Pak-US relations on the downward trajectory

The United States gave another blow to its partnership with Pakistan in the region for combating global terrorism. Pentagon has made a decision to cancel $ 300 hundred million in aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over the alleged failure to take decisive action against militants. This is a new blow to the deteriorating ties between the two countries ahead of an expected visit by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top US military officer General Josep Dunford to Islamabad. It came after Pakistan’s announcement in support of “Iran’s Nuclear Deal.” The United State has pulled out of that agreement.

The so-called Coalition Support Fund (CSF) was a part of broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year in which he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with  “nothing but lies and deceit.”

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulker said, “Due to lack of Pakistan’s decisive action in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $ 300 million was reprogrammed.” He said another $ 500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan early this year to bring the total withheld amount to $ 800 million.

Pakistan went into partnership with the United States in combating global terrorism after the 9/11 incident. But since then there has been all-along an atmosphere of trust deficit between the two allies although Pakistan was declared a non-NATO ally in this war. Pakistan was repeatedly told reprimanded with “do more” against the terrorist outfits which were alleged to operation from the safe heavens on its territory.

The United States has never appreciated Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in its selfless partnership with the former in combating global terrorism. The allegations about sanctuaries of militant have been refuted multiple times by the top civil and military leadership. Pakistan has successfully carried out comprehensive counter insurgency operations in tribal areas, once a hot bed of militancy. Operation Zarb-e-Azb had restored the government writ in the former tribal areas which have now been merged with the province of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. Law of the land will be extended to these areas in due course of time. The ongoing operation Radul Fasad demonstrates its determination to take the fight against terrorism to the logical end.

The US administration policy on war on terror is not even handed. It appears that strong action against ISIS in Afghanistan does not figure prominently in the South Asia Policy. It has been pretended over the past 18 years that zero tolerance will be shown for all the terror groups but the ground reality tells a different story. The United States had shot down Pakistan proposal to place one of the most wanted terrorist on the United Nations Sanctions Committee List. In July last year, Pakistan requested the UN Security Council Sanction Committee for listing of Jamiatul Ahrar (JUA) Umar Khalid Khurasani aka Abdul Wali, his outfit has already been banned. The Committee took up Pakistan’s request but had to be turned down after the  United States raised objections to it. This is a clear manifestation of double standards on the part of the United States in its much trumpeted war against global terrorism. It has also not used its military might against the ISIS bases in Afghanistan. The stick policy applied against Pakistan reveals the United States want to throw the debris of its losing Afghan war on its all time ally.

The United States is opposed to the “Belt and Road Initiative” of China the flagship project of which is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In an interview with CNBC, secretary of State Mike Pompeo had issued a red alert in July to International Monetary Fund (IMF) not to accommodate Pakistan’s request for fresh bailout package which it badly needs to pay off its external liabilities on account of bulged current account deficit and ballooned foreign debt.  He warned the multilateral donor that IMF loans can not be used to pay back the Chinese loans acquired by the previous Washington favoured PML-N government for CPEC related projects. He cautioned, “There is no rationale for IMF tax dollars, and associated with that of American dollars which are part of IMF funding for those to go to bail out Chinese bonds holders or China itself.”As a part of triangular cold war the United States is pursuing China containment policy which explains the reasons of its desire to prolong its stay in Afghanistan. In direct talks held with the representatives of Afghan Taliban in Doha, a hint was dropped about maintaining military bases there.

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