Thursday, 16 June 2011

Pakistan-US Relationship Reaching Breaking Point

Since September 2001 this relationship has had many challenges but according to Pentagon officials this is the worst phase. At present it is so bad that some people on both side see it collapsing very soon.

On the Pakistani side something unprecedented happened recently when General Ashfaq Kayani faced a hostile crowd comprising of his batallion commanders, who took him to task for his support of USA. Even his corp commanders are virulently anti-US, they do not want this military relationship any longer. Thus General Kayani is under tremendous pressure to drop USA as an ally as soon as possible.

Then there are the highly unpopular drone strikes. recently the Pakistani senate demanded the immediate freeze on such attacks while the military made it clear in its statement that it is not in favor of such attacks. USA at the present moment has no plans of scaling back though the Pakistani Government has accused it of using the drones indiscriminately. Government Of Pakistan is clearly uncomfortable with the policy of targeting lower ranked Taliban commanders in drone strikes rather than using them only for high level commanders.

On the other side of the divide are the US lawmakers who had started questioning the integrity of Pakistan long before the Abootabad raid, but that incident has caused all the hell to break loose against the Pakistani establishments double standard policy. Recently the Pakistani military arrested five CIA operatives who had helped the US in the Abbotabad raid. Among them is a Pakistani army major who lived alongside the compound and was responsible for recording the daily activities of Bin-Laden. He and his family have disappeared nobody knows where they are.

This is quite surprising owing to the fact that Pakistan publicly said it wanted to kill Osama but now they are taking action against those people who helped getting him.A U.S. official said the CIA tried to get the doctor and other informants out of harm’s way before their arrests, offering to relocate them. But they refused and “thought they would be okay,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

Even Secretary Gates conceded that U.S. intelligence that had been given to Pakistan in mid-May about insurgent bomb factories in the tribal regions was leaked, and that the facilities were abandoned before military strikes could take place.

Mullen, in the Senate hearing, warned against pushing the Pakistanis too hard. The relationship is a challenge, he agreed, and “some of the criticism is more than warranted.” But “if we walk away from it, it’s my view it’ll be a much more dangerous place a decade from now, and we’ll be back.”

U.S. officials have tried their level best to diffuse the tension as is apparent by the spate of high level meetings visits to Pakistan. Mullen; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gen. James N. Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command; and CIA Director Leon Panetta have all traveled there in recent weeks.On the Pakistani side, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani this week publicly called for a resumption of the U.S.-Pakistan strategic dialogue, suspended several months ago, following meetings with Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides. Before leaving Islamabad on Tuesday, Nides announced disbursement of $190 million in U.S. aid for Pakistani flood victims.

There are many who want this relationship to collapse and their are few who want this relationship to survive. Which way this love affair will go is anybody's guess but mark my words, once U.S.A pulls out of Afghanistan the importance of Pakistan will diminish and even worse will happen if the Republicans come to power. While now Pakistan can take solace from the fact that without it U.S.A cannot survive in Afghanistan but this might not be the case always.