Pakistan wants good relations with the US, but with dignity | By Col Muhammad Hanif (R)

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Pakistan wants good relations with the US, but with dignity

PAKISTAN wants good relations with the US based on mutual respect and dignity. In this context, the Pakistani people felt dishonoured and disturbed, when they heard media news that a senior US diplomat had conveyed to the Pakistan Ambassador, the likely consequences for Pakistan, of the success or failure of the then expected no confidence motion against the then PM Imran Khan, probably to indicate the US displeasure over Pakistan PM’s visit to Russia and Pakistan’s neutral position over the Ukraine crisis.

The Pakistani nation has felt that such diplomatic expressions amount to interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs, as the demarche, handed over by the Pakistan’s Foreign Office, to the US Ambassador also indicated.

On the other hand, when India, as USA’s major defence partner, adopted a similar policy regarding Russia by remaining neutral on the Ukraine crises, the US tolerated the Indian policy as its foreign and defence secretaries, while visiting India recently announced that the US and India agreed to disagree on Ukraine crises and they will advance their relations in the Indo-Pacific region.

Already, since long, the Pakistani people have a strong perception that Pakistan has always been treated harshly and ditched by the US as its close ally. This is evident if we look at the history of both countries’ relations as friends.

For example, first, during the 1965 war with India, the US stopped the supply of military spare parts to Pakistan, despite that it was its cold war ally and India, though apparently non aligned, but was actually pro (former) Soviet Union.

Secondly, Pakistan lost its (former) East Pakistan, as a result of the blatant Indian military aggression in 1971 in creating and supporting East Pakistani separatists for creating Bangladesh, when the former USSR, having a defence pact with India, openly supported that country, and the US ditched its cold war ally Pakistan, by not providing the required military support.

Thirdly, while Pakistan supported the US in its sponsored guerrilla war against the former Soviet Union’s military intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s, after Soviet Army’s withdrawal, the US suddenly left Afghanistan without giving the required economic assistance to Pakistan to settle the Mujahideen, and also to feed five million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, thus bringing it under long-term economic strain and internal security challenges.

And, while fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan as the US ally for 20 years, whereas the US/NATO forces suffered about 2500 casualties, Pakistan sacrificed more than 80, 000 people, and suffered about 120 dollars economic losses, which were much more than USA’s economic/military assistance provided to Pakistan.

In the closing years of war, the US not only openly criticized Pakistan’s role in that war, it also stopped its economic and military assistance.

Also, the US did not stop India from sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan by using the Afghan soil.

Also, while the US signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008 and indirectly recognized it as a nuclear power, it refused to treat its non NATO ally, Pakistan in the same way.

Later, while the US made India as its strategic/close defence partner as part of its Indo-Pacific strategy, it totally ignored Pakistan just because Pakistan had signed the CPEC agreement with China in 2014, and India was opposing it.

Also, whereas the US never criticizes India for its HR violations/atrocities in the India-occupied Kashmir, it also did not condemn India’s actions on 5 August 2019, when it divided the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories in an utter violation of the UNSC resolutions.

Hence, all along it appeared that the US preferred India over Pakistan, thus hurting Pakistani peoples’ sentiments.

In comparison to Pakistan, what India has given to the US in return as its major defence partner?

India has refused to support the US in the UN/UNSC’s resolutions against Russia, it has not supported the US/NATO’s sanctions against Russia, it has purchased S-400 anti missile system and is purchasing Russia’s cheaper oil.

Still, the US has accepted India’s policy on Russia. Conversely, the US has pressured Pakistan to take sides against Russia.

Whereas it is a stated policy of Pakistan that it will not become a part of any camp at the world stage, and it will support all peace efforts in the world.

And, it will focus on its economic development, and that it wants good relations with all the major powers, including the US.

In the context of the US grossly preferring India over Pakistan, it should realize that as India has disappointed the US in the case of Russia, it would also not support it in containing China.

The US also needs to realize that India has gotten closer to it, only to become a major world power and the UNSC’s permanent member.

And, after that, India is more likely to become non-aligned or part of the aspired Asian strategic triangle.

Therefore, keeping in view India’s dubious behaviour, as USA’s close defence partner, the US should seriously think that then why should it treat Pakistan harshly and not develop good relations with it being a responsible military/nuclear power equal to India, with an economic potential of promoting the USA’s CPEC related investments/trade and facilitating its relations with Afghanistan, Central Asia, China and the Muslim world.

As was also stated by the participants of the recently-held security dialogue at Islamabad, the US should realize that the Pakistani people and its all decision makers, including its former PM Imran Khan, desire to have good relations with it, but for that, it needs to take the initiative to treat Pakistan with dignity, respect its neutral foreign policy based on geo-economics rather than geopolitics, and invest in the CPEC related, and other economic projects rather than supporting India’s opposite position on the CPEC.

And that US should advance its relations with Pakistan independent of its relations with India.

—The writer is also a former Research Fellow of IPRI and Senior Research Fellow of SVI Islamabad.

 

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