Mike Pompeo’s Secretary of State along with Joint Chief of Staff Gen Joseph Dunford visit to Pakistan just after 18 days of formation of new government is certainly great honor for the government and is clear indication of US future intentions to make a new beginning. Undoubtedly relations between US and Pakistan have remained patchy but it is US who needs more of us then we may be thinking of deriving any benefit. Their visit makes it abundantly clear that US really wants to make a fresh beginning with Pakistan not through dictation but mutual understanding and cooperation. In fact this quick interaction with US means that US has accepted our stand that key of peace in Afghanistan and region can only happen if we both beat at the same frequency.
US still continues with rhetoric that Pakistan has not done enough which Pakistan vehemently declines as the entire world knows sacrifices rendered by our armed forces and losses suffered over $ 150 billion have been acknowledged on many international forums. As a reward of our sacrifices and being active partner of US in war on terror our coalition support fund (CSF) has been suspended. But there was no reaction on our part, we accepted Donald Trump decision and continued with our efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan. But due to Indian influence on Ashraf Ghani the pace of peace plan did not see the light of the day
Mike Pompeo’s visit is of special significance in wake of declared non friendly relation and attitude displayed by Donald Trump in a tweet about a year back on 21st August 2017 he said “The united States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 Billion dollars in aid over 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders fools. They give safe heavens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” it was rejected by Pakistan. After revision of his policy on war in Afghanistan hoping it will help US but US did not gain much and tried to isolate Pakistan. The threat of Taliban and their attacks on coalition forces continue unabated but with intervals. Pompeo’s visit is an effort of reconciliation and acceptance of ground realities that solution to any conflict in Afghanistan Pakistan’s participation and their active support is needed. US main effort was to win Taliban but it remained a dream. Secondly US was not happy on growing tension between civil and military. Former government was not comfortable with the army in spite of the fact Sharif appointed army chief of his own choice but the differences became deep due to deliberate Dawn leaks issue. Taliban’s attack on Ghazni with heavy casualties was something that un nerved the Afghan government and US troops. Taliban’s never short of momentum attacked many high value targets with remarkable results. They are willing to sit across the table on one condition the absence of US troops from their soil that at present is not acceptable to US. So how to move forward. It is only Pakistan that can bridge the gap and assist in bringing Taliban for table talk but US must acknowledge our role and sacrifices in war on terror. It was a high profile meeting with the Prime Minister attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Army Chief Gen QamarJaved Bajwa. Foreign Minister appears to be happy with the outcome of talks with US Secretary of State who said US fully supports reform agenda of Prime Minister Imran Khan and wished success. US embassy has also welcomed the outcome of the meeting and agreed in principle that Pakistan, US and Afghanistan have jointly to develop a peaceful resolution that would benefit all the three countries.
The crux of US Secretary of State talks Is that Pakistan and US have fairly been good friends and military to military relations have grown and hoped to develop strategies where US and Pakistan both are ready to play its part to work together to bring peace in the region. But at the same time US must change its mind set about demanding more than our share as Pakistan’s new government is in no mood to do more but are ready to play constructive and positive role in helping US to bring peace and stability in the region specially Afghanistan. The tilt in the US policy can be termed as a sort of flexibility that would certainly go a long way in restoring mutual confidence and reduce trust deficit. It takes two to clap so it is the joint responsibility of US and Pakistan to ensure that there is no influence of India as is happening in the case of CPEC, unfortunately US supports contention of India. The beauty of the present meeting has been Pakistan did not beg US for CSF and asked for proof of terrorists operating from Pakistan as alleged by US. We have clarified this point in many a times in the past that no such activities are taking place from Pakistan, some isolated acts are due the interference of India through their agents and that has also been checked and is under control
In any case it is a good beginning and few more such sessions and coming visit of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Washington shall certainly yield positive result.
The writer is a freelance journalist and defence Analyst.