Collaborative not punitive approach

DESPITE talks that are continuing between Pakistan and the US over a period of time at different levels to reach a common ground to address region’s security related issues, it appears serious differences that openly surfaced after unveiling of US’s new Afghan policy still exist between both the sides. We say so given the tough and hard statements that continue to emanate from Washington.
According to an American newspaper, the Trump Administration has been looking into a range of new options to incrementally pressurise Pakistan to go hard against the terrorist groups. White House functionaries reportedly are weighing unprecedented penalties including revoking the country’s major non- NATO ally status, permanently cutting off military aid and imposing a visa bar on Pakistani government officials – something that we understand will not serve any purpose but push the bilateral relations between the two countries further down. Pakistan has always expressed its desire and intent to move forward in an environment of collaboration but unfortunately the hard stance adopted by Washington with the aim to shift the burden of its own failures in Afghanistan on Pakistan, in fact is hampering efforts to revive peace process in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Due to indiscriminate action, there is no organised presence of any terrorist outfits on Pakistani soil. The presence of sleeper cells cannot be ruled out as they hit when and where they get the opportunity in some cities of Pakistan but we understand that they do not have the capability to cross the border and attack the areas there. Due to vast swathes of ungoverned areas in Afghanistan, the terrorists in fact do not need Pakistani soil to mount attacks inside the war torn country. So, instead of pointing fingers or blaming Pakistan, the US must correct its course and review the policy towards the region. If it is really interested to restore peace and security in Afghanistan and its presence there is not meant to contain others, then the Trump Administration needs to demonstrate seriousness and sit with Pakistan and Afghanistan to find ways and means to revive the peace process.

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