US-Pakistan relationship

Asfand Bhutto
Islamabad

Since decades, Pakistan and the United States have enjoyed amicable relationship marked by convergence and divergence of national interests. During Cold War era, Pakistan was extensively provided with US economic and military assistance in order to contain the growing Soviet Communist expansion along the Soviet Southern border. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan remained a buffer for America in which the US collaboratively, covertly and logistically assisted Pakistan to fight the Soviet forces in order to curtail their influence in the region.
In the Post 9/11 scenario, once again the United States drastically needed Pakistan’s intelligence cooperation to get access to Afghanistan in order to exterminate terrorism enrooted in Afghanistan soil. This time Pakistan overtly upheld and provided air bases and logistic supply routes to the US to wage a global war on terror led by America. There are also multiple occasions in which Pakistan was in hot waters and needed required support from the US. But the US often left Pakistan high and dry such as during the 1965 war and in the 1971 war that led to the disintegration of the country. Later, the US imposed embargoes and sanctions on Pakistan. This same fate also repeated when Pakistan experienced the nuclear tests in 1998.
The incident of Raymond Davis, the clandestine attack in Abbottabad, the brutal Salala attack in 2011 resulted in further deterioration of friendly relations. These incidents also invited serious backlash of Pakistani nation which ultimately resulted in the closure of Shamsi Air-base, the blockade of NATO supply routes and the cessation of military cooperation. These initiatives were sufficient to make America realise to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and behave like a true ally to reduce trust gap. Despite frequent ups and downs in relationship, the relationship has survived because both the states have felt a compelling need for each other and realised to behave friendly to move towards sustainable development, peace and stability in the region.

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