Misleading myths and bitter realities

Published: May 3, 2012

The writer is a senior journalist and works for Dawn News

Pakistan’s relations with the US are in a royal mess. However, there is little realisation, and even less acknowledgment, of the troubled path that lies ahead. Instead, a bizarre exercise in sugar-coating bilateral bitterness continues unabated. In a recent speech, foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar mistook her rich imagination for facts. She said: “We are working with our American friends to establish an ecosystem in which we can both do for each other the things that we can mutually benefit from”.

This requires serious grammatical and diplomatic deciphering. More seriously, this is outlandish official optimism that is irrelevant to reality. The fact of the matter is that the recent meetings in Islamabad, with the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman and his team, were an unmitigated disaster. These were marked by exceptional stiffness in Washington’s stance and Islamabad’s inability to solicit even a vague assurance from the visitors that they were willing to take the high-flying terms and conditions set by parliament to re-engage with the US seriously.

Grossman minced no words. Various sources confirm that he was straight as a rod in saying no to “a simply-worded but clear apology”. The message was: “Whatever Washington has said so far is what there is going to be as far as an apology for the Salala incident is concerned”. Out-of-the-box efforts by Ambassador Sherry Rehman to somehow create a middle ground for the apology failed. These were too little, too late, and too detached from parliament’s stance. On the gridlock on Nato supplies, Grossman made it clear that Pakistan’s participation in the important upcoming Nato Summit was subject to the opening of the routes. The same precondition was attached to Islamabad getting some of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) reimbursements. There was also disagreement on the total amount that Washington is expected to pay to Pakistan. The over-$3 billion cash crop that the government was hoping to reap was reduced to half and that, too, if the traffic carrying sinews of war against Afghans began to flow from Pakistan into Afghanistan. On drone attacks, the US position remained rigid. As the attack in Miramshah indicated, this policy, too, would continue. Washington is in no mood to pay heed to the “collective will of the people’s representatives” in Pakistan or to lend a serious ear to the hollow chest thumping by the country’s foreign office over this relentless breach of national sovereignty. To cut a long story short, what the US is telling Islamabad is that ‘you may not like it but you got to lump it’.

Incredibly, this is exactly what Ms Khar, under the able guidance of the PM house and the presidency is inclined towards doing — lumping all that she and her bosses publicly spit at with exaggerated and fake contempt. The rulers in Islamabad are seriously thinking of reopening the Nato supplies even without getting any apology from Washington — something that was offered two months ago but was postponed on Islamabad’s request just to make parliament’s recommendations look more credible.

There is little or no preparation to deal with the awkward situation of drones pounding targets inside Pakistan and Nato supplies moving smoothly through a formal agreement at the same time. Desperate for the CSF money and caught in its own trap of publicly debating and posturing on sensitive issues of foreign policy, the current lot in Islamabad has no action plan to stabilise the wonky equation with the US. There is not even a stopgap arrangement, much less a properly conceived game plan.

Washington has sensed this lack of direction and has upped the ante. Moreover, whatever little attention the so-called principals of policymaking could pay to the urgent task of redefining relations with the US, is now being expended in saving the skin of a convicted PM, and through him, the president himself. There is little coordination and even less internal cohesion. The army high command had to consult its legal advisers to know whether the meeting chaired by Yousaf Raza Gilani after his conviction was legal for them to attend or not. The president’s meeting with the Grossman team was incoherent and directionless. President Asif Ali Zardari’s grasp of serious matters was on astounding display as he rattled off his “worked view” without consulting anyone. The last leg of the Grossman tour ended on a grossly tame note, and most notepads in this meeting with the president remained unused. Nobody could figure out what was being said.

Washington has mapped the internal weakness of the government very well. The US knows that beggars will be losers if they try to become choosers. It is piling up pressure and tightening the screws. This is the ecosystem that is developing between Pakistan and the US. Ms Khar will be well-advised to read the weather report correctly.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.

Reader Comments (60)

  • Hari
    May 3, 2012 - 11:32PM

    A very very objective analysis indeed!!! The author has succinctly captured the ground situation. Is the army and Islamabad listening?

    -Hari

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  • revo
    May 3, 2012 - 11:39PM

    well done TALAT BHAI

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  • Cautious
    May 3, 2012 - 11:43PM

    Excellent article — it’s nice to see that some Pakistanis can see what everyone outside of Pakistan considers obvious. Your leadership has gone out of it’s way to avoid making tough decisions — now they have only two choices — defy the recommendations of Parliament or watch the relationship/money/influence of their American allies evaporate.

