Pakistan’s relationship with the United States (US) is of a very transactional nature.
The US has very specific goals in mind regarding South Asia, and these goals are in contradiction of Pakistan’s national interests.
Due to this reason, Pakistan must review its relationship with the US keeping its own national interest in consideration.
Pakistan’s major problem in this regard is their lack of a concrete foreign policy. More often than not, Pakistan just reacts to events instead of pursuing diplomacy.
These were the views expressed by experts at a special seminar titled, “United States’ South Asian Policy: Challenges for Pakistan” organizsd by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) held on Monday.
MNA Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Director General SSII Dr. Shireen M Mazari on the occasion stated that Pakistan has had a very complex relationship with the US. She further added that Pakistan miscalculates the US as a strategic ally, however, keeping various historic events into consideration, it can be seen that their priority was the containment of Communism, Cold War. Presently, their aim is the building of India as a regional power, the isolation of Iran and the containment of China. All of which are in direct contradiction with Pakistan’s national interests. Though their issues may be of a similar nature, their national objectives are completely different.
“We need to revise our relationship with the US and should create space now,” said Dr Mazari. She suggested that Pakistan should instead strengthen its relationship with China and Iran without compromising its position. Due to Pakistan’s lack of a foreign policy, it had been put on a level of least priority.
Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) President Ambassador (Retd) Abdul Basit, on the occasion said mutual distrust, lack of convergence of interest and lack of mutual economic interests were the major factors contributing to the poor history of the US-Pakistan relationship. “Unfortunately, our foreign policy objectives were not pursued robustly,” he said.
Basit added that a lack of cohesion and lack of consistent policies were the major reason behind the poor and ineffective diplomatic ties. “During the last four years, we have lost our place in US diplomacy,” he said. He further added that US’s criticism towards CPEC and BRI was merely an excuse.
Senior Analyst Imtiaz Gul said Pakistan’s relationship with the US remained hostage throughout history with fundamental differences.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2018.