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Pakistan-US ties: a bumpy ride

Islamabad, The relationship between Pakistan and the US has already been very uncertain and not friendly because there are acute differences between the two countries on various issues.

Although the United States was amongst the first few nations that established diplomatic relationship with Pakistan on October 20, 1947, the ties between the two states have always remained extremely bumpy.

During the initial years of Pakistan, the country had the options of building allegiance with the Soviet Union or the United States; however, Pakistan opted for the latter.

The ongoing climate of distrust and blame game between the two cold war partners suggests that the Pak-US relations will further deteriorate owing to the aggressive attitude adopted by the Trump administration towards Pakistan.

Talking to IRNA Senior Pakistani analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai said that relations between Pakistan and the US have seen different phases, there were ups and downs. Initially after independence Pakistan joined the American camp, in the cold war it was also on the side of the US against the Soviet Union, he said.

We all know that after the Afghan jihad in 1979 onwards, Pakistan became a very close ally of the US against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, at that time we became very dependent on the US which was not the right policy, he noted.

The analyst went on to say that Pakistan should have diversified its relations with US. He added that after the 9/11 attacks Pakistan was again asked to do more.

Rahimullah Yusufzai said that because of the different objectives the relationship between Pakistan and the US became very difficult. Right now we are passing through very difficult phase of Pak-US ties, right now we don't have a friendship between the US and Pakistan, it is a very opportunistic alliance, he said.

The analyst said that Pakistan's dependence on the US has been reduced and by cutting off security assistance to Pakistan and that dependence has further gone down which means that the influence of the US on Pakistan has also gone down. Both countries have grievances against each other, he said.

We are trying to move closer to China, Iran, Russia and Turkey because we don't have common objective with the US, viewed Rahimullah Yusufzai.

He added that statements by the US leaders against Pakistan reflect real thinking of the US about Pakistan.

In 1954 Pakistan signed Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with the United States. Pakistan has remained in US block during the cold war and the country had played a crucial role in arranging the 1972 Richard Nixon visit to China, which had led to normalization of ties between the two estranged countries.

From 1979 to 1988 during Zia ul Haq's government, Pakistan and the United States enjoyed a warm and congenial relationship, which was primarily based on military ties and advancements. During the decade, US, along with CIA and ISI, launched billions of dollars worth of operations to prevent Soviet forces from further advancing into the region.

However, by the end of General Zia's government, Congress adopted Pressler amendment. The amendment banned major military and economical aid to Pakistan unless the state was able to justify and provide sufficient evidence that the funds are not being used for nuclear proliferation.

In 1990 US, under the Pressler amendment, imposed sanctions on Pakistan, as the country by then had lost its strategic importance in soviet war.

In1992 the relations between US and Pakistan plummeted further when US ambassador Nicholas Platt, warned Pakistan of being included into state sponsors of terrorism list, in case it continued to support militants causing trouble in India.

In1998 Pakistan conducted nuclear test in Balochistan, which invited the wrath of Clinton's administration on the country. President Clinton imposed sanctions under Glenn amendment on Pakistan.

After the 9/11 attacks and the US' invasion in various countries to eradicate militancy, Pakistan became one of the most important strategic allies for the United States.

In May 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed in an operation conducted by the US Navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

President Barrack Obama claimed that the information pertaining to the operation conducted in Abbottabad was not shared with Pakistan Army. However, ISI Pakistan's top intelligence agency claimed that the operation was conducted jointly.

The US-Pakistan relations plummeted again when 24 Pakistani soldiers died in an air strike by the US Army. Afghan and the US officials claimed that the firing was a result of the attack launched from the Pakistani side of the border; however, the Pakistani military and government denied the claims.

Washington has unfairly blamed Islamabad for propping up the Afghan Taliban to perpetuate the festering Afghan insurgency and push Pakistan to do more.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has recently told Congress that American diplomats are being treated badly in Islamabad. Pakistan's Foreign Office has, however, termed these allegations as unfounded. It has also shown its reservations about the undue restrictions placed on the movement of its diplomats in Washington.

Dr. Rashid Ahmad Khan senior analyst and former professor of international relations talking to IRNA said that Pakistan-US relations at this moment are at the lowest level ever in the entire history of their relationship.

The US has initiated a number of measures against Pakistan which have hurt our economy and tend to undermine the security of Pakistan, he noted. He added that the US has almost put an end to military assistance to Pakistan which was used to be $ two billion per year.

He added that few months back there was a diplomatic row between the two countries in which the US restricted the movement of Pakistani diplomats and in retaliation Pakistan also restricted the movement of American diplomats in Islamabad.

He went on to say that current Pakistan-US relations are marked by tension, by high level of trust deficit, suspicion of mutual assistance in the economic field and the US-Pakistan dialogue is also suspended.

Dr. Rashid Ahmad Khan said the US cannot ignore Pakistan as they need our support in Afghanistan.

The Pak-US relations have been on a slippery slope since Trump accused Pakistan of supporting the Afghan Taliban even though it has received $33 billion in aid.

When Pakistan refused to accept the US policy dictations against the Taliban, the Trump administration suspended economic aid to Pakistan and placed it on the FATF 'grey list' with the diplomatic support of some of its Western allies.

The United States (US) Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is likely to visit Islamabad in the first week of September for consultations with new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan and his team on issues of mutual interest.

Analysts say during his talks with Pakistani officials, Secretary Pompeo may focus on two major issues: efforts to revive once close ties between the two states and Pakistan's support for a US-led move to jump-starting the Afghan peace process.

Earlier this week, US officials urged Pakistan to help end the Afghan war, adding that recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan have not discouraged them from negotiating peace with some Taliban factions.

In an earlier statement, a senior US official had hoped that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government would work with the US for translating tough issues into mutual achievements.

Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has warned the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Trump administration will not allow it to lend US dollars to Pakistan for repaying China.

The media interpreted this as a message to Pakistan, indicating that Washington will oppose its request for a bailout package from the IMF.

Pakistan's caretaker Foreign Minister Abdullah Hussain Haroon had also said the US has stopped pursuing positive approach towards Pakistan and for last many years they have been weaving a web around the country.

President Donald Trump's administration has quietly started cutting scores of Pakistani officers from coveted training and educational programs that have been a hallmark of bilateral military relations for more than a decade.

Pakistan has helped the US a lot in the history however the US has not acknowledged the efforts of Pakistan compelling the country to look for the other options.

Pakistan in a major foreign policy shift is trying to improve its ties with Russia. With China, Pakistan has the strongest of ties which is also not acceptable to the US.

Analysts in Pakistan say that instead of just relying upon the US which is not a trustworthy ally the country should develop strong ties with other states and reduce its dependency on the US, a country that has always stabbed in its back.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA


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