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  • Javed
    May 3, 2012 - 11:58PM

    A good analysis but the author completely ignored the power and control of the military. Foreign policy is and has always been made by the military establishment. They are the ones who have been fanning anti-Americanism to gain advantages. When they got into a hot soup they conveniently dumped the foreign policy on the civil Govt.’s lap who in turn threw this hot potato towards the parliament. In reality it’s the military whose smart move back fired badly landing everyone in a bottom less pit.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    May 4, 2012 - 12:01AM

    Talat Bhai
    I have seen Beggars throw money on giver face too and i guess time has come to show that.

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  • May 4, 2012 - 12:05AM

    “Washington is in no mood to pay heed to the “collective will of the people’s representatives” in Pakistan or to lend a serious ear to the hollow chest thumping by the country’s foreign office over this relentless breach of national sovereignty…There is little or no preparation to deal with the awkward situation of drones pounding targets inside Pakistan -”

    Presumably Grossman is right on the edge of publicly stating what I’ve been writing all along: that under the UN Security Council’s post-9/11 Chapter VII Resolution 1373 Pakistan has the sovereign duty in international law to root out terrorists, terror havens, terror financing, and terror-training camps. Selective non-enforcement by Pakistan means no Pakistani national sovereignty at all with regards to such situations.

    Let’s try reversing matters. If you could magically waive a wand and suspend Pakistani support for terror groups starting in the 1960s, would you do so knowing that although Pakistan would give up opportunities to kill Indians and non-Muslims, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Muslims would be spared, and Pakistan enjoy a much higher standard of living since law and order would never have broken down and much of the populace would never have been murderously radicalized?

    I think Pakistan’s leaders can, if they choose, spare their country some pain if they try waiving that wand today.

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  • BlackJack
    May 4, 2012 - 12:20AM

    ….caught in its own trap of publicly debating and posturing on sensitive issues of foreign policy, the current lot in Islamabad has no action plan to stabilise the wonky equation with the US.
    I think this says it beautifully. Everyone knows why the US loved working with military ruled Pakistan during the cold war years – decision making was swift and not influenced by popular sentiment; the assumption was probably that the public opinion could be moulded to reflect whatever story the establishment was selling at that point of time, and appears to have been eminently successful. Now you have a govt which surrenders even foreign policy to the rabble-rousers – some within parliament and some without. Naturally this reduces their effectiveness in negotiating any face-saving deal with the Americans, resulting in the present sorry impasse. Another aspect is that opportunities to fan flames of latent anti-Americanism (like anti-India feeling) have consistently been leveraged to curry favor with the Pak masses, and no one wanted to let the Salala incident go by without some more of the same. However, given that Imran Khan owns the copyright on anti-NATO feeling, the govt should have given this opportunity a pass this time – it now has egg on its face and no money in its pocket.

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  • Super-Fool KaalCopterTanoli
    May 4, 2012 - 12:31AM

    Those conditions make the rumored boycotting of the summit pretty funny. They’re thinking of boycotting something they won’t be invited to in the first place.

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  • Mirza
    May 4, 2012 - 12:36AM

    Everything can be fine if our army starts doing its job and stops providing safe havens to the terrorists. With the death of OBL it is proved that the terrorists have to go one way or the other. If Pakistani army is not going to do it then somebody else would do it by some other means. Our sovereignty has been brutally dismembered when we have made Pakistani soil a global Jihadistan.

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  • sick of this nonsense
    May 4, 2012 - 12:39AM

    @Javed:
    excellently said. but unfortunately 90 percent of our population lack this basic knowledge of our foreign policy and world dynamics.

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  • Kaleem
    May 4, 2012 - 12:43AM

    The US knows that beggars will be losers if they try to become choosers.

    WOW!

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  • Mirza
    May 4, 2012 - 12:49AM

    A good Op Ed and thought provoking for most. Thanks for that.
    Whenever there has been a democratic govt (even PML-N) there has always been a campaign against it and the most common charges have been corruption. This has been happening so often and decade after decade that the world now believes that all Pakistanis and their govt are corrupt no matter who is the ruler?
    Now the concerted campaign is that the elected PM is a convict and has no moral authority and the whole coalition govt is corrupt and not legit despite winning the elections. With OBL caught hiding in an army base the generals already have lost their credibility, it is not surprising that the US is tightening the screws on this “self confessed” corrupt country. It is our own doing and we have asked the other countries to exploit our weaknesses.

