A wake-up call for Pakistan

Published: November 11, 2010
Obama strongly praised the India-US alliance. photo: AFP

Obama strongly praised the India-US alliance. photo: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The symbolism, trade deals and fine words of Barack Obama’s courtship of India should compel Pakistan to fix its economy and eradicate militancy in order to ward off isolation, analysts say.

The US president declared India a world power and stated that the India-US alliance was “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century”. He also unveiled deals worth $10 billion designed to create 50,000 American jobs in an ailing economy.

Obama went further than any US president before him and backed India’s quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, although with no immediate prospect of reform and likely strong Chinese opposition, it was a largely symbolic move.

The warm embrace between Obama and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood in stark contrast to the latest bid to overcome mistrust between Pakistan and the US, held just weeks before, when a round of ‘strategic dialogue’ was held between the two countries.

“Pakistanis have to be more realistic on understanding India’s growing international role,” political analyst Hasan Askari said.

“India is investing in the United States while our economy is in bad shape. There is no Pakistani investment in the West and very little in the Middle East. We ask for money from the United States, while India does not.”

Indian deals will funnel $10 billion dollars into the US economy, while American taxpayers fork out $1.5 billion of development aid to Pakistan under a US Congress bill, with promises of another $2 billion in military assistance.

While Obama’s visit reflects the shift in power to emerging nations since the financial crisis, Pakistan is a client state with a Taliban and al Qaeda presence plotting to kill US soldiers and fanning the war in Afghanistan.

Moreover, Pakistan’s status as a nuclear power still alarms the West as the country has been stifled by decades of military rule, recession and militancy.

Its security forces are fighting a Taliban insurgency in the northwest. Bomb attacks have killed thousands nationwide and its tribal belt is considered an al Qaeda headquarters subject to a covert US drone war.

Analysts say Islamabad should soften its foreign policy – to one which is dominated by the anti-Indian military–to avoid isolation as the United States looks to end the war against the Afghan Taliban which Pakistan helped to create.

But there was also gratitude as Obama refused to be drawn into fresh criticism of Islamabad unlike British Prime Minister David Cameron who sparked a diplomatic crisis when he accused Pakistan of exporting terror during his time in India.

Askari said that Obama did not sideline Pakistan, in what was a nod to the US realisation that the country is indispensable to forging peace in Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • srinivasan
    Nov 13, 2010 - 5:11PM

    The scenario which will unfold once the US leaves should worry Pakistan more than anyone else. Neither the Afgan taliban nor their Pakistani variety will die down quietly, Pakistan may face more action from them in the Afgan border. They will also face sanctions and isolation from the World community if the US face is not saved during their exit. US is bound to forget their misery in AfPak region and blame it entirely on Pakistan for their alleged non cooperation. The pledged multi year aid will vanish as well and the assistance from others like IMF etc, Who will Pakistan turn to for economic aid at that timeRecommend

  • G.Khan
    Nov 14, 2010 - 9:59AM

    Who did Pakistan turn to Economic Aid after they declared themselves a atomic nation?

    Concentrate on your own terrorism either in Kashmir or in 20 other states by the Naxalites. They may give you a bigger blow econmically and politicaly than you can even think. So, stop worrying about USA and Afghanistan and take care of yur own domestic terrorism first. I forgot to mention RSS and other extremist religious groups in India. Leave internatinal affairs to the nations those issues belong and You mind your own business. Stop worrying for US face saving and worrying about your own face IF people came to know true artcities committedIndia whether it is Kashmir or against Sikhs( 1984) genocide, Gujrat Muslim Massacre or Christian Holocaust of 2002. Recommend

  • Sikandar
    Nov 15, 2010 - 9:06AM

    G khan you are right Mr. Srinivasan should just bother about his business your own writer Mr. Haasan Khan as put it right

    “While we have officially become ‘a client state with the Taliban and al Qaeda presence plotting to kill US soldiers and fanning the war in Afghanistan’, India found a much more sustainable form of development and growth by India and for India. They have always been in the race for the long haul and instead of giving power to the military industrial complex or the landowning minority; they borrowed from western thought and civilisations and gave power to the people.”

    At least he is sensible and I appreciate to realizing the truth.Recommend

  • s khan
    Nov 15, 2010 - 12:17PM

    hmmm, Mr Khan even though we have so much problem at our end we continue to provide employement to US whereas you people are still supporting military rulars to mount attacks on indian soil which is actually taking a toll at ur ecomomy…but I’m really astonished to see that u people will never understand the fact that ur actually destroying ur own nation. One more thing we dont export terror as we are not good at this… GOD bless pakis….STOP exporting terror and everything good will follow…Recommend

  • Ajay Mittal
    Nov 19, 2010 - 7:54PM

    Dear G Khan

    Your nation was already in decline when you went atomic. You were saved by circumstances of Afghan-Russian war and assistance. But you were already loosing freedom inch by inch (sorry mile by mile) with every loan taken from IMF’s and then from different countries. Yours is a typical “heads-in-sands” attitude. Pakistan was never a nation state, it was falling down rapidly now there is nothing left, it has crossed the threshold of the nadir depths from which to recover is extremely difficult. Now your nation (every leader) is asking forgiveness of $50 billions loans. You guys are not even demonstrating common sense! You buy weapons worth 50% of your GDP after repayment of loan installments, the percentage is even higher, rest is pilfered, your rich elite (read- military, feudals and political elite all of whom intersect in relationships) don’t pay taxes when each should be made to pay at least 60% tax. This has been happening for years, even now your govt has imposed new Sales Tax but no Income Tax ! This $50 billion is other nations’ people’s tax money.

    Look, India’s Naxalites and most other troubles is economic driven which can be easily controlled through better administration but your problems of religious intolerance and religious terrorism annot be solved easily even if you try!!

    2: Pakistan should say thank youto Allah for keeping US in the region because they are youronly benefactor on a scale that even Saudi Arabia (your brother country) and China (your new brother or more of father-son relationship) cannot match by any standards. And you have been wailing and crying and giving US a hard time by yoru antics for a long time. Once US leaves, all fund pipelines will dry up. Ofcourse what do you people care about yoru own people!!

    3: US will leave and it is certain that Taliban will govern but under a compromise as follows:

    Constitution Not Sharia
    Education for both girl and boys
    No religion based terrorism
    They follow international customs and are plugged into international trade and relations
    All Afghan communitie are represented in governance.
    No fraternizing with ISI

    after being out of power and rained by missiles, Taliban would in all likelhood want to come back to power and be left alone if they do not fraternize with Pakistan’s ISI. World does not need any more education about where the essence of the problem lies. It is not in Afghanistan NOW (it ws, but not now). War on Terror can be described in few words as follows:

    Sanctuaries in Pakistan
    Patronization by ISI and military
    Religious based terorism has gone virulent and out of control
    99.9% training, education & camps exist in Pakistan
    Fighting foot war is difficult with so many angry and mad people
    Final solutions already envisaged by West when Pakistan swicthes from reluctant cooperation to non-cooperation

    Sorry if I sounded negative.

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