Tribune Take: Pakistan may have the upper-hand in US-Pak relations now

Published: November 28, 2011

In today’s episode of the Tribune Take we take a look at the latest from Washington DC about the attack by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) helicopters that killed at least 24 security personnel and injured 12 soldiers on a Pakistani check post on the Pak-Afghan border. 

Huma Imtiaz, The Express Tribune‘s correspondent based in Washington DC discusses the impact this attack has had in DC. She says although this has been one of the worst years for Pakistan-US relations, this incident makes matters much worse.

In terms of balance of power between the two nations, Imtiaz says Pakistan now has the upper hand and will require a lot of convincing to come back to the negotiating table. The rare joint statement issued by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have offered “deepest condolences” and said they backed “Nato’s intention to investigate immediately.”

Read Huma Imtiaz’s articles here.

Follow Huma Imtiaz on Twitter.

The Tribune Take daily news web show will appear on the home page.

The Take will feature in-depth interviews and analysis with editors and reporters who are covering the major stories, exploring front page events and major ledes. The news analysis covers the way The Express Tribune examines a story, how we cover it and why.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • Faizan
    Nov 28, 2011 - 10:52PM

    The title forced me to click on the article and comment “Hahahahhaha :D”.


  • SM
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:16PM

    The US didnt investigate the deaths of US citizens about a decade ago. They declared war within a day or so of being attacked. Here they can’t give an apology straight up.


  • Walter White is breaking bad,seriously!
    Nov 28, 2011 - 11:33PM

    Look, it is not about upper hand……..


  • Ch Allah Daad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:18AM

    Upper must be kidding..we lost our best and bravest, we lost billions in stock market, not even one country have sent us condolences, attackers are not even sorry, once again its proven that we cannot defend ourselves and still we have upper hand.


  • Yasir Mehmood
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:46AM

    Thats a wrong take its the opposite. America is a super power further economic losses in wars wont hurt them. For pakistan its a different story all together from economic assitance to meet budget deficts to buy ammo for millitary you need them. Americans have already shifted majority of its supply routes to central asia so we are not in a position of high handedness as, they our steps ahead.


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:00AM

    Every time US/NATO kills our unprovoked soldiers by helicopters and innocent civilians in drone attacks, US condoles their deaths.

    How long these condolences will go on? It there any limit or not?

    When a single US soldier is killed in Afghanistan or in Iraq, US make hue and cry and the news are published as headlines in Pakistani print and electronic media.

    But when Pakistani soldiers and civilians are killed, US put the matter on the back burner and with the passage of time, the matter gets faded.

    US does not no the psychology of Pakistanis. If once we are provoked, we will not put our feet back.

    US think that only Americans are human beings, but this is not the case. Every human being whether he is an American or a Pakistani, he is first a human being and then belongs to any other nationality.

    Pakistani nation do not want to see any American on our soil. We even do not want to maintain diplomatic relations with US. Just leave us alone so that we should develop the nation, without taking any help from US.

    We are a sovereign nation and very well knows how to live without the help of US.


  • Mirza
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:03AM

    Yes all the Americans are shaking in their boots. There may be more tigers after general Niazi in Pakistan. Can we please get real for a change? Americans were trembling with fear at Kargil fiasco when Pakistani PM begged to come to Washington and save him and his country. It was the US independence day and the Americans were only interested if Pakistan pulls out of Kargil. People in Pakistan should be happy that Americans are trembling and as usual the victory is ours.


  • CK
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:12AM

    Tribune should have more composed and mature speakers. Everyone has opinions but opinions backed by facts and rational are taken seriously.


  • hedgefunder
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:34AM

    The word “MAY” is a very big word here !!!
    There are too many MAYS here, in this charade and equations can turn very fast !!!
    Pakistan really can not afford to play any bluffs here as their whole relationship with NATO/ISAF is at stake including political relationships with the member countries of these organisations!!
    They need to take stock of the situation, emotions and public opinion, then device a strategy as to how to handle this crises.
    Trying to be gung ho here is really not in Pakistan’s future financial or diplomatic interest !!!


