US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter’s interview with BBC Urdu has created quite a buzz. The ambassador did not mince words and told it like it is. Statements like “Pakistan should not be part of the problem; it should become part of the solution” can be taken as friendly advice from the ambassador. In diplomatic parlance, this is a polite way of telling Pakistan to put its house in order. Despite the reopening of the Nato routes, relations between Pakistan and the US remain tense. Many in the US believe that Pakistan is the reason why peace in Afghanistan remains elusive. Ambassador Munter was of the view that by blocking the Nato supply routes, Pakistan had alienated its allies who are fighting the same terrorists that we are also fighting.
Our skewed policy of ‘strategic depth’ has led to the concept of ‘good Taliban’ and ‘bad Taliban’ even though the Taliban are one and the same, i.e., terrorists. Those who think otherwise should be reminded of how the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan beheaded our soldiers and released a video of the callous act just recently. The Taliban are not anyone’s assets; they are liabilities. If we are indeed covertly supporting the Afghan Taliban, we are, in effect, digging a grave for ourselves.
Apart from discussing Pakistan-US relations, Ambassador Munter’s statement related to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has created some controversy. When asked if it is worrying for the US that the 2013 elections in Pakistan may lead to the formation of an anti-US government led either by the PTI or the PML-N, the ambassador said he has met Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif and both assured him of a pro-US government if they came to power. If these assurances have indeed been given to US officials in private, is it not hypocritical of Mr Sharif and Mr Khan to fan anti-Americanism in public? Our political leaders must stop misleading the public in such a manner.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2012.
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