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Trump Rhetoric Takes Relations with Pakistan to a New Low; British Author Afua Hirsch. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired January 16, 2018 - 14:00:00   ET


Hina Rabbani Khar

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the war on terrorism has no greater partnership than the Untied States and Pakistan. The President

Trump's tough talk is taking relations to a new low; I speak to former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar about their fall out.

Plus, my conversation with the British author and journalist Afua Hirsch on race, identity and belonging in the modern age.


AMANPOUR: Good Evening everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Even since New Years Day when Donald Trump

woke up and tweeted not about the media, not about Hillary Clinton but about Pakistan, this first world ally who's called America quote a friend

who always betrays.

The U.S. president accused Pakistan of playing a double game and he just billions of dollars in security aid. The two countries have a torturous

relationship but they need each other. Fro one thing, Pakistan gives the U.S. critical access to Afghanistan and its forces there.

The country's former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar joined me from Lahore this evening and I asked her whether anything could put Pakistan

U.S. relations back on a productive track.

Hina Rabbani Khar, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: Let me just read you President Trump's New Years Day tweet because I want to ask your reaction on some issues. So, he basically said

the Untied States has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years and they've given us nothing but lies and deceit,

thinking of our leaders as fools.

They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan with little help, no more. So what was your reaction when you first saw that and I

guess, a double barreled question. Do you believe your government will retaliate by closing off routes, by closing off airspace, all the vital

logistics that the U.S. needs to supply it's forces in Afghanistan.

KHAR: My reaction to this what, what have we come to? I mean, what is the world coming to, what has the leadership of the world come to? I mean,

currently, like it of not, the U.S. is currently the super power and perhaps we are looking at a much poorer world, but currently we are far

away from a much poorer world.

But if you want to tweet away our foreign diplomacy and management of our foreign policy relations, then clearly we at a place where I would be - I

would freaky, if I were sitting in the foreign office of Pakistan, I would totally ignore this tweet.

I would respond to the policy statement that they gave on South Asia which was not very encouraging for Pakistan or congratulatory for Pakistan

because that was all of government approach. Here, this is frankly speaking a habitual tweeter who tweets rather flippantly.

It's almost like, which side of the bed you woke up on that day. As I said, externally the massive failure in Pakistan is not a solution at all,

and unfortunately, in the last many of years, we've seen this earnest need on the other side. But you know, Christiane, and I hope you'd agree with


The different this time is that this is a president who's tweeting and a country or a government which is taking some action in terms of taking away

the aid, which are frankly speaking that Pakistan is not really dependent on at all, I think that exaggerated our dependence on American assistance.

As somebody who's managed Pakistan's portfolio for almost five years while I was in government, I can tell you our reliance on them is vastly

exaggerated. So coming back to the response on the tweet, I would just say honestly, after all the other tweets that one keeps on reading; I think we

should be concerned about the tweeter rather than the tweet.

AMANPOUR: Today, one Pakistani writer basically described U.S. and Pakistan as locked in a monstrous pact they made during soviet occupation

of Afghanistan. When they walked in with their Saudi friends carrying suitcases full of cash to give the USSR a bloody nose.

What do you say to that? Because I appears that you and the U.S. are locked into this paradigm.

KHAR: I do not believe one requires to give stable genius to do some very basic mathematics. The great New Year tweet that President Trump tweeted

after which there were many interesting tweets, including calling all African countries shit holes. But that's not what we're discussing right


As I said, it does not take a stable genius to figure out basic mathematics, he talked about a $33 billion that Pakistan received from

America in terms of assistance. Now, the fact is that in the last - since 2001, Pakistan has received somewhere to the tune of $4.8 billion under the

head of military assistance and somewhere to the tune of $5.3 billion in the realm of civilian assistance.

And you know, I'm not one who believed that Pakistan has not had its own faults. We've had many faults, we've experienced the terrorists for pretty

much in every military regime, almost has not been something that has done Pakistan any good.

