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Arm twisting

US Defense Secretary James Mattis has said that Washington would try one more time work with Islamabad on Afghanistan Front before President Trump turns to option to address the latter’s alleged support for militant groups. According to sources in Washington the likely Trump administration response being discussed include expanding US drone strikes and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan major non-ally status. In a separate Senate hearing a top US military officer levelled baseless accusation against a Pakistani sensitive agency of having ties with militant groups. While making a statement before Senate Armed Services Committee, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staffs told that a Pakistani Agency have ties with militant groups.

The allegation of top military officer is the repetition of President Trump charge sheet against Pakistan. Announcing his new strategy for South Asia he blamed Pakistan for sheltering terrorists in safe heavens. He threatened to stop economic and military assistance to Pakistan and offered India great role in Afghanistan, ignoring our concerns. The Foreign Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif in his visit to Washington will meet the Secretary of State Rix Tillorson and National security Advisor General HR MC Master. Hopefully, he will strongly articulate Pakistan’s policy about war on terror by elucidating the sacrifices that Pak army rendered during the operations of Zarb Azab and Radul Fasad. He will also highlight the gains in these operations and will emphasize the point that it is the soil of Afghanistan where the sanctuaries of terrorists exist. In the recent incidents of firing of militants across the border Lieutenant Arsalan and Naib Subedar Azhar Ali lost their lives.

In the past the United States used to apply stick and carrot policy against Pakistan. But this time around President will resort to our arm twisting. We are no longer dependent on the United States for military assistance. However, the financial mismanagement, fiscal indiscipline, widespread corruption and money laundering has put the economy on the ventilator of loan shark, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The renowned economists have predicted the $ 40 billion budgetary support from international donors for the next year budget. The government will approach the IMF for the much needed bailout package. Here the US will apply its leverage of our arm twisting through IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

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