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Is USA our friend?

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Agha Masood

The present US administration, it seems, is not happy with Pakistan. The latest steps which demonstrates the US anger towards Pakistan is that the current administration has decided to restrict the movement of Pakistani diplomats as well has also cut aid being given for various purposes especially for the civilian sector. Moreover, the US wants Pakistan to ‘do more’ to resolve the issue of Afghanistan where Afghan Taliban have been fighting against US forces plus Afghan national army.

Though Pakistan has supported the peace proposals of Ashraf Ghani for a comprehensive dialogue with Afghan Taliban but so far the Afghan Taliban have not expressed their willingness for the Dialogue with the incumbent Afghan government. Pakistan also supported the peace proposals propounded at Tashkent conference for the peaceful solution of long-persisting Afghan issue which is taking toll on the regional peace. Pakistan is sincerely interested to see the peaceful conditions return to Afghanistan through Afghan-led, Afghan own peace accord between the different stakeholders. Peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s own interest. That’s why Pakistan has always made efforts for peace in Afghanistan.

The undeniable fact is that Pakistan has suffered hugely because of unresolved Afghan problem especially its economy has been badly hit while the attacks from across Afghanistan border continue unabated. But still Pakistan wants peaceful solution of Afghan problem and is in contact with Taliban group for this purpose. Yet the fact is Pakistan has no control over Afghan Taliban, they have their own strategy for the solution of Afghan issue and to my knowledge the Afghan Taliban want direct talks with USA for lasting peace in the embattled country. If the demand of Afghan Taliban for the direct negotiations with US administration is accepted by President Trump, I think it will make a great difference, such direct talks with different stakeholders has paid dividend in the past especially during Vietnam war.

However, it should be mentioned here that Pakistan and USA have enjoyed amicable relations in the past, Pakistan fought against the Soviet invading army at the behest of USA but when the Soviet Army was defeated, the Americans left us rather ignored our sacrifices and that of Afghan fighters with the result there exists today a trust-deficit between the two old friends. The US had helped Pakistan in early days of its establishment as an independent country through financial and military aid. Still today Pakistan receives aid to fight the terrorists, both within and outside. But it is not sufficient, Pakistan has spent more than 100 billon US dollars to fight the TTP responsible for the deadly attacks inside Pakistan and outside. Had not Pakistan fought the terrorists of TTP, the regional peace would have evaporated clearing the way for terrorists to establish their own writ in the region. In fact Pakistan fought against the terrorists for the regional and world peace with its limited resources. Moreover Pakistan opened the door for US to develop good relations with China without any preconditions or any monetary gains. Henry Kissinger had appreciated this gesture of Pakistan in his books. It may be therefore said without any shadow of doubt that Pakistan has done more for USA as a worthy friend but in return, the USA has done very little for Pakistan.

Let us therefore retrace the steps which would once again bind us in good relations based upon equality and justice and mutual understanding. And the common ground for that can be easily traced if the trust-deficit between the two nations is removed.