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  • M Karim
    May 4, 2012 - 1:02AM

    I have always wondered about Hina Khar’s qualification. First as an inexperienced girl dealing with important EA ministry during a time of massive inward flux of US money and then to my shock and horror as foreign minister after seamlessly switching allegiance. I have not been able to find even half an answer other than she is a favourite of state department. I am not alleging she is an agent but the state department finds it easy to deal with her especially Clinton is very patronising towards her. I am sure she will go places with precious designer stuff all around her body. What good she does to Pakistan alongwith her sponsors in Pakistan is hardly a surprise. But then one wonders even a genius as Z.A.Bhutto could not deliver wonders as foreign minister-it has to be a team work. We all know what the political elite is worth but the military too none but itself to blame. The US apology should have been accepted 2 months ago to resume NATO suppy but military was trying to play a hard game. The Pakistani establishment needs to decide that it is beyond the competence of both Gilani and Zardari to deal with this even if they have any time left from their internal political wheeling dealing. The policy should be made by military and Sherry can be a good front implementing it diplomatically.

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  • Harry Stone
    May 4, 2012 - 1:07AM

    Watching this drama for the last few months, it is understandable why PAK has lost all its wars.

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  • 1984
    May 4, 2012 - 1:52AM

    Good analysis Talat

    Pakistan can be compared to a woman who decided to become the mistress of an evil man for his riches…Initially,he used to shower her with gifts,but lately,he is abusive and beats her often,threatening to starve her if she protests….

    The best solution is to stop getting money from him and earn on her own and divorce this relationship once….

    The day pakistan stops getting aid,US will start to think about apologizing for Salala incident and stop their drone attacks

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  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    May 4, 2012 - 2:07AM

    After playing Anti Communist, anti India and Jihadi cards, Pakistan does not seem to any more cards left. Having been member of American gang, Pakistan forgot one simple lesson. In underworld the disloyalty to the don (read USA in this case) is rewarded by nothing less than death. There is nothing which Pakistan can do to convince the don about her loyalty. There are not many countries which can help Pakistan to come out of this mess. Time for Pakistan to focus on her internal issues and leave the rest to others to sort out. Without having deep pockets, Pakistan can not influence anything either in Afghanistan or elsewhere. You need money even for Jihad. Only way out is that India, Pakistan and Afghanistan have good relations and help each other. Pakistan can not afford to have bad relations with all the neighbors and expect Chinese or Americans to help her.

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  • Arindom
    May 4, 2012 - 2:12AM

    Well put – something that is so obvious from here in India. What the US is saying is :
    Game’s over – catch those terrorists, or else, we’ll do that!

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  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    May 4, 2012 - 2:13AM

    @Ali Tanoli: I have seen Beggars throw money on giver face too and i guess time has come to show that.

    Correct. Sooner Pakistan does it, better it will be. Say no to all including Saudis as its Saudi money which has radicalized Pakistan more than anyone. We have Indians have said no to aid to all Europeans many years back. British thought they could win the fighter aircraft deal by giving aid. India proved them fools. No one is going to respect you till you have money in your pockets and bank accounts. Nuclear bombs could take you only this far.

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  • amber
    May 4, 2012 - 2:16AM

    ‘beggars will be losers if they try to become choosers” US assesed correctly.
    Ms Khar is definately well advised by the author to read the weather report correctly…. very well written article!!!

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  • Asim
    May 4, 2012 - 2:48AM

    What leadership is expected out of Ms Khar?
    she became minister at the age of 25 with degree in hotel management.

    Can any one tell me what is the relationship between finance ministry & foreign ministry and hotel management.

    what foreign policy with a collosal debt of 62b$?

