ISLAMABAD: Even as Islamabad faces a fresh barrage of accusations and threats from Washington, speakers reiterated that Pakistan and the US were symbiotically tied to the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Thus, there was a need for developing an effective and meaningful engagement on the diplomatic front and further strengthened so that forces with destructive agenda are not afforded space to cause further unrest and instability in the region.
This was stated by speakers at a seminar on the implications of the new low in Pakistan-US Relations. The seminar had been organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.
Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Farhatullah Babar stressed the need for restructuring the civilian input at a greater level to deal with prevailing diplomatic crisis.
He pointed out that after a tweet from US President Donald Trump hinting at a policy shift in the US approach to Pakistan, Islamabad had tried to repair ties with Washington, taking action against some militant groups.
But with no policy guideline in place to respond to the situation in an organized manner, it led to the current deterioration in ties.
The PPP senator bluntly said that our house was surely not in order and we can observe a number of contradictions in the stance regarding the existence of sanctuaries of the militants and terrorist groups within our geographic boundaries.
While Pakistan has survived without American aid in the past, a response to the current diplomatic challenge was crucial for maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Ayaz Wazir, a senior diplomat, emphasized on the need for looking inwards whilst simultaneously reviving the diplomatic engagement with America.
To win the war in Afghanistan, Wazir reminded, America has to work with Pakistan. Islamabad, thus, has the opportunity to tailor its strategy according to its own national interest.
Offering a solution to the predicament, Wazir said that Islamabad and Washington could remain as allies while working towards a peaceful solution in Afghanistan.
Defense analyst General (retired) Amjad Shoaib reiterated that the peace and stability in Afghanistan were in the larger interest of Pakistan. The US, on the other hand, has no interest in peace, he stated.
Shoaib alleged that the process of peace negotiations in Afghanistan was continuously sabotaged by the US, adding that the killing of Mullah Akhter Masood was the last nail in the coffin of peace talks.
Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Romina Khursheed Alam said that Pakistan was being maligned unfairly since the Trump administration was turning a blind eye towards the state-sponsored terrorism by India in occupied Kashmir.
Gen (retired ) Assad Durrani suggested that Pakistan should respond to Trump’s tweet at different levels and should look towards new regional players to form new alliances.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2018.