Saturday, June 11, 2016
Downturn in Pakistan-USA Relations
June 11, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi
One can compare the visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the United States (October 2015) with that of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (June 6-8). That visit was viewed as embarrassment for Pakistan. It appears that Pakistan is drifting away from US and India is getting closer to the United States.
The ovation and welcome that Indian prime minister received is rather overwhelming and is reflective of the cordiality and importance that India has attained in United States. As prime minister this is Modi’s fourth visit to the United States.
The United States lifted its three-decade-long ban on the sale of nuclear materials to India in 2005. While America has announced its support for India to become member of the prestigious Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), Pakistan has been left out.
NSC is a coalition of 48 nuclear-supplying nations that ‘advocates nonproliferation by controlling nuclear exports’. The Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) will meet on June 20 to consider Indian and Pakistani requests for becoming its members. The United States has already announced its support for India while China and several other countries are opposing. China and many other members of NSG support Pakistan’s position. In the meantime while China has opposed Indian joining the nuclear club, she has also called upon the international community to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In the wake of growing tension between Pakistan and America resulting from the May 21 American drone strike killing Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour, two top-level American officials are coming to Pakistan today. The US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Olson is one of them. They will hold talks with the civil and military leadership on a range of topics including Pak-USA relations and regional issues. With the American visitors Pakistan should emphatically present the case of discrimination by the American leadership in supporting Indian membership for NSG while denying the same right for Pakistan.
The relations between India and USA have all along been robust in trade, sharing of technology and mutual goodwill in other spheres. Several agreements have been signed between India and United States during Prime Minister Modi's current visit to USA
Indian prime minister has been given the honor of addressing the joint session of the American Congress on June 8. In his 45 minutes long rhetorical address with persistent clapping by the audience, he has outlined that India and Untied States were natural military partners and can work together in all domains including fight against terrorism. His address exuded an element of praise and rather sycophancy for “America’s long-standing relationship with India”.
He indirectly accused Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism and particularly named Lashkar-e-Tayyaba as a Pakistani terrorist group. There are some fundamental problems or bottlenecks that have created this bizarre twist of circumstances heightening Indo- American affinity and downgrading that of Pakistan between and USA ostensibly the traditional allies thus far.
There are several factors for the change of American heart in favor of India and aloofness towards Pakistan. One biggest factor is the growing friendship and cooperation between Pakistan and China exemplified by the creation of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) linking China with the Persian Gulf directly.
Also it is the inept and incompetent leadership of Pakistan that cannot express forcefully and convincingly Pakistan’s stances in international parleys and meetings. Our prime minister doesn’t have the making of a politician or a diplomat. He lacks the skill of communication and articulation. He lacks the talent to articulate, emphasize and engage in fruitful long parleys and interaction in the best interests of Pakistan.
He cannot speak without a chit of points in hand. That is what we witnessed in his meeting with president Obama. It was rather shameful for the whole Pakistani nation. That note must have been written by one of his aids. His caretakers of the foreign affairs too lack the popular support for not being elected or having outstanding caliber.
Would Nawaz Sharif have the capability and courage to address the American Congress in English as Modi did and other eminent leaders from many courtiers have been doing? Even if he is given that offer he would shun it. At best Nawaz Sharif is excellent as a good behind the door manipulator and businessman.
He is a past master in buying the henchmen to do the errands. As far to debate and discuss the world affairs and interstate relations eloquently and with knowledge he is simply nincompoop. But in that situation he should appoint an intelligent and versatile expert of international relations as a full time Foreign Minister.
Nawaz Sharif has the basic flaw of a fear-stricken and apprehensive mindset to keep an enlightened Foreign Minister, an independent defense minister, an unbiased chief of justice and a vigorous chief of the army staff. While the case of Raheel Sharif is different as he doesn’t like to delve in behind the curtain politicking, the fact is that in the past Nawaz Sharif has been in conflict with all office holders of these portfolios.
That is why instead of appointing a full time Foreign Minister; he has kept two foot soldiers to look after the most prestigious and important of all the ministries. These two guys namely Sartaj Aziz and Tariq Fatimi have no business to be handling the foreign affairs. Their counterparts are aware that they don’t represent the people nor have come to that position through the popular ballot.
With due respect and without any malice towards these guys one may say that they are non entities. They are spent forces and they should not be handling the sensitive domain of foreign affairs. Yet they have been posted there purposely by the prime minister because they are his docile mouthpieces and have neither interest nor involvement in promoting the cause of the Pakistan.
With a failing health and enormous pressure Nawaz Sharif should be much weaker by will and health to carry on the burden of state. Instead of keeping at his door tried horses and spent forces, he should bring forth dynamic and eminent persons with a reservoir of knowledge about the international affairs. They should have the inimitable skill, inborn ability and persuasive talent to converse with foreign interlocutors and leaders to promote good will and national interests with vigor and emphasis and candor.
As such Pakistan’s foreign policy and dealing with interstate relations has gone dormant and sluggish. There are horrendous and elephantine issues inter-alia the solidarity, economy, defense and Pakistan’s robust participation and engagement with the rest of the world. With the dummy guys these supreme goals can neither be promoted nor projected in a desirable manner.