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  • Asif
    May 4, 2012 - 3:08AM

    Ummm, the reality is is that the NATO supply lines will remain closed for good no matter who is angry or not since the people do not want it

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  • Tch tch
    May 4, 2012 - 3:54AM

    The American better listen to Munter, who seem to have a handle on things.Anti Americansim is reaching fever pitch. With no apology and no face saving the public mood may become ugly. Add to it the insult of Drone strikes and the site of NATO supplies snaking through Pakistan. The Military is already over stretched in Tribals areas, Swat, Dir, Karachi, Bolochistan,Gilgit Baltistan and the Eastern front.The Government wants no part of it, its understandable given Mush and the Generals go us into this mess. But it should have seen this as an opportunity to assert its authority and provide direction to the country. They chose petty politics unnecessary confrontation with institutions, predictable large scale corruption and now this latest drama of new provinces.The Leadership probably has little to contribute to foreign policy discussion. FM Khar has an unenviable job.
    The Americans have had enough and will leave Afghanistan, on their way out they may kick Pakistan in the teeth for good measure. A looming Current accounts crisis , Inflationary spiral and possible default is not improbable..
    Depressing stuff, unfortunately.

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  • ayesha_khan
    May 4, 2012 - 5:04AM

    @Mirza: “Everything can be fine if our army starts doing its job and stops providing safe havens to the terrorists.”

    I agree with your recommendation that army needs to dismantle terrorist safe havens. In the long term evrything WILL be fine but short term is another story. Look at what is happening in Lyari when government is trying to disarm People’s Amn Committee. 2000 police fighting for over 7 days have been unable to establish their writ. Now considered how big the task is going to be if Afghan Taliban, Haqqanis and TTP have to be disarmed. So the country needs to have stomach to face a significant backlash when the government tries to disarm these terrorists and shut down terror camps.Also just disarming terrorists today will not solve the problem. The tens of thousands of Wahabi madrassas who are preaching hate will have to be brought under control. This may get some backlash from Saudi Arabia. The textbooks preaching and spreading hate also need to be revised. It can be done. But undoing 60 years of terror infrastructure is not going to be easy or without significant short term pain. The extortion and kidnapping mafias fund these jihadi tanzims and these need to be controlled also.

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  • gp65
    May 4, 2012 - 5:15AM

    Is Hina Rabbani the only deluded one? What about Raza Rabbani who just yesterday published a statement stating that US must respect Pakistani red lines on drones http://tribune.com.pk/story/373286/drone-attacks-us-has-to-respect-pakistans-red-lines-says-raza-rabbani/ . This after Grossman and team had already told Pakistani leadership they were not going to stop drones or apologize. He too failed to specify what Pakistan would do if US did not respect Pakistani red lines.

    What about the army? The COAS keeps stating that decisions need to be taken. Well PCNS HAS taken a decision, it is just not one they like. They are under the impression that they can continue to take elected politicians for a ride. Tell people that the (army stands for qaumi waqar) and let the politicians take the heat for opening the supply routes. This too after the anti-Americanism flames were fanned by none other than the army. Having publicly stated that foreign policy would be owned by parliament in the immediate aftermath of May 2, how can they now take charge if parliament refuses to toe their line?

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  • Cheema
    May 4, 2012 - 5:17AM

    Nice. I fully agree. That proves that running foreign policy has nothing in common with running an eatery where robbers of this nation come to party. Very sad indeed.

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  • Bangash
    May 4, 2012 - 5:59AM

    I want a apology from Taliban for killing hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people and our security forces in Pakistan and mocking our “sovereignty”.
    I want an apology for the thousands killed by doctors’ negligence every year ( that they attribute to “God’s Will”) in Pakistan.
    I want an apology for the loot and plunder in Pakistan going on for decades.
    I want an apology for the incompetence of our unaccountable government that can not provide basic services to its people.
    I want an apology for daily mockery of civic sense and basic ethics in Pakistan.
    I want an apology for fueling false pride in the name of sovereignty.
    I want an apology for the superficial religiousity on the loose in my country that leaves no room for plurality and “bardasht”.
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  • vasan
    May 4, 2012 - 6:37AM

    Excellent. This is exactly calling a spade a spade. Is any one in pakistan willing to look at the reality espoused in this article. Worth listening to. After OBL’s dramatic killing, the US is no mood to listen. The salala incident, I guess, has many hidden caveats that Pak may not want to disclose. US’s stubborn stand on “no Apology” hints only this. Unfortunately the US may only be willing to talk Dollar terms, the rest of the conduct of war may not have any say from Pakistan.

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  • Super-Fool KaalCopterTanoli
    May 4, 2012 - 6:41AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Hilarious. It’s as if you don’t even live in your own country.

