Monday, 23 September 2013

Pakistan US relationship: Need for overcoming trust deficit

Historically diplomatic relationships between Pakistan and United States have often suffered due to changing policies of the super power, which has its own agenda to pursue. Despite fighting the US proxy war in Afghanistan for nearly four decades the US mantra ‘do more’ continues. Fighting this proxy war has the biggest fallout in the shape of growing militancy in Pakistan, influx of arms and drug and drug money. 

The situation is really odd for Pakistan as it was asked to support Taliban when USSR attacked Afghanistan in an attempt to get access to warm waters. The friends turned foe when United States attacked Afghanistan on the pretext that Taliban had provided safe haven to OBL. As the time came for withdrawing US-led Nato troops from Afghanistan United sates divided Taliban in two faction, good and bad. This put Pakistan at a very embarrassing point because Taliban decided to take revenge from Pakistan Army for supporting Nato troops. It made Pakistan jittery as bad Taliban were moved from Afghanistan to Syria to fight yet another proxy war of United States. No one really knows what will be the next US move.

As regards dealing with Taliban, particularly it offshoot TTP and its accomplice LeJ, Pakistan has no option but to weed them out as these outfits are openly challenging writ of the government. They are not only killing innocent people but martyring soldiers and sabotaging sensitive installations. On top of all they (perpetrators) very proudly claim responsibility of killing and sabotaging. Ironically, armed forces and elected civilian government don’t seem to on the same wavelength. The policy of appeasing Taliban followed by the civilian government doesn’t allow the forces to undertake ‘operation clean up’ or an open war as some critics prefer to call it.

It is also evident that United States wishes to promote India as ‘Regional Super Power’ by assigning it a role in Afghanistan and Iran, assigning responsibility for maintain security in the Indian Ocean and also to check China. All these objectives put Pakistan at a disadvantages position because of: 1) unresolved Kashmir issue, 2) Pakistan’s relationship with Iran and China and 3) Pakistan’s stake in Afghanistan. The dichotomy of US policy is evident from India getting in reward ‘nuclear technology for civilian use’ for deserting Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project. While India has been allowed to continue its oil purchases from Iran, Pakistan is being pressurized to also quit Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project or get ready to face economic sanctions.

One can say it categorically that the US policies have always remained tilted towards India and Pakistan continues to play the role of ‘mercenaries’ in Afghanistan. Despite that Pakistan has been hosting millions of Afghan refugees for nearly four decade, some of the ‘US Touts’ are inflicting the worst damage on Pakistan, particularly in Karachi. Worst of all these elements have been trying to create a breach between the two sects, Sunnis and Shias, to plunge the country deep into anarchy. Destroying peace in Karachi is the first target to put Pakistan’s economy in complete disarray.

Added to this is the US support for ‘Garand Baluchistan’. The unrest in the province is affecting oil and gas exploration in the province. Any action against the perpetrators is projected as exploitation of Balochs and used for raising demand for an independent Baluchistan. If Pakistan asks the United States to change its policies, it must be heeded for the good of the region and not as a disagreement with the super power.

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