Trump presidency: Pakistan, US need to work harder to stabilise ties

Policy experts believe a new man in White House could spring surprise


News Desk December 15, 2016
Sherry Rehman. PHOTO: FILE

Pakistan and the United States would need to work twice as hard to stabilise ties between the two countries, especially in the wake of the business tycoon Donald Trump winning last month’s presidential elect ions in America.

This was stated by policy experts gathered at a roundtable at the Jinnah Institute in collaboration with the Stimson Center on Wednesday to discuss the changing US foreign policy towards South Asia.

Sherry Rehman, president of the Jinnah Institute and a former Pakistan ambassador to US, said that while common interests usually defined relations between governments, there was a growing disconnect in Islamabad, incited in part by a mismatch of expectations.

However, the primary concern for Pakistan was that the US continues to treat its partner as a window for America’s safe exit from Afghanistan.

“Washington needs to understand that overburdening Islamabad with expectations of stabilising Afghanistan only spoke to the muddle-through of America’s own strategy in the region,” she said.

Worryingly, Stimson Centre’s Senior Associate Michael Kreppon and Deputy Director of Stimson’s South Asia Programme Dr Sameer Lalwani said that the possibility of things getting worse could not be ruled out. However, they were of the view that a Trump presidency also had the capacity to throw up a surprise.

Regardless of which way Washington leans, it was important for both sides to work together to overcome differences.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2016.

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