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  • zafar
    May 4, 2012 - 6:55AM

    How to engage with the US has ever been a drastic issue carrying plethora of questions of do’s and don’ts. This is crystal clear that the present regime has no capacity to deal with the situation as illustrated by the author and the US administration seems impeccably shrewd to take the advantage of the internal situation of the messy politics of the country and they will as always dictate their terms, rest assured!

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  • Super-Fool KaalCopterTanoli
    May 4, 2012 - 7:03AM

    @Tch tch:
    You
    Don’t
    Have
    An
    Option

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  • Saif M
    May 4, 2012 - 7:24AM

    “This requires serious grammatical and diplomatic deciphering.”

    I don’t know about diplomacy, but I don’t see anything wrong in the grammar in what Hina Khar said. And, by the way, this article is full of tired phrases — cliches.

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  • Mirza
    May 4, 2012 - 7:46AM

    @ayesha_khan:
    Amen! Agree 100%. It is not easy but there is no other or easy option.
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • hasan
    May 4, 2012 - 9:12AM

    An exceptional analysis and a beautiful piece of writing too!

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  • Hassan
    May 4, 2012 - 10:16AM

    what an amazing piece of writing Talat…Once again Hats off ..keep up the good work

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  • Singh
    May 4, 2012 - 10:26AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    did you read this news also–The Express Tribune

    ISLAMABAD:

    In an alarming development, the federal government has consumed 91 per cent of the total annual budget in just nine months, while its revenues could not match the reckless spending, resulting in a budget deficit of Rs1.38 trillion – the highest ever in the country’s history.

    Pakistani Rs. is not worth paper in world market.

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  • ayesha_khan
    May 4, 2012 - 11:12AM

    @1984: Interesting analogy even if it is somewhat politically incorrect!

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  • May 4, 2012 - 11:34AM

    excellent analysis!!! solution? defiance or submission?
    given the state of affairs and as a nation, what choices do we have?

    pakistan is heading towards a definition of C infected state…… Corruption, cronyism, catastrophic issues, crime, cacodemon leaders,…….. on and on!!! and we show our defiance to the world, including Muslim countries…. so, lets face it… its downhill till some saner people get at the helm.

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  • You Said It
    May 4, 2012 - 12:04PM

    With the Northern Distribution Network in place, and with continued violence against US troops in Afghanistan by Pakistani military supported jihadi groups, the US is finding that we are not worth our price. The US has been very tolerant and patient with us through the course of 11 year war, as well as the decades of our misconduct — from support to terror groups to nuclear theft and proliferation.

    Pakistan however has pushed this too far by thinking that we can extract billions from the US and use our proxy groups to attack and kill US soldiers. We must now dance to US tunes to earn our wages. The author is exactly right about the US message to Pakistan — ‘you may not like it but you got to lump it’.

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  • You Said It
    May 4, 2012 - 12:16PM

    I think it is the Pakistan Army that needs to apologize to the nation for creating this mess and for being monumentally incompetent in the conduct of foreign policy that they have controlled from our inception. It is the Pakistan Army that owes an apology to Afghanistan for decades of trying to destabilize them. It is the Army that owed an apology to the world for our support of terrorist and mass-murdering groups. Once the Army apologizes, the situation can return to normal.

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  • A J Khan
    May 4, 2012 - 12:20PM

    This analysis would have been correct in years 2007/8, but not now. We have to off load this dead weight.
    DOMORE has already been replaced by WHAT MORE?

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  • wonderer
    May 4, 2012 - 12:22PM

    @ayesha_khan:

    Well said; couldn’t agree with you more.

    Please do not forget to also include Difa-e-Pakistan Council in your calculations.

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  • Asad Hasan
    May 4, 2012 - 12:27PM

    What to expect with the following august list of hon. ministers, and ambassadors

    Ch. Pervez Ellahi, Senior Minister, Defence Production /Industries
    Makhdoom Amin Fahim Commerce
    Dr. Arbab Alamgir Khan, Communications
    Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Foreign Affairs
    Mr. A. Rehman Malik, Interior
    Ms. Sherry Rehman, Ambassador to US
    Senator Farooq H. Naek Law Minister
    Dr. Asim Hussain, Minister Petroleum and Natural Resources
    Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Minister Railways

    Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister National Regulations and Services

    AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON…………

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  • Polpot
    May 4, 2012 - 12:59PM

    ” The over-$3 billion cash crop that the government was hoping to reap was reduced to half ”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Uhhhhm.!
    According to the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asiapacific/us-drone-strikes-resume-in-pakistan-action-may-complicate-vital-negotiations/2012/04/29/gIQAIprqpTstory.html)

    is merely 1.1 Bn USD.

