Lahore—“Pakistan and USA must remain engaged in the best interest of Afghanistan” said USIP’s Moeed Yusuf at a roundtable discussion held today by the Institute for Policy Reforms.
arlier, in his opening comments Mr. Humayun Akhtar Khan, Chairman Institute for Policy Reforms stated that Pakistan’s bilateral relations with USA are based on a narrow range of interests. For fifteen years, Pakistan and USA have worked closely in the areas of regional security, counter terrorism, terror financing, and on nuclear security. ‘Even within this narrow base, the relationship runs through cycles of fluctuation. And today it stands at an ebb,’ he said. Since 9/11, Pakistan has been critical in locating and defeating terrorist threats. The low point of our relations today can be seen in US Congress’ refusal to grant subsidy for F 16 planes. US bilateral assistance has decreased and CSF reimbursement is often put on hold. Both countries have not been able to broad base the relationship. ‘We may not allow our partnership to be lost in mutual lack of trust’. Moeed Yusuf explained that the fundamental problem in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has remained transactional at the core despite constant efforts by both sides to create a strategic partnership. The key issues that drive the relationship include Afghanistan, terrorism, nuclear weapons, among others. Pakistan and the U.S. do not see eye to eye on any of these and this leads to periodic tensions even as they continue to cooperate at the same time. While Afghanistan is no longer the U.S.’s number one foreign policy concern, it is still a vital interest and therefore the pressure on Pakistan to ‘do more’ against the Haqqani network is likely to continue.