For better Pak-US relations

THE US President Donald Trump’s strategy for South Asia which carried scathing comments for Pakistan followed by high level US officials’ harsh statements had put Islamabad-Washington relations at the lowest ebb but developments of last few days in which we saw a US delegation visiting Pakistan indicate that matters have been turnaround to some extent. Though Trump has mercurial temperament yet on Saturday morning he made encouraging remarks about Pakistan when he expressed his gratitude for the country’s cooperation and said the US is starting to develop a much better relationship with the South Asian country- something that is need of the hour to address the challenges facing the region.
Relations between Pakistan and the US have never been stable. One does not need to apply much mind to find out the reasons behind the ups and down in this relationship. Being a super power, the US always tried to dictate its terms to achieve its interests in the region and the country, which was once heavily reliant on Washington had to accept what was being ordered to it. But definitely there is limit of anything and relations saw downfall when we were asked to do what was beyond our capacity or when our interests were ignored. Trump policy also carried all that ingredients as it not only repeated mantra of ‘do more’ but it also envisaged expanded Indian role in Afghanistan. We understand that Pakistan’s stance on the new US policy was loud and articulate and it was very much required given the threats faced by the region from India. The way Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif presented Pakistan’s case during his recent visits to the US and reminded in unequivocal terms the follies made by the super power is really commendable. We understand that this categorical stance compelled the US administration to rethink its policy. This is the reason that a 10-member high powered US delegation recently held talks in Islamabad in which both sides agreed to take forward the engagement process to collectively address the challenges. Indeed both the countries need each other in regional context and further collaboration, greater engagement will be the right course to rebuild the relationship that is based on mutual trust. For resetting the relations, the US officials will have to shun the course of rhetoric and stop speaking the language of our eternal enemy India. It will also have to understand that it cannot put the decades old burden of its own failures in Afghanistan on Pakistan. Our security forces and the people have paid a heavy price to restore peace and stability-something that also been acknowledged by different US delegations who visited the tribal areas and witnessed for themselves the improvement brought by the anti-terrorism operations there. As far as peace in Afghanistan is concerned, Pakistan has always supported and facilitated the peace process. If the US is really interested in reviving peace to the conflict ridden country, it will have to rein in India and sincerely support the reconciliation process, as there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict.

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