25 June 2011

Pakistan's The NATION Editorial: BLUNT US WARNING


Blunt US warning

Published: June 25, 2011
The two official voices that came out of Washington on Thursday, a day after President Obama used tough words for Islamabad while announcing a phased withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, appeared unanimous in demonstrating that the strains in the Pak-US relationship were getting on the US policymakers’ nerves. If Secretary of State Clinton warned of the suspension of military aid to Pakistan, in case it did not take certain concrete “steps” that she did not elaborate but, perhaps, had been specified to officials here by her and Senator John Kerry when they last visited Islamabad soon after the Abbottabad operation; Defence Secretary Gates was dismissive of Pakistan’s role now that, he and most American officials claim, the militants in Afghanistan are on the back foot. Their views evidently reflected extreme anger, frustration as well as arrogance. Clinton’s deposition before the Senate, however, clashed with Gates’ in the sense that she thought Pakistan’s role was important in routing the terrorist forces. Similarly, General Petraeus, the outgoing commander of US forces in Afghanistan and would-be CIA chief, declared that without Islamabad’s help victory against the militants was not possible. 

The growing estrangement should not come as a surprise to those Pakistanis who have an idea about how the US had been cold-shouldering Islamabad once it had served its purpose. Most of the local media and political analysts cautioned the Pakistani leadership against taking the American overtures of abiding friendship too seriously. As the US is withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan and, at the same time, preparing India as a counterweight to China it is obvious that it would find excuses not to fulfil its commitments to Pakistan. But that provides us with a golden opportunity to end our association with the US in the war on terror that has brought so much misery upon us. 


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