ISLAMABAD: The first telephonic conversation between US president-elect Donald Trump and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif baffled many and drew criticism on social media.
The Pakistan government released the candid account, complete with Trump's trademark language, after Sharif phoned him to congratulate on his election victory.
Widely circulated on social media, the statement released late Wednesday caused surprise given the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the Trump campaign and the president-elect's past description of the country as "not our friend".
Trump has long been disdainful of Pakistan on social media. The call also provides a glimpse into his diplomatic strategy.
The government often releases read outs of PM’s conversations with foreign heads of state but they are seldom so full of praise for the Pakistani premier, especially during calls with Western leaders.
The statement said Trump told the embattled Pakistani leader, currently embroiled in a corruption court case, that he has a "very good reputation".
The Prime Minister’s office said Trump praised Nawaz Sharif as a "terrific guy" and offered support for "fantastic" country of Pakistan, in the effusive phone call.
"You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long," it quoted Trump as saying.
"Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people," Trump said according to the statement, while also offering to help solve the nation's many challenges.
"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."
The prime minister's office did not elaborate on the kind of problems Trump offered to solve. The statement also did not clarify why exactly Trump was impressed with Sharif.
On January 17, 2012, he tweeted: "Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend. We've given them billions and billions of dollars, and what did we get? Betrayal and disrespect — and much worse. #TimeToGetTough"
The statement drew criticism and mockery on social media, especially on Twitter from many Pakistanis as well as politicians.
Opposition PTI leader, Imran Khan, also reacted on the call.
Good news is Trump spoke to Nawaz Sharif. Bad news for NS is this won't save him from Panama scandal - not even if a Trump letter arrived!
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 1, 2016
“Good news is Trump spoke to Nawaz Sharif. Bad news for NS is this won't save him from Panama scandal - not even if a Trump letter arrived!,” he said on Twitter.
.@AriFleischer: It's entirely inappropriate for Pakistani govt. to release what an American president-elect says https://t.co/Otvd33lMk2
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) December 1, 2016
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said “it's entirely inappropriate for Pakistani govt. to release what an American president-elect says.” He was speaking at news show on CNN.
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) November 30, 2016
Shekhar Gupta, an Indian journalist, said "Such a fantastic press release on a chat between fantastic Nawaz Sharif & Donald Trump, leaders of 2 most fantastic countries." - Samaa