PAK-US Relations Current Scenario:
US-Pakistan relations are moving in a downward trajectory ever since the elevation of President Donald Trump as the 45th President of United States. Since assuming office, President Trump has made no secret of his intentions to bully Pakistan into aligning with US policy. Donald Trump has announced his major policy decisions on Twitter, a social networking platform. In his first tweet of the year 2018, Donald Trump accused Pakistan of lies and deceit and threatened to cut the Pakistan’s aid. Naturally the bitter accusations did not go down well with the Civilian and Military Establishment of Pakistan. Soon after the tweet, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called an urgent meeting of the National Security Council, a high level council comprising of top civilian and military leadership. NSC rejected the Trump’s allegation and expressed its disappointment over the comments. In the aftermath of President Trump’s tweet, US suspended about $900m aid to Pakistan alleging that Pakistan has failed to address the issue of terrorists safe haven and sanctuaries present inside Pakistan borders, an allegation which Islamabad strongly denies. Presently as the Pentagon has announced the suspension of $300m aid from the “Coalition Support Fund”, the new foreign Minister of Pakistan has reportedly stated that presently US-Pakistan relations are all but suspended which he would try to revive on the principles of mutual respect and understanding.
Pakistan and United States have both viewed each other with mistrust and suspicion. While US relations with India are based on economic considerations, Pakistan has invariably been viewed as a “Key Strategic Ally outside NATO”. Pakistan’s repeated efforts to become US economic partner have failed to yield result. The security ties between the Pakistan and US are deteriorating as the Trump administration new policy in Afghanistan is doomed to fail; America is looking for a scapegoat in the form Pakistan to cover its strategic and diplomatic failure in Afghanistan. Donald Trump has used economic strangulation and sanctions as a diplomatic leverage in his relations with foreign countries. He is already on a confrontational path with many important States of the world including key US allies such as EU, Turkey, Canada, Mexico and China. The present US administration is using the same strategy with Pakistan as US Secretary of State blatantly threatened to block anticipated Pakistan’s loan approach from IMF in flagrant disregard of diplomatic norms. However, it is important for US to understand that it has lost much power to coerce Islamabad to get in line.
Future of Pak-US Relations:
It is important for policy makers in both the countries to understand that both countries need each other. No lasting peace in Afghanistan is possible without the active support of Pakistan. Though Pakistan has lost considerable authority over the Afghan Taliban, still it holds sufficient influence over them to bring them to negotiating table. The only viable solution to Afghan conflict is political one and no military effort could bring lasting peace. Pakistan and US needs to work together as stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in the interest of everyone. US must also acknowledge Pakistan efforts in the war against terror. Though there is no urgent sight of Pakistan of resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries, but it is important for both the countries to keep engage in talks. In this backdrop, the visit of Mike Pompeo to Islamabad is a good omen for future of US-Pakistan relations.