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  • ramanan
    May 4, 2012 - 1:01PM

    @Talat,

    Hats off to you. Not for the subject matter you have elucidated, but for the sheer style, conciseness and execution. I have seldom read a newpaper piece that is worth preservering like this one is.

    It also makes me wonder when Pakistan has such intellectuals like you, how it went so horribly wrong. My own answer is “hate” born out of ego, the fundamental kink in the human character that all Hindu religious texts warn against.

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  • Polpot
    May 4, 2012 - 1:18PM

    ” Gen Kayani said: “Pakistan is yet to receive $1.5 billion from the US.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/336135/balls-in-your-court-reopening-nato-supplies-is-parliaments-prerogative/

    Yet the author here claims USD 3 Bn. Recommend

  • Hunter Punter
    May 4, 2012 - 3:57PM

    in a world of the powerful, the puny get crushed.pakistan has always had the delusion that it was an important powerful country. the US has always humored pakistan, and yet told it to box in its own weight category.
    Now the US is saying enough is enough. World is isolating pakistan because of the horror of seeing pakistans foreign policy is based on terrorism thru non state actors. World is shocked.
    Unless pakistan turn a new leaf, it will never gain world trust, and remain isolated as north korea and Iran.
    Who is responsible for making Pakistan a failed state?

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  • Ahmed
    May 4, 2012 - 4:31PM

    It is interestin that person like Talat Hussian talk about morality. What a joke.

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  • May 4, 2012 - 5:08PM

    Mr Hussain have you considered the possibility that at this time of severe economic crisis US and NATO would rather end this conflict and they are looking for excuses.. The closing of NATO supply line is the perfect excuse that will save the US and NATO face. Talat I wonder f you have realized that the war in Afghanistan is now very much tied with monetary situation in US, UK and EU. All of these countries are facing a recession that is worse than the thirties. Hilary Clinton’s visit and the saga of the blind Chinese dissident manifested the desperate state of the US and its economy. The fate of this war is sealed but of course the mighty will not stop making bellicose noises.. Marc Grossman did just that. However we must not overlook the fact that this present PPP Government is the most rudderless and most corrupt government ever. They came in power in order to assist US war effort and other than that they have absolutely no plans and no inclinations apart from lotting an pilfering. It almost looks as if the present set of rulers are deliberately pushing this country towards a FAILED STATE status!!! I do hope that we can put this war and our relationship with US to rest and move on. Politicians and the Nation too MUST understand and pull themselves together. Sadly there is a strong presence of a very corrupt, slavish, colonial minded Feudal faction that is hindering Pakistan’s progress and has subjected it to endless humiliations. Also this faction has been used by the US to further its objectives in this region. Pakistan must part ways with the ideology of surviving by being a lackey for the US. There are no free dinners and the solution lies with this nation. The media has the responsibility to put the facts to the nation regardless of whether their visit visa or Green card will be annulled. Reality check and responsibility what needs to be cultivated. God bless Pakistan and people like you who have the vision and the courage to speak the truth.

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  • G. Din
    May 4, 2012 - 5:33PM

    A very refreshing, candid and succinct analysis! ET would be wise to nurture such authors from its own soil Pakistan still has some hope if only Pakistanis would listen to their home-grown wisdom.
    Thanks for a rare, beautiful piece!Recommend

  • Jat
    May 4, 2012 - 6:04PM

    What is the common thread running through all Pakistan’s rulers and generals past and present ? They have all been too clever by half and they all thought that the rest of the world is stupid.