I think the hub or the relationship that Pakistan and U.S.A got into on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was one that Pakistan was very conveniently

- Pakistan and the U.S. very conveniently got out of and the loss was ours to bear because all the Mujahideen which had been trained on our soil.

All the infiltration of terrorist, extremist mindset which had happened in our people's minds was left for us to deal with and America was happily

moved away, sanctioning Pakistan and going on to more interesting adventures.


KHAR: You know I didn't.

AMANPOUR: Let me just ask you beginning did you ever think that as a former Foreign Minister of your very conservative country, you would use

that word on global television?

KHAR: Which is?

AMANPOUR: Well, the S word.

KHAR: Oh, of course. It's the President of The United States. He's setting his standards I have to quote him for what he said so yes as a

representative of Pakistan I have to quote the President of The United States when he chooses to use these words. And that's where we are going,

that's where the world is going.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you then because Pakistan is also very defensive and you've laid out a position as to why you're right and the U.S. is

wrong. But, isn't it true that the Pakistan military has essentially taken control and convinced people, politicians that permanent war is a good


They look at India as an existential threat rather than Afghanistan and the very hard line terrorists Taliban and the Haqqani network as being your

major threats. And isn't it true that for instance, the Taliban who's assassinated politicians. They've blown up churches and schools. They

have normalized this behavior amongst Pakistanis and the murder of schoolchildren is called a collected sacrifice. Again, this is what

observers are saying. You say you've made giant leaps forward, but this is very debilitating to your country.

KHAR: Absolutely it is, Christiane and I am for once - I am one person who truly believes that it was our effort to dig all over The United States of

America in ridding Afghanistan from the Soviet invasion which instilled this extremism inside Pakistan. It decided to change the outlook of the

society for ever and ever.

But, I do not believe that we are the ones to and I do not also believe that we want to win any argument on the status a victim would. Because we

do - we sacrifice what we sacrifice for the sake of our children's future not for the sake of anyone else. You know, I believe we've been happily

scapegoated for this immense failure for which Pakistan is perhaps an equal victim to Afghanistan.

And I believe that we do not have the luxury like many of our other western friends to be able to up the skill set and be civil with the realities on

the ground. You saw what happened - what is happening in Afghanistan right now. President Ghani has literally taken - tried to push out, accepted the

resignation of the governor Atta Noor who's refusing to leave.

This is the type of government structure that you have. There's warlordism all over the place. Taliban are taking control over there, killing each

other has been happening for the last 10 years, it doesn't help.

AMANPOUR: Do you think this moment is solidifying Pakistan turning away from close ties to The United States and more towards the Chinese sphere?

KHAR: You know, Christiane as a foreign policy practitioner I do not agree that you have to turn away from one to turn towards the other. OK, China

is a regional, strategic partner. Perhaps the only real strategic partner Pakistan has had, not from today or the last five years, but for the last

four decades.

For them - with them we have a complete alignment of interest. As somebody who's not a believer in conspiracy theories, I am increasingly starting to

believe that the presence of The United States of America in Afghanistan is not for peace and stability. It is indeed as George Friedman says in his

book The Next 100 Years, to create chaos in this region so that Russia and China and many other central Asian Republics together with Iran perhaps can

be contained. I as I have said, not a conspiracy theorist by the design by my DNA but the more I see how we going the more how I see how the Iran(ph)

war is being fought. The more I believe this is happening.

AMANPOUR: You know the death and the rape of this young girl a seven year old Zainab. Her body just found on a trash heap, has sparked a whole new

level of outrage around the world. What can you tell us about why the Pakistani police or the regional police you know didn't get onto this case

as quickly as the parents would have liked for instance?

KHAR: Christine as you know I mean frankly speaking in a country like Pakistan. The efficiency and the training and the requirement of the

police leaves much to be desired. But one thing that this incident has done in Pakistan is that it has really woken up the conscious of the entire

nation. And you say the world is up in arms, I think much more than the world, Pakistan is currently in a state of mourning on this one incidence.

And as you know well having covered you know events and wars and incidence all over the world, sometimes it takes one incidence to spark the conscious

and the awareness that is required on matters which are genuinely considered to be taboo because sexual assault on young children is

obviously not something we specific to Pakistan happens all over the world. But in Pakistan because of the cultural inhibitions about speaking about

such issues.

