Incremental pressure from the US

DESPITE willingness shown by the new government in Pakistan to move ahead as far as relations with the United States are concerned, there is no let up in incremental pressure being put by Washington to force Islamabad to toe its line. In the latest episode, as per statement of the Pentagon, US military is seeking to reallocate $300 million CSF (Coalition Support Fund) to Pakistan due to Islamabad’s lack of ‘decisive actions’ in support of regional American strategy.
The move has sent depressing signals both to PTI government as well as people of Pakistan and would, understandably, add to the prevailing tension and mistrust between the two countries. The issue has many dimensions and all of them speak of future US policy in respect of bilateral ties with Pakistan and cooperation on war against terror. The first thing that one must bear in mind is that $300 million CSF is reimbursement, which Washington was under obligation to pay Pakistan. Secondly, the decision means the United States is no more interested to have meaningful cooperation with Pakistan in the realm of counter-terrorism and that would obviously amount to undermining the successful campaign of Pakistan against the menace, which was heading for logical conclusion. Thirdly, announcement of such a negative move a few days ahead of the visit of the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Joseph F Dunford is a message that they are coming with a stick. This does not augur well for their first interaction with the new elected government in Pakistan.
It was, perhaps, because of this mindset of the United States that Prime Minister Imran Khan told senior journalists that his government would not accept dictation from the United States. His statement is reflective of the national aspirations as every Pakistani wants continuation of friendly relations with the United States but on the basis of sovereign equality. It is all the more regrettable that the latest move also seems to have been motivated by the US desire to placate India ignoring immense sacrifices of Pakistan in the war against terror. However, despite these provocations, we hope Pakistan would stay cool as has also been indicated by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his first reaction and try to sort out differences with the US on mutually beneficial terms.

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