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US and its Paradoxical Ties with Pakistan

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BY: Kaiser Ahmad Rather

Daniel Markey, a longtime observer of US-Pak relations, wrote in his book, “No Exit from Pakistan: America’s Tortured Relationship with Islamabad”, that “despite all the problems and trust deficit that the US had with Pakistan and its military-the answer lay in managing the problems rather than finding a solution. Daniel suggested that the US establishment and the political government should start thinking alike to have a long lasting trust-worthy relationship with Pakistan instead of a mixture of love and hate, if they seriously believe that peace without Pakistan in the region would not be possible”.

However, it is due to the US paradoxical ties with Pakistan that confuse certain equations, sometimes and while the US high officials praised Pakistan’s sacrifices regarding war on terror and admitted that stability cannot be achieved in Afghanistan without the help of Pakistan, the same setup sometimes, presumes that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were not well-protected and blame Islamabad for safe havens of militants in the country. There are views that while in connivance with India and Israel, America has been continuing its anti-Pakistan activities by supporting militancy in Pakistan and separatism in Balochistan province.

After the 9/11 tragedy, the US, needed Pakistan’s help and President George W. Bush insisted upon Islamabad to join the US global war on terror. Pakistan was also granted the status of non-NATO ally by America due to the early successes, achieved by Pakistan’s Army and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) against the AI-Qaeda militants. Within a few years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, who are fighting for the liberation of their country, they started accusing Pak Army and ISI of supporting the Afghan Taliban. US top officials and media not only blamed Islamabad for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, but accused that safe havens of AI-Qaeda existed in Pakistan and constantly emphasized upon Pakistan to do more against the militants and continued the CIA-operated drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas by ignoring the internal backlash in the country.

In August 2017, President Donald Trump announced the new strategy regarding Afghanistan as part of the policy in South Asia. Using tough words against the US ally Pakistan, Trump revived the old blame game regarding the cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan and threatened to target the terrorists’ sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While Pakistan’s regional rival India’s role is appreciated, Donald Trump said, “We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan … We want them to help us more with Afghanistan. Meanwhile, on January 5, 2018, the US suspended $255 million of military aid to Islamabad as a condition to do more against terrorism. Taking note of Trump’s policy, Pakistan’s civil and military leaders, including all the mainstream political parties united against the US aggressive stance against the country and offered a stark response to Trump’s false accusations.

Pakistan rejected being made scapegoats for the policy failures of the US and India. According to Islamabad the new US policy is aimed at de-nuclear sing Pakistan. India’s major role in Afghanistan as per Trump administration’s new strategy for the region will have adverse impacts on Pakistan … Trump undermined the country’s major contributions towards that war. It seems Trump has no knowledge of this region. According to the statement of DG of the Inter Services PublicRelations (ISPR), Maj-Gen. Asif Ghafoor, “Chief of the Army Staff (COAS)” ‘General Qamar Javed Bajwa stated that “Pakistan was not looking for any material or financial assistance from USA but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions … peace in Afghanistan is as important for Pakistan as for any other country.” In another statement, Maj-Gen Ghafoor said: “Pakistan had done enough and it was time for the United States and Afghanistan to do more.” He also urged the US to “check India’s anti-Pakistan role not only from inside of Afghanistan, but also through the enhanced and increased ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary”.

Mr. Pompeo visited Pakistan and conveyed the US desire to work with Pakistan in furthering the shared objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan. Notably, international community knows very well that Pakistan’s Armed Forces have successfully broken the backbone of the foreign-backed terrorists by the military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad. Army and top intelligence agency ISI have broken the network of these terrorist groups by capturing several militants, while thwarting a number of terror attempts. Peace has been restored in various regions of Pakistan, including Karachi and Balochistan province.

Although Pakistan’s security forces have eliminated terrorism, yet, in the recent past and during the election-campaign of 2019, blasts in Balochistan and other regions of the country showed that the US-led India, Afghanistan and Israel have again started acts of sabotage specially to weaken Pakistan and to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Washington and New Delhi has already opposed this project. Foiled terror attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi on November 23, last year was part of the same scheme. Likewise, bomb blast in Quetta-the capital of Balochistan on April 12, this year killed at least 20 people and injured 48 individuals. Therefore, well-entrenched in Afghanistan, America CIA, India RAW and Israeli Mossad are assisting the separatist elements of the Balochistan province to thwart the CPEC project.

It is notable that in the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack in the Indian Administered Kashmir and escalation of tension between Pakistan and India, on February 28, this year, US President Trump said that Pakistan-India tension would de-escalate soon-the United States had been mediating between the two sides and trying to make them stop. Trump also acknowledged that Washington has improved her relations with Islamabad shortly. Especially, American State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino stated on March 5, 2019 that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo played an essential role in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. The fact is that Washington knows that a war between two nuclear countries will also eliminate India.

It is worth-mentioning that the incoming Commander of the United States Central Command (US CENTCOM) General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and COAS in this month. The meeting with Gen Bajwa is important from two perspectives. First it is important that America’s l new military leadership interacts with its Pakistan, counterpart. Pakistan and the US military feel pride on Carrying personal ties and direct communication lines which have served well when it comes to the U9 and Pakistan’s bilateral relationship. Even when-the America’s political leadership targets Islamabad, the US military is believed to have retained different policy towards Pakistan. For instance, it has been reported that Trump’s decision to stop Pakistan’s military training program was disapproved by the Pentagon. However, the high level meeting shows that the US considers Pakistan a strategic actor in Afghanistan and South Asia. Pakistan should use such meetings to make its position clear on India’s efforts to destabilize the region. Despite improvement in the Pak-US relations, Pakistan cannot trust on America on permanent basis, as the US is still pursuing paradoxical policy in connection with Pakistan by preferring New Delhi at the cost of Islamabad.

Author is an Independent Researcher & HR activist, and has completed masters in Peace & Conflict Studies. He is presently Studying in Lynn University U.S.A. and can be reached at [email protected]

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