Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Travel: Hillary Clinton's busy day in Pakistan

After touching down in Islamabad this morning, Secretary Clinton had a busy schedule for her first day in Pakistan as Secretary of State, her fifth trip to Pakistan in general.

She began with a working lunch meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi and afterward held a joint news conference with Qureshi for Pakistani and American press. Where they gave bold statements about the brutal bombings that occurred just hours before:

These attacks on innocent people are cowardly. They are not courageous. They are cow-ard-ly. If the people behind these attacks were so sure of their beliefs, let then join the political process. Let them make the case that they don’t want girls to go school, that they want to hold women back, that they believe they have all the answers. Let them make that case and see how far they would get. They know they are on the losing side of history.

Read her full remarks here or watch below:

She then met with Pakistani Prime Minister Ashraf Gilani. Followed by hosting a roundtable for Pakistani media at the U.S. embassy, and dolling out awards to impoverished Pakistani women.

She concluded her first day in Pakistan as the guest of honor at a dinner hosted by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the presidential palace with some 300 other guests. Reports are saying that this event stretched until 11:30pm.

It was noted by reporters that in each of her appearances today, she has conveyed a very genuine sense of heartfelt, personal connection to Pakistan and its assassinated former leader Benazir Bhutto, the wife of the current president.

Journalists are also saying that she is in tune with the the struggle for democracy here, and with those Pakistanis who want to promote the education of girls and women's empowerment but are now fighting a very deadly war against militant jihadists.

This was noted in the remarks before the dinner hosted for Clinton tonight where President Zardari said he was sad remembering that the last time Clinton had been here because during that time, his wife had still been alive.

Also during the dinner, Secretary Clinton recalled her first visit to Pakistan in 1995, accompanied by Chelsea. She told a story that Bill had recently given her a photo of her with Chelsea and Bhutto holding her two children's hands. She said that the picture evoked powerful grief for her about her slain friend.

On Thursday, the Secretary moves to the cultural capital of Lahore where she schedule includes a visit to a mosque, two town hall sessions with students and women's groups at a university, a working lunch with the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and his brother, a ceremony to mark the elevation of the U.S. mission in Lahore into a full fledged consulate and a round table with Pakistani Urdu media. She'll then fly back to to Islamabad after dinner time.

The weekend brings rumors of possible stops in every place from Afghanistan to Israel and the West Bank before heading to a confirmed destination in Morocco on Monday. Can't wait to see where she will go next!


kmb08 said...

I feel exhausted just imagining how exhausted she must be. I hope she truly does love her job. I think she is remarkable!

Jackie said...

I think Hillary is such a strong woman, I don't know if I could do what she does. I am praying for her safety and happiness.

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