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Straining US-Pakistan relations

By Qura tul ain Hafeez

A friend in need is a friend indeed. However, in case of US-Pak relations, this proverb may prove wrong. Pakistan assumed itself a good friend of the US for the last couple of decades. But the current scenario shows that there is a shift in the US policy towards South Asian Allies. Today it clearly does not acknowledge this friendship or the past efforts made by Pakistan for War on Terror (WOT).

There was a time when the US was supporting Pakistan against the terrorist groups while Pakistan too did a remarkable job in the WOT, which is continuing till date. However, recently instead of recognizing the efforts and sacrifices made by Pakistan, the US ambassador to the UN called Pakistan “a state sponsoring terrorism” and that “Washington cannot tolerate any government that shelters terrorists”. Perhaps, the US is now chastising Pakistan because of its new regional friend i.e. India.

While ignoring Pakistan’s efforts and hard work in WOT, the US alliance with India became stronger, thus resulting in the Indo-US nuclear deal and NSG wavier. It allowed India to access international nuclear market. Instantaneously the US allowed India to embark upon massive militarization, and facilitated in establishing close relations with Afghanistan in the wake of bringing peace. Indo-US partnership is further evolving with the major aim to counter China. Moreover it reveals an operative solicitation for India to perform an even inordinate role in South Asian region. US unambiguously identify India’s domination over South Asia and wants India to become a regional safeguard. US ambassador to UN Nikki Haley gave a very harsh speech against Pakistan, which raised the concerns of Pakistani nation and hurt the sentiments of the Pakistani people who sacrificed their lives in the US’ imposed war against terrorism. Maybe, Nikki is being loyal to her parental country India as she belongs to an American Sikh family of Indian origin; however, the UN forum is not established for the demonstration of personal affiliations.

In her statement, she claimed that United States is “really going to need” India’s help in stabilizing Afghanistan”. In such a case, the question gets posed as to what has the US been doing in Afghanistan for the last 17 years? All the national security issues which Pakistan has been facing from past decades are due to its war against terrorism. To do further damage, India exploited the situation and sent a spy into Pakistan to carry out terrorist activities as is evident from the confession made by the spy.

Ms. Nikki is evidently buttering India while saying that, “US needs India’s help to keep an eye on Pakistan.” But one cannot be sorry to raise the questions such as “Is India really that much capable and does it deserve that respectable status to keep an eye on Pakistan? Here is an effective reminder for Ms. Haley in the face of Indian spies carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan’s different areas, Kashmir, Baluchistan province, and near Pakistan’s boarder adjacent to Afghanistan. Starting from Sarabjit Singh, Kashmir Singh, Ravindra Khushik, Sheikh Shammim to KhulbushanYadhav who have been responsible for terrorist attacks on Pakistan’s soil.

Apparently India shows that it has been playing its part to manage instability in Afghanistan but actually Indian influence is becoming a primary source of instability and insecurity in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan. This situation leads to various questions such as ‘why India is doing so and why is the US supporting the cause? Are India and the US playing the policy of divide and rule? Both countries have their hegemonic interest in the region and India doesn’t want Pakistan to influence the region owing to its deep rooted hostility with Pakistan.

The current scenario shows the unabated geo-strategic importance of Pakistan due to CPEC project. In the long term counter policies against China and Pakistan, India does not want Pakistan and Afghanistan to be united. Simultaneously, the US wants to contain China’s presence in the region. Therefore, the US is using India as an instrumental counter-force against Chinese influence in the region.

Supporting her arguments the US ambassador to the UN said that “India is a nuclear power and nobody gives it a second thought. Why? Because India is a democracy that threatens no one”. This statement has two aspects: One; does India really not threaten any one? According to an estimate of South Asian terrorism Portal 2014, there are more than 180 terrorist insurgents and extremist groups who have been operating in India for past 20 years. Moreover, as per the US’ Department of State, most of them have been blacklisted by the US itself and the European Union in 2012. Moreover, Modi’s government and NSCM-K is a declared terrorist organization as per India’s Act of 1967. NSCN-K has resorted to terrorism by killing innocent civilians and security forces and engaging in other violent activities. A few years back Modi was blacklisted and prohibited to travel to the US. Then how can one expect from such government that sponsors terrorism, to keep an eye on a country with which it has been in a hostile relation since its independence. Keeping in mind the details mentioned above one cannot categories India as a state that promotes peace without threaten any one.

While concluding the above analysis, one can infer that the US criterion for terrorism is very biased and it changes its allies with its changing interests with the passage of time. Pakistan has always been against terrorism and it will continue its efforts against this root cause to cure its national security objectives. The objective behind the US policies for Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, is to prevent these countries from enjoying prosperity. Because, once they rise they will become competitors against the US and its European allies.

Qura tul ain Hafeez has an M Phil in international relations from Quaid-I Azam University Islamabad. She currently works as a researcher at Strategic Vision Institute in Islamabad. Her domain of work include China as an emerging global power, Sino-Pakistan strategic and civil nuclear relations, South Asian strategic issues, regional integration, nuclear issues including nuclear non-proliferation and NSG, foreign policy analysis, and international politics.

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