Islamabad unwilling to jeopardise ties with US  

Published: May 30, 2016
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Pakistan has publicly accused the US of sabotaging the fledgling Afghan peace process by eliminating the Taliban chief. PHOTO: REUTERS

Pakistan has publicly accused the US of sabotaging the fledgling Afghan peace process by eliminating the Taliban chief. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Despite public condemnation and anger expressed by Islamabad over the US drone strike that killed Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor last week, the government is unlikely to take any drastic steps that may negatively affect its bilateral relationship with Washington, officials said on Sunday.

The Taliban chief was targeted by a US drone aircraft in Naushki area of Balochistan on May 21. The strike is seen as a serious setback to Pakistan-US bilateral ties.

The drop scene of US-Pakistan relations

Following the strike, the Foreign Office summoned US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale and lodged a strong protest while the army chief General Raheel Sharif also conveyed to him that ‘such violations’ could undermine bilateral ties between the two countries.

Pakistan has accused the US of not honouring the commitment it had made along with Afghanistan and China at the last Quadrilateral Coordination Group meeting that option of peace talks would be pursued first before targeting the Taliban leadership.

While the civil and military leaderships have already recorded their protests with the US administration over violating Pakistan’s sovereignty, they are also contemplating possible measures in response to the US ‘unilateral action’ and are preparing a detailed response to decide the future course of action. The future strategy with regard to bilateral ties between the US and Pakistan will be discussed during a meeting of the high-powered National Security Council (NSC).

Though NSC meeting was expected to take place later this week it has been delayed due to unavailability of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is set to undergo open heart surgery in London. The main issue before the country’s civil and military leadership is how to respond to the situation arising out of the killing of Mullah Mansoor.

Foreign policy challenges confronting Pakistan

During interactions, concerned officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that the incident certainly caused a ‘hiccup’ in bilateral ties with the US and Afghan peace efforts.

But they hastened to add that Pakistan would not resort to any steps that will have any negative fallout on its relations with the US and regional stability.

No change in Afghan policy

Pakistan has publicly accused the US of sabotaging the fledgling Afghan peace process by eliminating the Taliban chief. Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Thursday pointed out that this was the second time in a year that Afghan peace process was scuttled.

He said under the present circumstances it was difficult to suggest if the Taliban would return to the negotiating table anytime soon. US President Barrack Obama was also not upbeat about the possibility of any peace deal in the aftermath of Mullah Mansoor’s killing. Despite the pessimism, officials said Pakistan would continue to exert its ‘influence’ to reach out to the new Taliban leadership and urge them to come to the negotiating table.

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Tough policy on Afghan refugees

While the government may continue to seek engagement with the US and Afghanistan, it will now show no flexibility on the issue of Afghan refugees. The response, which Pakistan is preparing, will urge all the stakeholders including the US to take immediate steps regarding the repatriation of Afghan refugees. “These refugee camps serve as sanctuaries for the Afghan Taliban,” claimed one official.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2016.

 

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Reader Comments (16)

  • May 30, 2016 - 9:06AM

    Most interesting is the read “Following the strike, the Foreign Office ,,,,,,,, lodged a strong protest while the army chief General Raheel Sharif also conveyed to him that ‘such violations’ could undermine bilateral ties between the two countries.” I wonder capacity In what context Gen Raheel Sharif also conveyed his displeasure????Recommend

  • Blackwater
    May 30, 2016 - 9:44AM

    This news is just a waste of space as everybody knows that even when there was a ‘boot on the ground’ operation by the U.S. for eliminating Osama Bin Laden from Abottabad, Pak was quite ok with that as well! And, to fool the people it raises the small issue of ‘violation of soverignity’.Recommend

  • whatever
    May 30, 2016 - 10:08AM

    Pakistan can’t survive without American Aid period.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    May 30, 2016 - 10:42AM

    @whatever:
    To put a more finer point on that, certain individuals cannot survive without American aid. The US knows that and leverages these flunkies on its payroll. Do you think Nawaz Sharif and the rest of these politicians would be wearing a western suit and tie if they had the dignity and self-respect to stand up to the US ?Recommend

  • Mahakaalchakra
    May 30, 2016 - 10:49AM

    This is finest example of transactional nature of mutual relationship between USA and Pakistansince day one! USA always acted as Master, not Friend towards Pakistan, even General Ayyoob admitted before writing Friends not Master. $80.00 plus billion dollars are huuuuuuge sum of direct aid/grant to Pakistan by its master USA since 1949 for this services. Next only to perhaps one country.Recommend

  • shafi
    May 30, 2016 - 11:36AM

    USA MUST transfer her national assets including World bank and IMF to Islamabad to protect pak security and to reimburse pak shattered economy from war on terror, i just heared day before yesterday it just happened but IMF and World bank collapsed like Mehran bank and its CEOs arrested,which falsely blamed Honorable Zardari for this corruption scandel.. Zaradari will be acquitted soon and all anti democratic forces will be defeated., PPP Spokesman declared.Recommend

  • Romm
    May 30, 2016 - 11:40AM

    @VINOD:
    Your Comment speaks Indian Frustration! Recommend

  • nadeem
    May 30, 2016 - 12:55PM

    @Haji Atiya:
    How smoothly you ignored the real beneficiaries of American largesse: our generals, both present and those over the last 55 years, who are really responsible for putting Pakistan in permanent dependence of the U.S. The lone politician who ever tried to wean Pakistan off this dependence was quickly disposed off by the US-Pak Army alliance. Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    May 30, 2016 - 1:18PM

    But they hastened to add that Pakistan would not resort to any steps that will have any negative fallout on its relations with the US and regional stability.

    The question is not about the countrys relations with the USA, but the self respect without which it has no funtion in todays globalised world.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    May 30, 2016 - 1:55PM

    DT will do a world of good to Pak. Pak and other M countries will slowly learn to be on their own two feet instead of rushing to Uncle Sam like a school boy rushes to his principal. Recommend

  • Davis
    May 30, 2016 - 2:06PM

    Both US & Taliban are equally critical for Pakistan’s existence! Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    May 30, 2016 - 3:09PM

    @Davis:
    Both US & Taliban are equally critical for Pakistan’s existence!

    There is no other country in the world but the US which is fast loosing its power both in the economic and military as well as political arena. Pakistan must change its course and stop playing chess game by acting and no longer reacting, a think tank is required in the country made up of the wise men in economic,political and strategic fields. An elite university for those who aspire for a political carrier more or less similar to the one in Paris, France..

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • May 30, 2016 - 4:31PM

    Pakistan should raise this issue in the UN against USA and demand compensation.Recommend

  • YUgal
    May 30, 2016 - 5:50PM

    Do one thing create another terrorists to fight with terrorism and continuously do that. One day everybody becomes terrorists and nobody who will face problems. and Problem solved. Recommend

  • May 30, 2016 - 7:55PM

    @Blackwater: In Pakistan the generals have been more of politician than soldier and these remarks are just playing to the gallery for public consumption. Recommend

  • jobless
    May 31, 2016 - 12:56AM

    @whatever:
    pakistan’s political leaders can’t. Recommend

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