Pakistan’s calculated response

CIVIL and military leadership, which gathered in Islamabad on Tuesday to mull over the situation arising out of provocative statements and posture of the United States, opted for restraint and decided against acting in haste, which is reflective of the desire to sort out things through discussion, dialogue and not through tweets and media diplomacy as is being done by Washington. By doing so and declaring that it would continue to play its role in the war against terror, Islamabad has also sent a loud and clear message that it cares about regional and global security and peace but its concerns must also be addressed.
Pakistan’s mature response is in sharp contrast to highly provocative tweet by the US President, who accused the country of deceit and harbouring terrorists. However, there are no indications that the United States would change its anti-Pakistan posture as immediately after the tweet, Trump Administration withheld $225 million support for the country with White House spokesperson claiming that more steps against Pakistan might be forthcoming in 24 or 48 hours. In addition US Ambassador to UN Nikki Harley, who has Indian background, accused Pakistan of playing double game. Despite repeated announcements by Pakistan that it would do no more and that instead it is turn for others to do more, the leadership has done well by not opting for any immediate measure that could increase tension in bilateral relations. As against this, the United States is gradually increasing pressure on the country by withholding military and economic aid, aggressive diplomatic posturing and might also resort to several other tactics that it has at its disposal to force Pakistan to toe its line. These are testing times and it is hoped we would not allow ourselves to be browbeaten or compromise our prestige and honour as we did on several occasions in the past. There is a price to pay for self-respect and we, as a nation, should be prepared to pay that price. Apart from terrorism, there are also many other issues, reasons and factors at work that have contributed towards the prevailing state of affairs including CPEC, Pakistan’s closeness with Beijing and Moscow, Indian role in Afghanistan, our nuclear programme and our vote against the US move to shift its embassy to occupied Jerusalem and hopefully there would be no further compromises on principles and national interests.

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