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  • mohammed ali jawaid
    May 4, 2012 - 6:46PM

    the problems identified are known to people who need to know, but Mr. Talat where is the solution? policy making is not that simple, even harder for a lackey. for years our policy makers looked towards west especially the USA and felt honored at even a hand shake. we did things beyond the call of duty for dime. when we sold ourselves so cheap, why cry now, the other party knowing our weaknesses too well, that are many, that we would get sold even cheaper!? Solution, in my opinion, is in showing statesmanship, weighing well the situation at both ends, what we can max do as against what max they can offer. acknowledging our greed to grab dollars but whatever mess we are in today, US too is partly responsible of. they know us well but we know them very little. once we are ready to know them well, we’ll be in a better position to negotiate although negotiations between the lion and the lamb is unthinkable yet we can get a better deal, a survival at least which is at stake right now! and don’t repeat sacrifice mantra too much since what you did or still doing you were / are paid for so, talk sensibly and try not sell your self dam cheap. with the beeline at Islamabad from the US officials flying in one after the other should be capitalized not misconstrued. the hot potato e.g, foreign policy, as one commentator puts it, is finally thrown into the hands of the parliament, whose members have no clue what to do with it, yet it can make a history by completing this challenging task with the help of experts in the field. i’m sure results will be positive.

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  • politicaly incorrect
    May 4, 2012 - 10:33PM

    @Author

    Excellent analysis.Plain speaking at it’s best.

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  • Logic Europe
    May 4, 2012 - 11:24PM

    you must support your government which you don’t and try your best to discredit and dislodge
    you hold it to standerds of western democracies which is not possible in a corupt society
    How can any other country pay much attention to what you say

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  • Polpot
    May 4, 2012 - 11:31PM

    Coalition Support Fund:What Coalition?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Definition: A coalition is a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause.

    Can anyone define the common cause between US & PAK?

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  • Ahmad
    May 5, 2012 - 4:05AM

    Though a good piece of writing,however, writer should realise that language of diplomacy is different than the one of media. There is no ‘NO’ in diplomacy; it works on optimism and pragmatism.
    Unfortunately, We are in middle of nowhere-celebrating our so called glorious past,crying foul, looking busy and doing nothing. We should know that REAL POLITIK is different than the one perceived in BARRACKS. We suffer from natal weaknesses and PPP government does not have magic wand.

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  • Shahzad
    May 5, 2012 - 7:06AM

    @sick of this nonsense:
    They may not be educated but there is wisdom which would be obviously refined with more education. Please see the punjabi poet titled AMEERICA DAY KAMMI on you tube.

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  • observer
    May 5, 2012 - 9:42AM

    To cut a long story short, what the US is telling Islamabad is that ‘you may not like it but you got to lump it’.

    Are you sure the address on the envelop says Islamabad. To me it looks like RAWALPINDI.

    The army high command had to consult its legal advisers to know whether the meeting chaired by Yousaf Raza Gilani after his conviction was legal for them to attend or not.

    I would love to see the Legal Opinion the high command obtained before each coup.

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  • Hunter Punter
    May 5, 2012 - 9:59AM

    Till every pakistani does not feel ashamed at his country supporting and sponsoring jihadi terrorists, Pakistan can never get out of this quagmire. Does any man feel happy to be part of a family which is criminal, muderers and thieves?
    Pakistanis must unequivocally force the country to delink from being called cheats/double crossers/ terrorists. Only then will it even start on a path of reform. Not doing so, will have horrible consequences for the country in future, where criminals and the gun will rule and the country will slip into ananrchy and chaos.

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  • Abbas ZA
    May 5, 2012 - 7:49PM

    This is a perfect case of bowing to pressure. But why would the world to listen to you when you harbor evil men like Osama and Dawoods and Hafiz Saaeds. When it comes to pure force, even islam cannot save pakistan from it deeds and US is its master-whether Pakistan likes to or not.

    Look at the hypocrisy in the society that uses religion for anything and everything:
    Just yesterday 29 people -all respected villagers trying to forge peace in a village in Pakistan were killed by suicide bomber!!!! -Response form Pakistan’s society-almost zero!!!
    Also just yesterday, a drone attack killed 10 MILITANTS.-response from Pakistan society-outright anger for killing militants.!!!-reason-a foreign force has killed “muslims”-does not matter if they are terrorists-they are muslims.
    Now world is seeing where the priorities of a nation blinded by religion lie!!!! Why worry about future.
    Pakistans problems lie in its priorities it places on a religion. A religion cannot even help you live-how can it help you run a nation?

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  • May 6, 2012 - 10:02AM

    Surprisingly Plain, objective, non-elusive, conclusive article. Congrats Hussain. I have come across such outspoken article after more than 3 years from a Pakistani writer. If the breed of the likes of Hussain grows there may been some weak hope for Pakistan.

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