This particular issue I think has just woken up the consciousness of the entire nation and people are now putting sense in creating entire

curriculum the government on creating the awareness of sexual assault and how children can protect themselves and how society can protect them.

AMANPOUR: Well, well that's interesting because in fact an opinion writer on CNN wrote the following, that there is no such thing as sex education in

Pakistan let alone child whose sexual prevention education. Children never learn how to protect themselves from pedophiles et tetra. Teaching a child

about what sort of behavior an adult or older child must never inflict is believed to be the same as teaching an innocent child about having sex.

And there in lies part of the problem right?

KHAR: Absolutely Christine, I think like many other things that Pakistan is trying to correct right now. This very sad incident has - is literally

breaking the taboo as we speak.

AMANPOUR: It's not just this one event. This is now brought to light many, many child abused, child sexual predators and murder and still you

know it was the parents and the family who identified the CCTV footage that showed this poor little Zainab walking away with an older man. But it

wasn't the police and they say you know the police should have been able to do that and perhaps the guy would have been arrested.

KHAR: I think a lot of the footage obviously came from a general response that we have all over Pakistan now to try and take care of crime. Which

has to do with the C(ph) city projects which has to do with CCTV footage of streets, bazaars, markets et tetra. So that is in some ways a step forward

that has been taken which allowed for you know this type of footage to appear in the first place.

But I don't think I disagree with you and I think nobody in Pakistan frankly speaking disagrees with you either at the political level or at the

social level that much, much, much more needs to be done to ensure that our children are safe. And now people are suddenly realizing that protection

of children with have to break those cultural taboos. So I'm quite hopeful that this particular incident you know for instance Malala incident woke up

the nation to a different type of a challenge.

And I think this incident has woken up people to a very clear social danger which is certainly not only present in Pakistan it's present all over the

world but in Pakistan I think people are now demanding that governments whether their at the provincial level or at the federal level, do much more

at every level to basically fix this issue you now very, very aggressively.

AMANPOUR: Now you mentioned Malala of course she was the little Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for just wanting to go to school and she has

since created a movement, she's won a noble prize. I think if the whole world perhaps knows Malala. You have daughters, you're the mother of

daughters. Do you think your country is safe for your daughters?

KHAR: You know Christine my fellow(ph) my children go to school in this country I have no other nationality. I intend to live in this country, I

intend my children to grow in this country and I can tell you even though we are all obviously - I think post 9/11 Pakistan went through the worst

possible effects of terrorist, terrorism permeating through our front borders into the Pakistani territory.

And we went through many, many bomb attacks and many, many bomb attacks and many, many strikes of all sorts. But I can tell you, I think Pakistan

currently is living the fruits of it's old reputation.

And Pakistan in the last 10 years it has -- it's a country which is in active war. Our soldiers are dying on a daily basis to try to get this

country back to normal and the violence has decreased pretty much in all parts of the country. Our territory, large skids of this territory is now

back under the control of the government. So, I believe that our direction is right.

AMANPOUR: On that note, Former Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar. Thanks so much for joining me.

RABBANI KHAR: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Now in a recent U.S. meeting about Pakistan, President Trump reportedly made a point of asking a Korean-American analyst where she was

from. Repeatedly he asked her and when she finally said that her family originally came from South Korea, the President asked, why she wasn't

working on North Korea then?

My next guest describes, where are you from, as the question. Something that's constantly faced by minorities and is the most persistent reminder

of that sense of not belonging she says.

In her new book, "British," author and journalist Afua Hirsch grapples with the universal concepts of belonging and identity while facing the realities

of worth. And Afua joins me now here in the studio. Welcome.


AMANPOUR: This is the book. I love "Brit(ish)."

HIRSH: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: It's very British, this title.

HIRSCH: It is.

AMANPOUR: And we say ish about a lot of things. About belonging identity and race, and the stories we tell to convince ourselves or to describe the

sense of belonging, what kind of stories?

