Two adversaries

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Fighting fit

Foreign Minister Khar is adamant her government won’t be a pushover. For either the US or the opposition at home. Lately, a set of clear statements to both.

To the Americans, clarity on the issue of energy agreements with Iran. Pakistan can’t barter her sovereignty for good relations with the US, she said the other day. This was in addition to her sane voice of reason about the possibility of military action against Iran.

Pakistan faces severe energy insecurity. There really isn’t enough of the juice to go around. If we are ready to talk to the Indians about possible joint solutions, then why shouldn’t we do the same with Iran, a friendly nation? The US isn’t going to fix our energy crisis; in fact, they’re going to have one on their own hands if they don’t get creative. Even if we didn’t have an energy crisis, there are many areas where Iran and Pakistan could cooperate. And even if there weren’t any clear problems they could help us out with, there is the principle involved. A friend we are to the US but we won’t allow them to walk all over us.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, the foreign minister also made it clear to the opposition and those baying for blood after the Salala incident that creating problems for Nato would not be in Pakistan’s interest. We have already blocked land routes and there is no going back, for the time being, on that. Air routes, however, are not blocked and those in the mood of being petulant should realise the hazards involved there.

Though it might seem like we’re being cornered from all sides, one side actually compensates for the other. It will be easy to stem the hypernationalists by clearly worded statements both against American infringements on Pakistan’s foreign policy prerogatives and also their harebrained idea about involvement in Iran.

Similarly, some American goodwill shall be generated on the reaffirmation of our common goal to fight terror and the continuation of support for the western enterprise in Afghanistan.