Pakistan-US ties

While we need some linkages with US for now, we must think of moving towards greater freedom from US leash in future.

Editorial November 29, 2012

In an interview with a foreign news agency, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, has said that after a period of strain, ties with the US are now back to normal and the two nations are working in close coordination once again. It is somewhat difficult to say if this is good news or bad. The relationship with Washington has been an unequal one since it first began in the 1950s, with issues of sovereignty raised again and again. In recent years, drone strikes in northern areas have been especially problematic, with the periodic invasion of air space raising many questions. Today, such incursions continue.

But realistically speaking, Pakistan cannot do without the US — at least, not on a short-term basis. There are too many economic, military and political equations at play. While we would all like to unwrap the US chain from around our necks and break free of Washington’s bondage, this is not an easy task. Questions also arise within the country of what would happen if we did break free — and if this would result in elements linked to the militants more actively trying to promote them in the region. This scenario is not one to be contemplated in a country that has suffered immensely due to the growth of extremism on its soil.

Last year, the Raymond Davis affair, the capture of Osama bin Laden and in November, the killing of 24 soldiers in a cross-border strike at Salala caused a serious fraying in ties. Now that these have been healed, Islamabad needs to look a little further ahead. We need, for now, at least, to keep some kind of linkage with the US. But for the future we must also think of how we can move towards greater freedom from the US leash, promote our own interests while dealing with the US and find within ourselves the commitment and capacity we badly need to chalk out our own direction for the future — serving the needs of our own people first and foremost, rather than anyone else or any other nation.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2012.

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COMMENTS (6)

F | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend

There will be equally loud cheers on the US side too. You should listen to your people who overwhelmingly believe the US is an enemy state. Your leadership taught them that. Now don't find reasons in the "short term". Just demonstrate that you can do without the US immediately. The Iranians did. They did not find any excuse to deal with the US. What is stopping you?

US Centcom | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend

No one can deny that we are fighting a common enemy for over a decade now. We’ve lost thousands of brave soldiers in fighting terrorism. It is our shared will and desire to defeat terrorism that helps us overcome challenges and obstacles associated with the WOT. We must remain focused on achieving our ultimate goal of restoring peace in the region. We’ve worked too hard and made too many sacrifices to get to where we are today. Our common enemies would certainly wish to see us part ways for the sake of gaining advantage. But we need to work closely and negate the common threat that is preventing us from achieving our shared objectives.

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