Amid optimism of growing ties between the United States and Pakistan-“it was, indeed very sweet to hear from buoyant Dr Condoleezza Rice some of the things that mean much for Pakistan.
While in Islamabad, the American Secretary of State talked about maintaining long-term partnership with Pakistan-“by admitting that in the past the United States left the country after close affiliation during the cold war.
It is-“all the more encouraging that the United States seems to be well aware of the feelings of the people about American policy towards Pakistan.
Pragmatically, ever since its inception in 1947, Pakistan opted to align itself with the United States and worked closely and actively with Washington-“explicitly in promoting vital regional and international interests.
However, be it 1965 or 1971 wars or consequences of Superpowers’ game in Afghanistan, Pakistan was left to bear the consequences and Americans easily forgot their obligations and responsibilities-“despite bilateral or multilateral treaties.
Virtually, it is because of this insight that majority of Pakistanis does not trust the United States and views the existing relationship [viewed by Americans as mere long-term ‘engagement’] with skepticism.
With this backdrop, the admission of Dr Rice about past mistake (s) and reaffirmation of the commitment to continue to maintain closer ties for a long time to come-“are appreciable.
But, at the same time, there are indications that this relationship is unlikely to make any major difference for Pakistan. In the past, the United States embraced Pakistan-“not out of love for the country-“but only to advance its own regional and global interests. And in the process Pakistan’s fundamental concerns and interests were left unattended.
Once again, we are extending critical support in fulfillment of American objectives but, prima facie there is hardly any perceptible sympathy for Pakistan’s interests.
In exchange for its key role in the fight against terrorism for which the country is paying a heavy price in diverse forms-“what Pakistan is getting from the United States-“is mere a $3 billion security and economic assistance spread over five years-“and that too has many strings attached to it.
As was also evident from the evasive approach of Dr Rice during joint Press conference with her Pakistani counterpart-“there is almost no understanding of Pakistan’s legitimate concerns on Kashmir and potential threats to its security.
Seemingly, Washington is not willing to exert pressure on Delhi for resolution of the longstanding Kashmir dispute-“which has serious implications for defense and security of Pakistan as well as for peace and stability of South Asia.
Likewise, Pakistan’s nuclear capability serves as a deterrent and guarantee of peace in the region but the United States is not only constantly keeping Pakistan under pressure on the issue but also fans propaganda aimed at maligning and discrediting the country and its nuclear programme-“one way or the other.
To quote an instance, in the field of defense-“the United States is eager to sell F-16s, anti-missile system and super computers to India-“but not ready to consider Pakistan’s legitimate plea for F-16s.
Same is the case with Pakistan’s longstanding demand for more market access in the United States.
Yet we hope that the US policy-makers would care to show more sensitivity towards Pakistan’s vital interests-“not only to translate the marvelous words of Ms Condoleezza Rice vis-Ã -vis Pakistan-US bonds into a reality-“but also to make this relationship mutually beneficial and rewarding for all times to come.