Muhammad Zahid Rifat
Relations between Washington and Islamabad have never been so friendly and cordial as these should supposedly be normally between two old allies. The recent outburst of new US President Donald Trump out of the blue moon has as such not come as a surprise or shock to the people throughout Pakistan. Despite being an old ally, they keep hearing such outbursts of do this and do that from time to time to time from Washington, irrespective who is the occupant of the White House.
While unveiling US South Asia Policy with focus apparently on Afghanistan but not sparing Pakistan also, Trump has in an uncalled for manner charged Pakistan with harbouring terrorists safe havens expressing apprehension they can have access to Islamabad’s nuclear assets and use them against US and that Pakistan received billions of dollars in aid from his country but doing nothing in the war on terror.
The US President while going after Pakistan over terrorists safe havens sought assistance from India to participate in US efforts in stabilizing Afghanistan. He reminded India that it makes billions of dollars in trade with US but in doing so, the so-called world’s largest human rights champion country’s President made no mention of gross human rights which India continues committing in occupied Kashmir for decades together killing innocent men, women and children demanding their birth right of self-determination and crushing of unarmed Kashmiris struggle through its large occupying security forces.
Reactions to US President’s wild accusations of Pakistan from India and Afghanistan were also expected as trio of Washington, New Delhi and Kabul nexus continues to be hostile towards Pakistan and never let go any opportunity waste to weaken it one way or the other.
New Delhi welcomed the US President’s determination to enhance efforts to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan and confront issues of safe havens and other forms of cross-border support enjoyed by terrorists in Pakistan adding India shares these concerns and objectives.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also came out with a statement welcoming US President’s strategy on Afghanistan and expressed gratitude to the American people for the affirmation of the support for efforts to achieve self-reliance and for our joint struggle to rid the region from the threat of terrorism. The Afghan President was obviously also happy as the US President had not hurled any accusations on Kabul for its failure to eliminate terrorists from its soil.
The US President had criticized Pakistan without acknowledging efforts being made and sacrifices offered by Pakistan in the war on terror and quite obviously partners of Washington in the nexus i.e. India and Afghanistan availed the opportunity to supported the US policy directly and indirectly criticizing Pakistan in the process.
Immediately after the US President had unveiled his South Asia policy , top civil, military and political leadership of Pakistan in all fairness did well by not only outrightly rejecting US President Donald Trump’s statement but also quite forcefully telling Washing in plain words that safe havens of terrorists are not in Pakistan but are in Afghanistan and better these are destroyed there. Islamabad has also told Washington quite emphatically that it wants trust not aid, Afghanistan’s war cannot be fought on our soil and if US-led NATO forces have not been able to achieve the objectives of their invading Afghanistan even in 16 years then why blame Pakistan for their failure.
US President’s claim of doling billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan for fighting terrorists has also been very firmly and strongly clarified and denied terming the aid being nothing more than peanuts and thus rightly falsifying Washington’s baseless and unfounded claims in this regard.
Spate of statements condemning the US President’s uncalled for criticism, protests meetings and processions are continuing throughout the country and bosses in Islamabad are taking steps for intensifying diplomatic efforts to foil all attempts to isolate Pakistan on false pretexts instead of acknowledging great efforts being made to eliminate militancy, terrorism and extremism in all manifestations and offering extra-ordinary sacrifices in the process to ensure safe and secure Pakistan.
Quite obviously, these developments also necessitate review of our foreign policy on priority basis. No doubt, foreign policy of any country remains under constant review and essentially required changes are made now and then keeping in view regional as well as international developments. In reviewing the foreign policy, the policy makers will do well in minimizing too much reliance on all forms of assistance from US which is always coming with threats, sanctions and conditions attached. A liberal, independent balanced foreign policy of friendly cordial relations with all super powers is the dire need of the hour.
It is pertinent to mention here that US policies more or less remain the same irrespective of incoming and outgoing of the presidents and which party is in power in the White House. Washington always pursues long drawn policies focused mainly and solely on America’s interests and US relations with other countries are also based on furtherance of the American interests , no matter which country Washington regards as strategic partner or an old ally. the American interests, as also can be seen from the latest outburst of the incumbent President , always remain supreme and uppermost in the minds of all concerned and it is a matter of record the new President in his inaugural address earlier this year had also very emphatically stated “America First” and for that US can go to any extent as long as its interests are being served.
Pakistan has been and continues to be an old ally of USA since the visit to Washington of first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan instead of going to Moscow and continues to suffer most because of that instead of getting some benefits . On the other hand, US new leadership persistently describes India its strategic partner at all international forums and New Delhi contuse to get all the benefits it wants out of its relations with Washington. One can cite numerous instances in this regard but suffice to mention lingering Kashmir dispute which the United Nations has not been able to resolve even in seven decades because US do not want that to happen because New Delhi will suffer and Pakistan will gain both directly and indirectly.
It is a matter of bitter record that New Delhi, Kabul as well as Dhaka rulers intensify their hostilities and leveling of accusations against Pakistan whenever they happen to meet the US President whether it was Barrack Obama or it is now Donald Trump. Washington patronizes and encourages their hostilities towards Islamabad. It is Washington, New Delhi, Kabul and Dhaka nexus which is all ganged up against Pakistan, which is the only Islamic nuclear power, for their ulterior motives. Ever since, launching of great game changer China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), their direct and indirect hostilities against Islamabad have gained momentum and this can be verified quite easily.
Hostilities of India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh against Pakistan, at the instance of US, are a long story but in short, New Delhi has never recognized creation of Pakistan as a result of partition of the sub-continient into two separate independent countries, Kabul has also never been friendly towards Islamabad contrary to all its tall claims otherwise and Dhaka by toeing the line of New Delhi rulers is only trying to pay back its debt to India which had played major role in dismemberment of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh through its armed intervention in the garb of Mukti Bahini and USA whose Sixth Fleet never turned up when Pakistan was in troubled waters has its own agenda and in reality is heavily tilted towards India.
As such, nexus of India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh as well as US have been working covertly against Pakistan for years together and all of them not letting any opportunity go by to weaken and destabilize our beloved motherland Pakistan which continues to exist and is destined to always remain on the world map forever with the continued blessings of Almighty Allah , Inhallah.
Pakistan has always been pursuing policy of peaceful co-existence with all countries particularly its neighbours. But its maintaining cordial relations and living in harmony and peace with all particularly the neibouring countries , as oft-stated and reiterated by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his successor Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and all top concerned officials of the Federal Government every now and then somehow are not reciprocated by New Delhi, Kabul and Dhaka in desirable positive response and friendly ties.
In all fairness, it is high time that we start differentiating between our friends and enemies, revise and review our foreign policy keeping the bitter but true ground realities topped by supreme national interests on which there can be and should not be any compromise whatsoever. An independent foreign policy will surely and certainly help us in standing on our own feet more firmly and moving forwards and onwards with the countries which are really friendly or for that matter have at least cordial relations and are not hostile towards Islamabad in any manner.
Cutting long story short, if other countries can do all they want to further their interests then why cannot Pakistan can do that?
Writer is Lahore-based freelance journalist ,columnist and a retired Deputy Controller (News) Radio Pakistan, Islamabad and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org