Washington did not mince words as it reaffirmed its commitment to being non-partisan in the political sphere. Spokesperson Vedant Patel, in an unusual response, noted that the US would not let ‘propaganda, misinformation and disinformation’ stand in the way of its ‘valued’ bilateral partnership with Pakistan. These are welcome words, indeed, and go onto rectify the imbalance that had set in their bilateral ties, especially in the aftermath of former prime minister Imran Khan’s ouster from power. While Khan had blamed a senior official from the State Department for overtly conspiring to dislodge his government, and one who was allegedly in cahoots with a section of politicians in Pakistan, it is a good omen that words of clarification have come from the official podium.
The serene words that the US appreciates its “longstanding cooperation with Pakistan and has always viewed a prosperous and democratic Pakistan as critical to US interests”, is a sigh of relief. The presser apparently for the first time — since weeks of pestering mistrust — made it clear that US did not have a position on one political candidate of a party versus another, but rather supported the peaceful upholding of democratic, constitutional and legal principles. This pledge has incidentally come at a time when political chips are down.
This development has coincided with Khan’s climbing down from the ladder, wherein he was seen hinting at working with US administration, if returned to power. This also indicates the indispensability of great relations with the US, and the fact that Pakistan’s trade and security conundrum is Washington-tilted. The former PM by orienting a narrative that he wants a “dignified” relationship if re-elected has upped the moral ground of statecraft. This is where the crossroads of bilateralism rest as leaderships in both the countries are responsive to the needs and aspirations of their respective people, and do not go on to play to the gallery for point-scoring considerations.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 18th, 2022.
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