Pak, US warming relations


PAKISTAN and the US relations have seen many ups and downs. Especially the situation in Afghanistan has seriously affected their relationship. However, ever since the meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, the relationship appears to be heading in the positive trajectory.
In the latest important and positive development, the Trump Administration has approved a resumption of Pakistan’s participation in a coveted US military training and educational program more than a year after it was suspended. Pakistan and the US enjoy historic security and defence ties and participation of Pakistani officers in the US training program will go a long way in removing irritants and further building the trust and confidence between the two countries. Earlier, this year, Washington had also approved $ 125 million for Pakistan to provide technical support to its fleet of F-16 aircraft. We really appreciate these very gestures but at the same time, it is important that the US starts seeing Pakistan beyond the prism of Afghanistan. It has always remained Pakistan’s desire to build strong partnership with the United States in diverse fields but the trust deficit has always hindered that process. The ‘Do More’ mantra and squeezing Pakistan on different issues has only raised anti-US sentiments in our society. However, the very statement of Donald Trump during meeting with PM Imran Khan that he desires to build strong economic relations with Pakistan has really been received very positively within Pakistan and also changed perception about the US President. To move forward, it is important that both the sides enhance engagement levels at different levels to explore areas of growth in bilateral relations. The resumption of ministerial level strategic dialogue will be a good beginning and set the directions to future relationship. Apart from military assistance and clearing reimbursements under the coalition support fund, the Trump Administration must also consider extending economic assistance to Pakistan, without any strings, for the losses it suffered in the war on terrorism.