Pol­icy Re-align­ment

Southasia - - Comment -

The love af­fair be­tween Pak­istan and the United States be­gan back in the early 50s. Since then, their bi-lat­eral re­la­tions have gen­er­ally been sweet though there were dif­fi­cul­ties too, es­pe­cially in the post-Cold War era, when things blew hot and cold. How­ever, this time, the level of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion is much deeper than at any time be­fore. The rot was build­ing up for some time but it was the Ray­mond Davis episode that trig­gered tem­per­a­tures at Pak­istan’s end be­yond crit­i­cal lim­its.

In past weeks, sev­eral Amer­i­can func­tionar­ies, in­clud­ing the U.S. Am­bas­sador in Islamabad, Cameron Munter and, more re­cently, Mike Mullen, Chair­man, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, have re­as­sured the Pak­istani pub­lic that there is no love lost as far as the U.S. is con­cerned, that Amer­ica wishes to see Pak­istan be­com­ing stronger and reap­ing the fruits of so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, that it rec­og­nizes Pak­istan’s sac­ri­fices and has a strong com­mit­ment in the re­gion. Such ut­ter­ances, how­ever, do not cut ice in Pak­istan any­more. There is a dis­tinct cred­i­bil­ity fa­tigue set­ting in, con­sid­er­ing that drone at­tacks are killing in­no­cent civil­ians ev­ery day and the War on Ter­ror has cost Pak­istan an es­ti­mated $75 bil­lion over the past decade in ad­di­tion to thou­sands of mil­i­tary and civil­ian ca­su­al­ties, whereas the U.S. has not paid Pak­istan more than a peanut $10 bil­lion in war cost com­pen­sa­tion in this pe­riod.

Since it has been stated quite cat­e­gor­i­cally that Amer­i­can drone at­tacks will not stop, Pak­istan should draw some use­ful lessons from its lop­sided re­la­tion­ship with the U.S. and leave the su­per­power to its own de­vices to fight the war in Afghanistan which is headed for a dis­as­trous end any­way and more so if Pak­istan pulls out its sup­port. One im­me­di­ate step that is sug­gested is that Pak­istan should cut the U.S. sup­ply lines that en­able thou­sands of heavy con­tain­ers to drive through Pak­istani ter­ri­tory, de­stroy­ing roads and com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­works and caus­ing dis­rup­tions in move­ment of reg­u­lar traf­fic.

It is now time for Pak­istan to adopt a co­her­ent and well thoughtout re­gional stance as a cen­tral pil­lar of its for­eign pol­icy be­cause this has been the coun­try’s fun­da­men­tal weak­ness all along. Its for­eign pol­icy must now be re­aligned on the ba­sis of a prag­matic re­al­iza­tion of the re­gion’s power pol­i­tics and how this func­tions in the global en­vi­ron­ment. Pak­istan is a nation of key geo-po­lit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. There­fore, it must not ex­ist in re­gional iso­la­tion any­more and should not hang on to al­liances that rely on the sup­port of dis­tant, non-re­gional pow­ers be­cause it has a key and har­mo­nious role to play in the re­gion where it be­longs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.