WASHINGTON: The United States needs to support Pakistan in fighting off terrorism and preserve its fledgeling democracy as Washington needs Islamabad’s support to ensure sacrifices rendered by the Americans, achieve the goal of peace and prosperity that extends to the US.
A report in the online news magazine, International Policy Digest, referred to the devastating terrorist attacks that targeted political rallies, a government convoy and an election office during the recent elections and claimed by the Islamic State.
“To say that Pakistan is not at the front lines of the fight against extremism is patently absurd. But this is the position of some in Washington who would deny Pakistan the tools it needs in terms of military hardware, financial support, and political encouragement to bring terrorists to heel,” says the author of the report, who recently visited the Pakistan embassy and met Ambassador Ali Siddiqui.
“With Imran Khan claiming victory in the country’s second successful democratic transition, Pakistan is set on a new trajectory with new premier promising changes in a country that has been marred by corruption and violence.” The report said that it is both sad and counterproductive for the US to cut-off billions in aid to Pakistan, which is critical to the success of its own fight against terrorism.
Ambassador Siddiqui told the magazine that the future of Pakistan was linked to quelling the threat of terrorism and in meetings with US officials, he would underline grave problems that Pakistan is facing in the fight against terrorism and its seriousness to wipe out this global menace.
The magazine quoted Ambassador Siddiqui as saying that improving the US-Pakistan security relations was his number one priority. He also said that terrorism was posing threat to Pakistan’s ability to grow economically and thrive democratically.
Moreover, the report also suggested that the US itself has a deep interest in helping Pakistan fight the menace of terrorism as the country shares a long border with Afghanistan where American troops are fighting terrorists for the past 17 years, and where terrorists who attack Americans and other innocents abroad had taken refuge.
“The US has lost more than 2,000 lives and spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan, and we need Pakistan’s access, influence, and firepower to destroy terrorist havens and bring Taliban to heel,” the report added. The report highlighted that since 9/11, the US-Pakistan collaboration played a critical role in dismantling al-Qaeda and led to the arrest and killing of many terrorists. The cooperation between the two countries also resulted in the seizure of more than 200 tons of IED explosives.
But, Pakistan had to pay a heavy price for achieving these successes as more than 60,000 of its people were killed in terrorist attacks and the country’s economy suffered accumulative losses of $120 billion.
Referring to President Trump’s statements against Pakistan and the subsequent snapping of all security aid, the report said that Pakistan must feel “abandoned, their sacrifices in vain”.
“The problem is, we need the Pakistanis. We need them to defend their democracy and reject appeals of extremists. We need them to participate in anti-terrorism community partnerships which are critical in the fight against non-state actors capable of hiding “in the wide open.”