Rekindling PAK – US ties

The first interaction between the two leaders could mean a change in often-astringent bilateral relations, although it is mainly perceived the Khan-Trump talks will focus on peace efforts in Afghanistan.

Premier of Pakistan Imran khan is going to visit the US president in Washington on July 22 .The visit will not be a formality, this visit holds significance as Pakistan is moving towards a new direction.

We believe in the possibility of US-Pakistan relationship to strengthen regional stability and economic prosperity. There are vast areas for mutually beneficial cooperation which can be promoted as long as the US does not threaten Pakistan’s core interests and positions, especially its rejection of Indian dominance and support for Kashmiri self-determination. Furthermore, US should play role as arbitrator to resolve the Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan wants the US should end the discriminatory restrictions against Pakistan’s strategic programmes as an essential part of any effort to re-establish cooperative relations between the two countries. As a first step, the US should offer Pakistan civilian nuclear cooperation and NSG membership on an equal basis with India. This will be an acid test of America’s resolution towards Pakistan’s strategic capabilities.

Similarly, even though US official aid to Pakistan will be minimal and conditional, Pakistan should make a collective effort to invite US private investment into the vast and untapped economic opportunities that exist in almost every sector of the Pakistan economy, including the SEZs and the privatization programme. Apart from finance, such investment will bring advanced management techniques and production of technology in Pakistan. Hope that the US will perceive the economic force in Asia, unleashed by the Belt and Road Initiative and Asian economic integration, as a strategic opportunity rather than a challenge. US participation could transform the Belt and Road initiative into a globally beneficial enterprise.

Indeed, faced by global threats of climate change, corruption ,terrorism, poverty and nuclear annihilation, and offered the alternative of a cooperation platform for future developmental growth and prosperity, the US, China, Russia and other powers, including India, ultimately would be wise to opt for ‘win-win’ cooperation rather than ‘lose-lose’ confrontation.

Stable U.S.-Pakistan relations are needed to promote peace in Afghanistan. To resolve the intra Afghan and Taliban related issues, establishing the peace in Afghan, all are dependent on Pakistan’s support.

Pakistan’s core interest is the establishment of substantial peace and stability in Afghanistan. After 9/11, the role of Pakistan has been a front- line state in war on terror. Pakistan is major player in afghan peace process. The seventh round of peace talks between the American and Taliban officials in Doha has given hope to both sides for a breakthrough. At least, this is the official position. While the focus of the latest round of negotiations is to reach a provisional schedule for American troops to leave Afghan soil, the Afghan mainland is bleeding from the attacks of militants, which can be seen as a continuation of the spring offensive of Taliban that started early April this year. Pakistan is major contributor in establishing the peace. Pakistan is confident that the Taliban would ultimately agree to an intra-Afghan dialogue and political settlement.

Michael Kugelman, at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson Center, says, “The Trump-Khan meeting will have a single-issue agenda focused almost exclusively on Afghanistan because a peace deal with the Taliban is the biggest goal in South Asia for the U.S.” Now US have great realization that without Pakistan’s assistance Afghan peace process will not be able to achieve the oriented goal.US must appreciate the efforts of Pakistan’s “UNMATCHED” sacrifices and successes in countering regional terrorism. It uses FATF and the IMF against Pakistan. These steps of the trump administration are discouraging.

The prime minister must also discuss most important issue of rising military tensions between the U.S. and Iran, because Pakistan and Iran share a nearly 900-kilometer long border .While there are growing chances of war over the region, the implications can be destructive for countries in the Middle East as well as in Asia. Khan should caution that a US or Israeli assault on Iran will destroy Pakistan’s security environment including any prospect for peace in Afghanistan. It will completely destabilize Pakistan-India relations despite glimmers of possible forward movement.

Pakistan is a main player in the region, has been the sufferer of the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Pakistan is the only country perhaps that has been the direct victim of the war in Afghanistan. Any escalation from this point on between Iran and the US can be dangerous for the regional peace and stability, especially for Pakistan. It is commonly observed that, after fighting for more than 17 years in Afghanistan, the U.S. has come to the conclusion that there is no military solution to end the Afghan war, so Washington must adopt a peaceful resolution to deal the issue with Tehran.

The ongoing war in Afghanistan has badly affected the trade capability and connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia. The war in Afghanistan has already loss of trillions of dollars of the US and billions to the regional economy. Another war can be a serious impact to Asian and Middle Eastern economies. Peace and restraint has to be worked out with a consensus among the regional and global players.

The meeting for July comes at a favorable time. Imran Khan and Donald Trump will meet just as two diplomatic breakthroughs were achieved for Pakistan. Firstly, the United States designated Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a terrorist organization, which is a huge diplomatic victory for Pakistan. Secondly, Pakistan finally lodged charges on Hafiz Saeed and 12 other leaders of Jud, a move that should improve Pakistan’s international standing, particularly with India and the US.

Although the meeting comes at an exceptionally hopeful timing, it is still important for Pakistan to be politic. A rapprochement seems to be in the works – which is long-needed- yet in the brittle world of diplomacy, it would not hurt for Pakistan to be careful.

However, US foreign policy is inward looking; it should be outward looking towards globalized world. An invitation to current US administration to visit Pakistan at an early date, and play a critical peacebuilding role in South Asia in the interests of over a billion and a half people.

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