The transcript of the admittedly ‘bizarre’ phone call between US President elect Donald Trump and Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif has baffled not just those at home but the Americans and the rest of the world alike. The ‘call’ in questions was more of a stream of superlatives for Pakistan, Pakistanis and the Pakistani premier.
The readout issued by Pakistani officials read ‘Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif called President-elect USA Donald Trump and felicitated him on his victory. President Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to seeing you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honor and I will personally do it. Feel free to call me any time even before 20th January that is before I assume my office.’
The call’s readout was widely mocked on social networking websites first and then mainstream media also picked it. Washington Post said ‘Lavishing praise on the Pakistanis would be a major turnaround for the president-elect. In 2012, Trump took to his favorite social media platform, Twitter, to denounce Pakistan. Sharif, the Pakistani prime minister, is markedly less loved in his country than Trump’s praise would make it seem.’
The Independent wrote ‘Donald Trump has never met Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. But he knows he has a ‘very good reputation’, and understands he is a ‘terrific guy’. In fact, Mr Trump feels such a connection with the Pakistani leader, whom he hopes to visit soon, that he feels like he is ‘talking to a person I have known for a long time’.’
New York Times quipped ‘The Pakistani government released its own account of the telephone conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Sharif that sounded, well, Trumpian.’
An expert on CNN was of the view that ‘It was entirely inappropriate for the Pakistani government to release what a US president or president-elect says in the course of a phone call’. ‘We would never release what a foreign leader said to George W Bush, we would talk about what George W Bush said.’ He went on to label the readout issued by Pakistani officials as an ‘entire breach of diplomatic protocol and tradition’.
The BBC said ‘It is unclear to what extent these are direct quotes, but there was much bemusement both in mainstream and social media.’
Telephone conversations between world leaders are almost reported in carefully used diplomatic language. What was more bizarre about the readout was that it barely mentioned anything what the Pakistani premier said and almost entirely consisted of Trump’s quotes. The statement seemed to be released in a hurry has become somewhat of an embarrassment for the officials.
Trump transition team confirmed that the conversation took place but said it lacked the ‘flowery language’ included in the Pakistani version of this talk.
The hurriedly released transcript has become rather embarrassing for the government.