Opinion: Reorienting priorities a necessity for Pakistan

Representative photo. Photograph:( ANI )

Kolkata, West Bengal, India Sep 07, 2018, 10.34 AM (IST) Ranajoy Sen

US military aid for Pakistan to the count of $300 million has been scrapped. The indication is seemingly loud and clear that American patience with Pakistani shenanigans might finally be wearing thin. The issue at hand concerns Pakistan’s effectiveness in battling all terrorist organisations unhesitatingly. To that purpose, the Trump dispensation has hollered at Pakistan for being deliberately selective for long in its fight against terrorist organisations.    

The US government is apparently outraged for the prolonged complicity and dubiousness which the Pakistani establishment has skillfully and adamantly applied regarding the objective of rooting out the scourge of Islamic extremism from the Af-Pak region.  

 As a rejoinder, the Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, has stated that the concerned financial aid is not really any form of assistance to Pakistan it is what the US owes Pakistan for the latter’s costs of war against terrorism. Statements of this nature from Qureshi are not at all surprising. It testifies to a compulsive effort to dilute an embarrassing and glaring attribute for the allegedly culpable. A grim irony and conflicting priorities which attribute US-Pakistani collaboration against terrorism are brought to the fore. It also bespeaks a desperate attempt by Pakistan to navigate within and grapple with the vortex which it has essentially created for itself.   

American largesse for Pakistan has been flowing into Pakistan for the past several decades. In the ‘50s and ‘60s of the preceded century, Pakistan managed to position itself in the line of American aid by entering into America-led pacts. They were formed to ostensibly prevent the baneful spread of Communist ideology from former Soviet Russia and Mao’s China. Nevertheless, Pakistan used American arms and aid to endeavour for a confrontation with India. It did so in 1965 and 1971.  

After a brief interregnum in the ‘70s, US aid flowed to Pakistan with renewed generosity with the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. Money and arms flowed into Pakistan, 1981 onwards, to assist and administer the “Mujahideen” under Pakistani supervision in the fight to hound out the Soviet forces from Afghanistan. By 1989, the Soviet presence in Afghanistan constricted severely. The Russians finally left that country in 1990. 

Thereafter, Pakistan re-deployed many battle-hardened fighters from Afghanistan to Jammu and Kashmir to strike up a violent insurgency against Indian rule in that state. Additionally, in post-Soviet Afghanistan, it tenaciously strove for as much influence as possible. That execrable strategy and policy continues to this day.  

After spells of acrimony and bonhomie throughout the ‘90s, the US sought to work with Pakistan again after the 9/11 attacks. It thought that this time Pakistan would fix its internal problems and alter its strategic trajectory permanently. After 17 years of lingering hope, the Americans see mostly duplicity and double-dealings from Pakistan.  

Perhaps the US is coming round to finally comprehend that its financial aid of about $32 billion to Pakistan from 2002 onwards has done scarce little to secure Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan, bolster Pakistan’s ability to fight terrorism and to enhance American influence over Pakistan’s expanding nuclear weapons programme.   

Furthermore, American aid has not convinced the Pakistan government to halt its long-standing support for certain terrorist groups. In fact, it has given Pakistan an incentive to foster a sense of insecurity concerning its nuclear arsenal and swelling rank of jihadists, while merrily pursuing its perverse strategic culture of trying to secure “strategic depth” in Afghanistan against India and waging a proxy-war with India in Kashmir.  

As US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, visits Islamabad, he would do well to convey to his Pakistani hosts, that apart from combating militants without favour, Pakistan would do well to actuate the task of crucial political and fiscal reforms. It would propel that country toward genuine social peace and stability and pull back its economy from the brink of an abyss.    


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)
 

 

Ranajoy Sen

Ranajoy Sen is an analyst. He writes on Global Affairs, Economy and Politics.

Story highlights

The US government is apparently outraged for the prolonged complicity and dubiousness which the Pakistani establishment has skillfully and adamantly applied regarding the objective of rooting out the scourge of Islamic extremism from the Af-Pak region.