At last, there appears to be some semblance of normalcy in the tense Pak-US relations after President Trump’s issued a softer statement regarding Pakistan in the wake of a successful operation by Pakistani forces to rescue a kidnapped Canadian couple and their kids from tribal areas of Pakistan on October 12. He said, “The early Thursday rescue operation by Pakistani forces, based on actionable intelligence from US authorities was successful. Their release was a positive moment for USA relations with Pakistan. The Pakistani government’s cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif’s US visit also diffused the tension between the two countries, which started after the killing of Osama bin Laden by US forces in Abbotabad, Pakistan in 2011. Asif, in a TV interview on Sunday, also hinted at the improving US-Pakistan relationship by saying, “The recent tweet of President Trump is positive. I think the US Administration finally understands our point of view.” He said that Pakistan has been cooperating with the US for several decades, which proved to be troublesome, as opposed to being beneficial.
President Trump wants Pakistan to ‘do more’ for the regional security. Pakistan’s Military Spokesman General Asif Ghafoor said in a statement on Saturday that there is no room for ‘Do More’. “Now, we will do whatever is better for the country and the region on a priority basis.”
The words ‘do more’ are not just two words but a whole US foreign policy towards Pakistan which was also practiced by President Trump’s predecessors, President Bush and President Obama. Candidly speaking, Pakistan has destroyed its own social fabric and security while trying to meet the demand of ‘do more’.
It might be or is true that the US injected a large amount of funding into Pakistan, sometimes, for planning and executing proxy war against the former USSR in Afghanistan, and sometimes, for the War on Terror to topple Taliban Rule in Afghanistan. It might also be true that Pakistan’s economy was mostly dependent on the American’s financial support during these wars. However, finances should not be placed on a pedestal above states, societies and people.
If we compare Pakistan’s financial benefits, taken from the US, and the losses suffered because of the US, it appears that Pakistan has done a lot and suffered a lot, yet it failed to be acknowledged by the US.
Pakistan opened up sanctuaries of human bombs in almost every street to fight the US war from 1979 to 1989, which resulted in birth of factions such as the Taliban, Jaish e Muhammad, Lashkar Taiba, Lashkar e Jhangvi and plenty of other militant groups to sprout up in the region. The most horrible impact of the Afghan war is that almost all of Pakistani society has turned into a takfiri society which now cannot be de- radicalized even after several decades of reform.
Pakistan being the unfortunate party in this case kept reaping the fruits of its US-Afghan policies and lost leaders like Benazir Bhutto, Bashir Bilour and several others in terror attacks. Pakistan’s military headquarters, GHQ, several air bases, naval installations and intelligence agencies’ offices were attacked by terrorists. It also suffered terror attacks almost everywhere, in schools, mosques, markets, hospitals, courts, houses, parks etc. It lost thousands of its brilliants soldiers, policemen and citizens. The consequences of all this resulted in every building looking like a prison from the outside.
However, Pakistan understands well that eliminating terrorists is essential for its own security, therefore its forces have killed thousands of Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives, handed over hundreds of them to the US and sent thousands of terrorists to jails. The US must understand that ‘doing more’ is now Pakistan’s own need, and must trust Pakistan’s intent and capabilities.