Future of Pak-US relations

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Tying aid to progress

 

 

The way Pak-US relations were deteriorating it was only a matter of time before Washington tied further aid to tangible, measurable progress on Pakistan’s side. This breakdown began with the collapse with the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) some time ago; when Afghanistan unilaterally tossed Pakistan out of the arrangement. Then Washington’s “do more”, which strangely disappeared just as the quadrilateral got rolling, came back with a longer list of demands. And now Ghani is bad-mouthing Pakistan half-way across the world and Washington, according to media reports, will host a Congressional debate on whether Pakistan is a friend or foe.

Now, considering what came before and after John McCain’s recent revealing mission, the Senator’s comments in Islamabad fall in a pattern. First the F16 subsidy was rolled back. Then McCain said, plainly and clearly, that the US has some sort of compelling information that Pakistan continues to house ‘terrorists’. And now the lawmakers’ huddle on the future of the relationship. No doubt they’ll ask for something a little more concrete regarding the Haqqanis, and they’ll need some sort of action, if arm twisting is not enough, to get the Afghan Taliban to stop fighting and start talking. And they’ll also throw in Dr Shakeel Afridi this time. And since nothing, except Dr Afridi, is new it seems Islamabad will really have to do more this time to save the deal.

Unfortunately, this breakdown comes at a particularly awkward time for all parties concerned. There’s no telling if Ghani will recover politically from gambitting on Pakistan. It’s equally unclear if his government will win the war. And with the US election coming, Islamabad’s chances of finding favour in Washington over the next cycle seem bleak at best. Usually we’ve done good business with the Republicans, especially when there’s war in Afghanistan. But this time a Republican return to the White House might well shake Pakistan to the core. There is good sense, therefore, in not only salvaging the relationship before it sours any further, but also going the extra mile to help end the Afghan war once and for all.

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Has Pakistan been a good partner thus far for the United States? I think so. But if the United States thinks otherwise, it should keep in mind that only good policies make good partners. Then Washington doesn’t have to worry about issuing blank checks.

  2. There is no such thing as US-Pakistan ‘relations.’ Whatever takes place between two countries is only based on political expediency and need of time. The illusion of ‘relations’ is a carrot-and-stick formula which Pakistani politicians fall for, more often than not.

    For US the self interest is paramount and every Muslim country in the world is dealt with accordingly. As long as Pakistan does not come to the table with some substance they will always loose out at the end of the day.

    Without an economic or political edge you might as well stay back and look for a more opportune time.

    Good luck to Pakistanis.

  3. Excuse me, recently Pakistan politician Imran Khan gave millions in government money to the "Father of the Taliban" and his school for terrorists Darul Uluum Haqqania?…This is clearly State Sponsored terrorism!..It is Pakistan own duplicity that has produced your bad reputation in the world…

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