HIRSCH: Well, I think I wrote this book because in Britain, I think there's a specific culture around this that are quite all quite actually

talking about heritage and race and identity.

And so people ask about it in quite strange ways. So the question of like, which you mentioned, is really funny because people say it a lot. Often in

a very well meaning way and I'll say, well I'm British.

And they'll be like, no, no, no but where are you're from? And I'll say I'm from London. Yes, but where are you really from? And at that point

I'll play with them, well I was born in Norway or I live in Wimbledon and sometimes they actually say, yes, but where are your parents from?

Really what they get from that is, why are you brown? What's the story? And it is often well intentioned, just kind of an innocent curiosity. But

I think the point I want to make is that many white British people with fascinating stories of immigration and cultural heritage who don't get

asked the question.

The reason I'm being asked is because I'm visibly other and so it is the constant sense of being other and being told, you might be British, but

Britishness is a bit different. We want an explanation before we can accept that you're one of us.

AMANPOUR: You mentioned you play with them by saying, well, I was born in Norway. I wonder what you think about the serendipities that President

Trump, in one fell swoop, insulted Africa with the S word, including the country your mom comes from, Ghana.

HIRSH: Ghana, yes.

AMANPOUR: .and praised Norway, saying we want immigrants from Norway.

HIRSCH: He obviously doesn't know that there are black Norwegians, because I'd love to see the look on his face when a bunch of Norwegian immigrants

arrive, all of them black.

Norway, like most European countries now, are very multicultural and I think like all of us in Europe grappling with those questions of identity

and there is a whole generation of black Norwegians just like there are black British people, black French people asking, why is it that we can't

just feel British or French? What is the problem with us just being accepted and it's a lot more than just being asked a question, it's

actually what's underneath it.

And what I'm saying in my book is that I believe that in Britain there are very fundamental questions about British history. The Empire, the most

important event arguably ever in British history, the reason why people like my mother came to this country. And most British people don't fully


AMANPOUR: Why did she come? How?

HIRSCH: So my grandfather worked for Kwame Nkrumah the first leader after independence and got black listed when democracy kind of deteriorated in

Ghana and so fled for his safety and they weren't able to go back. Essentially like so many Ghanaians, and that in itself was the legacy of

the way that Ghana was handed it's independence.

There are stories about Kwame Nkrumah going into the castle, defeat government on the first day of independence and the British having cleared

the place out. Not a single chair, not a filing cabinet, no data, so.

AMANPOUR: Just didn't want to hand over in a proper administration.

HIRSCH: .didn't want to hand over in a way that could fix it. So many of these countries were handed a poise and chalice and coming back to Trump's

point about shithole countries, where's the context.

Why a country -- no one would deny that many African countries are struggling; why is that? Is this a historical idea that they just kind of

came out of nowhere and decided to be defunctional? And that's what I'm picking with book because increasingly there are more people affected by


AMANPOUR: You know, it's not until the President of The United States says it, but global television could use a word that we would never be allowed

to use. .


But I want to ask you actually about that; about the words that he used. President Trump has a history; according to people who have studied him, of

racist sayings and some would say racist activities whether it's what he did in his real estate in the 70's and 80's saying that last year Haitians

all have AIDS; Nigerians would never return to their huts after seeing the U.S.; Mexicans, rapists, et cetera. What does it mean when he says this

thing? What does the global impact of this?

HIRSCH: This might sound counter-intuitive but I actually think it's helpful because I think - - I've found in my life that when you are very

keenly aware of structural, unfairness and prejudice against people from other ethnicities, it can be very hard to articulate it. When you have a

government that speaks the language of multiculturalism and diversity and says all the right things, but hasn't solved those very deeply embedded

problems, it can be harder to make the case for it.

And actually what I think President Trump is doing is showing the world how much baggage America has around race. It's so much easier to pull it out

and you can't deal with something until it's on the table.

AMANPOUR: So it's a constructive thing you say - - I mean it's not pretty.