  • Khurram
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:44AM

    Something we would never learn that is what to say and when to say. Please stop these self-aggrandizing statements of having an upper hand. I know this tragic incident has deeply shocked the whole nation and all of us regardless of our political affiliations.We have our prayers and heartfelt sympathies with the families of the dead soldiers and our thoughts and prayers for the injured . This is the time to mourn this great loss and seriously examine all the wrong decisions and turns we have taken in the past and to distinguish each one of them whether or not it was forced upon us by the prevailing circumstances or simply we took them out of our shortsighted impulsiveness, I strongly believe latter is more likely to be the case. We are highly emotional people much prone to lose the self control, say and do things which ought to remain unsaid and unacted in the international arena. If these are for the consumption of people at home then it is only wise to say those things which we are capable of delivering. We are almost at the dump in economic terms, our political fabric is terribly torn and our mindset is that of grade school kid, this truly makes me painfully wonder how we can afford to say such a ludicrous thing as having an Upper Hand is beyond my comprehension.


  • Ilyad
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:22AM

    He who holds the greens has the upper hand, this whole rhetoric is an opportuntiy to get more dollars out of the Americans. In my opinion it was also a show of force to clear the minds of people who think that Pak army can withstand a stand off with the NATO forces. Life is very different from dreams, people who dream a lot are the ones who actually sleep a lot, time to wake up and start acting if this country needs to be saved.


  • Ali Wazir
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:34AM

    Huma is spot on in her analysis. Having read couple of her articles on Memogate in Foreign Policy, I am pretty sure she knows whats she is talking about. No one with any sanity is saying that we go to war but this is an opurtunity for a course adjustment.

    Table the APC resolution in the Parliament. And suspend all Drone coverage privileges to the Americans along with any air corridors given by the spineless Mush. Also publicly state that Pakistan will negotiate with TTP groups on its terms and expects US withdrawal by 2012 after which it will suspend all logistic support to ISAF.

    Also state Publically that the western border will hence forth be considered hostile and any violation will lead to an automatic military response. The Iranis,turks , chinese and russians are already on our side, our general should at last grow a pair.Recommend

  • Cautious
    Nov 29, 2011 - 3:42AM

    Without belittling the deaths of Pakistani soldiers — Pakistan is handling this matter in the same sophomoric fashion it handles most things. Rather than investigate and determine the facts Pakistan chooses to pronounce judgement and take every chance to inflame public opinion. All of the political and military leaders try and outdo each other in anti American blather and make bold statements of retaliation — after things cool down they end up looking inept, undependable, and without substance. Pakistan deserves better.


  • Nov 29, 2011 - 3:57AM

    I think that what the headline should have said was:
    Pakistan may have the upper hand on
    the negotiating table with the US now.
    I’m sure the establishment will be able to make the lives of our dead soldiers count for a few extra pay checks.Recommend

  • Majid
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:03AM

    After that much loss of civilians and armed personals, Pakistan should have upper hand at least now. Let’s hope result would be fruitful for the nation rather than a few personals.


  • Arindom
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:29AM

    Can’t belive the author actually wrote “Balance of Power between US and Pakistan”!!! Haha!! Hahahaha!!!


  • sundar
    Nov 29, 2011 - 4:47AM

    “Pakistan has the upper hand” !! I can’t believe this author – Upper hand for what? golden opportunity for exacting more $ ? Meanwhile, pakistan prime minister says “We need to have something bigger to satisfy my nation,” Looks like everyone is trying to cash in on this ‘affront to pakistan’s sovereignty’ !!


  • Vishal
    Nov 29, 2011 - 5:36AM

    It has been 2 days since the attack, and the Pakistani press has moved from ‘protest’ to proclaiming ‘upper hand’. But it is not at all surprising. You never know that by this time Americans would have negotiated with the Pakistan government to pay some more dollars, and declare peace.

    Wait one more week and things would get back to normal – by which I mean restored shipments to Afghanistan, more drone strikes, and more attacks by US forces. Whatever upper hand or lower hand people claim, in the end it is the people in this South Asian region that would end up getting killed, and its a pity…


  • Truth Seeker
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:28AM

    No doubt Pakistan has upper hand but as it is prosthetic, so it is controlled by the lower American hand which has dollars and weapons which can easily manipulate the prosthetic limb.


  • haha
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:30AM

    pakistan- the next superpower


  • Me2
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:44AM

    What a take. Haha. So cute!


  • Adil
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:03AM

    Very good news. But we have to be careful now. Even with a lower hand USA can give
    Pakistan a LOW BLOW just like they do in WWE.


