The Senate echoes national feelings

THE thought-provoking speeches of Senators on Wednesday during debate on new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia truly reflected feelings and aspirations of the entire nation that stands united to face the challenge thrown by the new policy. They not only condemned unanimously anti-Pakistan rhetoric in President Trump’s pronouncement but some of them also suggested that Islamabad should revisit terms of engagement with Washington.
It has rightly been pointed out that the US objective seems to be squeezing Pakistan both from the East and the West for which praises are being showered on India, New Delhi is being given undue role in Afghanistan and there are leaks in American media that India might invade Pakistan. In this backdrop, Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani deserves credit for making candid observations and talking plainly to the United States warning it of the serious consequences of ditching an ally in the war against terror. He advised government to cancel proposed visit of Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif to the United States in protest, though not a wise option as engagement is necessary to sort out difference, and also went a step further in forming a Committee that would frame policy guidelines on the US strategy. We hope that the Committee formed by the Upper House would come out with practicable and effective proposals to counter threat to the core interests of Pakistan in the new regional and global game. There are also fears that the real objective of the new game is to deprive Pakistan of its nuclear capability, which has been the dream of every American administration. There is every reason for Pakistan to review the rules of engagement with the United States and this should be done strictly in accordance with the guiding principles to be drawn by the Senate of Pakistan. Pakistan has always accepted all American demands without getting anything substantial. Washington says it spent billions of dollars on Pakistan but people of Pakistan are at a loss to understand where these dollars have gone. Apparently, most of the amount was not aid but reimbursement for operations against terrorism while the remaining amount has been doled out to NGOs and there are hardly any beneficial effects for people of Pakistan. Who is responsible for over $100billion damage to Pakistan’s economy due to war on terror? Therefore, Americans may keep the aid to themselves and Pakistan should extend cooperation that strictly falls within the definition of national interests.

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