Hassam Hameed-TDO-16.01.2018- United States President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of deceit and lies over its war on terror though it has been a recipient of billions of dollars in form of aid and military equipment. US administration is to cut the aid partly. To which Pakistan has responded by stating that it is not dependant to US aid anymore and the loss it has incurred due to ‘US war on terror’ far exceeds the aid it received in past decade and a half.
In Washington there’s an understanding that a policy overlap with Pakistan is impossible and that blinded trust in past is the reason why current administration is frustrated and wants to convey message that past behaviors would not acceptable anymore. US is a major creditor of International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development bank and the UN, so it can use its clout over these organisations to call on their debts. This is an indirect weapon US has. Also current darling of US ‘India’ has increased tension over its border with Pakistan, “We will call the (nuclear) bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff,” says Indian chief of army, all this comes as US will cut its aid to Pakistan.
Pakistan has made certain progress in developing its democratic institutions as well as its fight against terrorism. Only country to be actually winning war against islamist militants. Political parties are well developed and fight each other without violence on level play-field, also transfer of power has seen no violence. Most important institution for democracy to prevail is Judiciary, and which as an institution has played a robust role in Pakistan recently as it was able to oust the most powerful political leader Nawaz Sharif from his position as Prime Minister of Pakistan over charges of corruption. Hence it is vital for Pakistan to prosper, as it would set a positive precedent over war on terror. Pakistan failing as a state would be detrimental for the region, as the overspill would be massive and repercussions would be strongly felt in east China, central Asia, India and the Gulf.
Somehow Pakistan is unwilling to bow to US bully, as it has backing of an all-weather friend, which is China. China and Russia are thought to fill in the financial gap that would be there due to cut of aid. There’s also a thought circling in certain quarters that alienation from US might be good for economy in medium term, as Taliban’s reason to fight Pakistan might perish as it is not an ally anymore of US. Hence less terrorism would bring in investment, tourism etc which left the country after Pakistan joined the bandwagon of US to fight Taliban on US terms. Winning against Taliban is still not in sight, even though this war has prolonged more than 15 years and at one there were around 100000 american soldiers in Afghanistan, and half of Afghanistan is still under Taliban control.
US and Afghan government demand Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network of Taliban which they believe to be destabilizing Afghanistan. Pakistan demands US and Afghan government to act against Afghan Taliban, which Pakistan believe to be destabilizing Pakistan and is being used as proxy by India. Efforts to appease distrust has failed every time.