehbai further goes on to say that the one issue that irretrievably damaged Gilani's credentials as a top notch politician from Pakistan was the "brutally botched up ISI fiasco."
Whoever did this to Gilani actually turned his visit to the United States into a non-starter, he says, adding that it was beyond Gilani to stand by his order for more than a couple of hours.
"The Washingtonians got the message that they were dealing with a non-entity and should not take him seriously," Sehbai opines.
It all times during his visit, Gilani needed the support of a prepared script. When it was given to him, he appeared in control of the topic that was being discussed, but without it, "the level of discourse and understanding came crashing down to earth", claims Sehbai.
He further goes on to state that Gilani was not ready for the US visit and that he still needed to learn the "basics of governance".
He says that the persons to be blamed for allowing the visit to go through are PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani, as they were in the know of what to expect and what not to.
"This was a menu full of vulgarities for a man who was not even in control of his own office, was surrounded by appointees who received orders from other power centres and reported the results somewhere else. He was mercilessly thrown to the wolves and made into a punching bag in Washington," Sehbai claims.
He also claims that the joint statement that was released after Gilani's meetings with the American leadership, was actually prepared by Ambassador Haqqani before his arrival in Washington.
The so-called statement, which should have reflected the desires of the two governments on the way forward, was so drafted as to "give away nothing while discussing everything," he concludes.