  • You Said It
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:13AM

    Hmmm… you’re right, which prompts the question: was this attack then instigated by the establishment to gain the upper hand vis-a-vis the US on Afghanistan. We should ask the question who gains from this — it is obviously Pakistan. Ergo…


  • asif
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:17AM

    This is not about having the upper hand or balance of power. It is about justice for the dead soldiers.


  • Rai asaf kharal
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:37AM

    Upper hand ….??? .Wrong take .As long as we have corrupt and dishonest poliical elite ,we can never have an upper hand .The matter is further complicted by the puppet regimes in the arab world who are ever ready to plead for the oppressive powers inorder to save and perpetuate their own rule.Many in the muslim and arab world take pride in being the slaves of the west rather than one True God.They have sold their souls for a short fleeting life of this world.Away with these shameful people and whatever they do to please their masters


  • Ahmed R
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:39AM

    While the attack went on for 2 hours, the corps commanders were begging NATO to stop?? What was that place anyway? A convent full of nurses? Aren’t soldiers supposed to defend themselves? Recommend

  • Walter White is breaking bad,seriously!
    Nov 29, 2011 - 7:54AM

    @Truth Seeker:
    Your statement somehow does not match your username.
    Would this also have been J.C’s opinion? Just wondering…………
    Those who live by the sword , die by the sword, he siad…


  • Shyam
    Nov 29, 2011 - 8:32AM

    Pakistan has just got the finger not the upper hand


  • Nov 29, 2011 - 9:07AM

    Not sure if Tribune Take is sarcasm or place for yellow journalism.


  • malik
    Nov 29, 2011 - 10:46AM

    I think this is a heaven-sent opportunity for us, very similar to the Raymond Davis episode, to arm-twist US.

    We should not let go of this golden chance to extract more concessions and more billions from US. This is our moment !


  • Truth Seeker
    Nov 29, 2011 - 12:19PM

    @Walter White is breaking bad,seriously!:
    With present state of Pakistan Rrailway, its rolling stock and communication infra structure in Pakistan; without taking into consideration American capability to disable F-16 electronic system, Pakistan will never dare challenge US might. Thank Heavens Pakistani Army High Command is aware of this reality and does not need Jingoistic variety of truth.Truth is always bitter and particularly for those who dont want to hear it.


  • Toosy
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:15PM

    We need justice for our soldiers and not the stupid blood money that would be going into the pockets of special people(those who choke our roads on their arrivals and exits)


  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Nov 29, 2011 - 1:57PM

    Even if they offer condolences, regrets & apologies too, Pakistan leadership both Civilian and Military should not buckle under the tremendous pressure the so called friends like, Turkey, UAE and soon Saudia will join the line of friends to start piling pressure on Pakistan leadership, Pakistan should get the Shamsi base vacated at every cost.


  • Truth not good
    Nov 29, 2011 - 2:08PM

    @Truth Seeker:
    Vietcong did not have F16’s and Railways. Wake up!
    You just cannot win anywhere ever.


  • Lahoot e Lamakaan
    Nov 29, 2011 - 6:16PM

    ET please donot even talk about talks coz we the people dont want that


  • Paki-Sher-Azam
    Nov 30, 2011 - 8:11AM

    Upperhand in begging???, When we have big Uncle as neighbor, better let us be a nice guy, don’t have biting dogs as pets. Some times Big Uncle’s bullets may hit our kids playing with the dogs….


  • Troy
    Dec 1, 2011 - 11:59PM

    I can see that in the Religion of Islam you have the Sunnis who are the Majority,and the Shiites who are the Minority it is ( Some ) of the Rulers and Leaders of the Sunnis who are Puppets of the west and the CIA the west is trying to destroy Iran, and I know that some of the Sunnis must Love this, the sunnis and shiites don’t love each other.

    This is good for the west,divide and conquer,but in the end this could help the west or the Crusaders if the west can destroy Iran, Syria,Afghanistan and Pakistan all the muslims will be controlled by the crusaders.

    The Crusadders will do to all muslims what Israel Military is doing to the Palestinians Checkpoints,Machine Gun,Towers Occupied Land.

    A Christian country will Never fight a Christian country for a Muslim country.

    But a Muslim country will fight a Muslim country for a Christian country.

    The Muslims need the 12th Imam,or the Mujahdeen

    A GOOD Documentary ALL Muslims Must see on youtube on the Crusader’s of today

    Look for this : NATO Going Global


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