Pak-US relations

  • Who is minding the store?


For Prime Minister Imran Khan the only issue is that of sending all opposition leaders to jail. After handing over the management of the economy to the IMF, he has forgotten about the sufferings the common people are being required to undergo.

One wonders who is looking after Pakistan’s foreign relations, especially Pak-US relations. In March, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi told the nation that ties with the USA were in bad shape in the past ‘but because of our successful foreign policy’ relations between both countries were improving and about to take a new turn. On another occasion the same month, Mr Qureshi thanked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for timely intervention amid simmering tensions between nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India.

But this not the way the USA looks at the relationship. Speaking at the 44th annual meeting of the US-India Business Council early this week, Secretary Pompeo said President Donald Trump had taken a far tougher stand on Pakistan than previous presidents, as he throws his weight behind New Delhi to “deal with” Islamabad and Beijing. Then, at the “India Ideas Summit” in Washington on Wednesday Secretary Pompeo went further. “We realise it’s different to deal with the likes of China and Pakistan from across the ocean than it is when they are on your borders.”

The Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells, went further at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee early this week. She underlined two US concerns about Pakistan, proliferation and support for terrorists. The USA, she said, remains concerned about Pakistan’s development of certain categories of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. After referring to Pulwama, she said, “We continue to urge Pakistan’s leaders to make good on their pledges to take sustained and irreversible actions against terrorist groups operating within the country’s borders, which is necessary for the long-term stability and prosperity of the region.” Wells warned that terrorist organisations, such as LeT and JeM, would continue to pose a grave risk to international peace as long as they were able to operate freely in Pakistan. Secretary Pompeo would be in New Delhi in coming weeks to strengthen US India ties. This seems to be none of Mr Khan’s concern.