HIRSCH: I wouldn't celebrate it, but for example I've been wondering why African countries haven't taken a stronger stance on President Trump's

rhetoric before. As you said, a litany of racist remarks and behaviors over many gen - - many decades; and I wanted to see African countries

taking a stand and saying - -

AMANPOUR: As they have now.

HIRSCH: Now they have and it took something this extreme to say enough is enough and I think that that is weirdly a positive step.

AMANPOUR: So interestingly you say that your book is not for the diehard racists.

HIRSCH: No we all know that there are people who are overtly racist who have crude and views that most people would abhor. What I am going at and

this is based on my own life experience, I've had a privileged life; I grew up in affluent part of England; I went to private school, I went to Oxford;

I have had all the advantages that this society can offer and I know this is society by class is as much an issue for opportunity as race. But what

I found is that even in these very privileged, educated settings, the same prejudices survive; they're just coated much more cleverly, they're more


AMANPOUR: Well in your privileged upbringing; at 14 you had a pretty major sock in the face when I think friends said to you oh don't worry Af, we

don't consider you black.

HIRSCH: Exactly, that for me, said so much about the way we think in this country. My school friends saying don't worry, we don't see you as black,

it was their attempt to make me feel welcomed and one of them. And they couldn't understand that in saying that; they had internalized all of these

ideas, that there's something bad about blackness. So the best thing we can offer you is just to kind of sweep it under the carpet and everything

will be fine.

And I think the nation is playing that out actually, we have leaders who say we should have a celebratory approach to British history. If you can't

celebrate it, don't teach it. We have politicians saying, we don't need to worry about race because by 2050 half of the population will be mixed race.

Now that doesn't solve the problem it just exponentially increases the number of people affected and that's why we have to deal with these things.

AMANPOUR: And just - - can you go back to that moment when you were 14, I mean did you laugh or were you just stunned?

HIRSCH: That really rocked me if I'm honest. There were a lot of other things - - nicknames, people used to call me troll and this was not in the

days of DreamWorks Films with Justin Timberlake soundtracks; these were the days when trolls were - -

AMANPOUR: I know those trolls.

HIRSCH: - - those little fat key rings with DayGlo sticking up hair and little things which similarly weren't meant to be mean but I constantly had

this feeling that there was something wrong with me. But that comment was the first time I think I was able to articulate it more to myself that

blackness was seen as something bad and actually my family noticed the deterioration in my sense of confidence around that time. And my mother

took me to Guyana for the first time.

AMANPOUR: And I was going to ask you that next because OK tell us because when you went to Guyana, that was also a little weird because there you

were white just about.

HIRSCH: Exactly I think this is maybe a real thing of being mixed raced or having multiple heritages, that you grow up in a country like Britain and

you're black and the reason that you feel this crisis of identity is because you are the black person in the room so in my teenage mind, I

thought well if the reason I'm othered (ph) is because I'm black, then if I go to Guyana I'll fit in and everything will make sense. And of course as

soon as I get to Guyana, they call me Obroni which means white person and I will never forget the fence of shock and if I'm honest, slight betrayal

because in my mind this is the place where everything would make sense. And it had not in a million have occurred to me that they see me as white

and of course now I understand Guyana better, I understand why. I represent somebody who's had access to all the advantages of life in

Britain; who's part of a country that colonized Ghana and I can't speak the language. I speak like a white person as far as their concerned.

So, I understand it now but at the time it was very painful and it was the first moment I realized that you can't find identity by going somewhere.

There's no solution in a place.

AMANPOUR: And, in our last 40 seconds, do you have solutions?

HIRSCH: Well, as a result of understanding that there is no place that has the answers I reconciled myself with that that we have to solve the

problems here. We can't run away from them. And that's what my book is doing. I am going there. All the things that we don't say that are

awkward and sometimes painful in saying we don't have a choice but to grapple with these things and I really hope people will take that up and

thought to have these conversations.

AMANPOUR: Afua Hirsch, thanks so much for joining us tonight.

HIRSCH: Thanks for having me.

AMANPOUR: And, that is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always listen to our podcast and see us online at And, of

course, follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for watching and good bye from London.