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America’s frustration

Published Jun 23, 2012 11:07pm


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IF the last few days are anything to go by, the US-Pakistan relationship is in fact as fraught as we’ve all been fearing it might be. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta implied an apology for Salala is not forthcoming; the American commander in Afghanistan said yet another attack there bore signs of the Haqqani network; and a report based on information from unnamed American officials claimed the US has been considering raids into Pakistani territory to combat militants on this side of the border. Meanwhile, a State Department report has accused Pakistan of making life difficult for American diplomats stationed here. All in all, the last few days have indicated that the mood in Washington is now one of exasperation and growing impatience.

Whatever the reasons behind it, it is unfortunate that that mood was expressed by several parts of the American government and military, both through public statements and what could have been deliberate releases of information to the US media, during a week of political crisis in Islamabad. Especially the reports about possible ground operations into Pakistan — which would be hugely damaging, given Pakistan’s position that its sovereignty not be violated — have raised suspicions of ‘leaks’ from Washington. Problematic even at the best of times, these were doubly disturbing this week, given all the other upheavals at home.

In particular, the Haqqani network issue has come to the forefront again. After each terrorist incident in Afghanistan that follows a certain pattern the US can accuse the Haqqani network and Pakistan can continue to deny that its soil was used. But the issue is no longer whether or not any given attack was launched from Pakistan. The larger picture is that this militant outfit is one of the issues that is preventing the normalisation of the relationship, and that unless it is addressed, American suspicions about Pakistani intentions will not go away. Pakistan has also officially said it will not tolerate its soil being used to launch attacks against any other country. It is time, then, to finally tackle safe havens in North Waziristan. Whether resource constraints or fear of blowback inside Pakistan, the challenges in the way of doing that now need to be addressed — with American advice and assistance. In fact, working jointly on the issue could become one way to repair ties. This is, of course, a two-way street; Friday’s attack on a check post in Upper Dir in which two Pakistani soldiers were killed is believed to have originated from across the border. Now is the time to work out a close working relationship on cross-border militancy, a project that could help rebuild the relationship in general.

Comments (16) Closed

Iftikhar Husain Jun 24, 2012 11:51am
We can not blame others all the time it is in our interest to look after our own interests to suit our situation. Us and NATO are too big to argue we must compromise and make the best for us.
irfan Jun 24, 2012 11:23am
This editorial adresses the concerns of US but does not adress the growing concern of Pakistan civalian and military establishment.........what the US and their allies have been doing agaisnt Pakistan.
amsatp Jun 24, 2012 03:30pm
May be Pakistanis (not just its military establishment) should first figure out how is Haqqani network an asset when it comes to Pakistan's security and well-being. Once that is known I am sure Pakistan will realize how irrational its behavior has been when it comes to terrorist networks. I am quite positive that generally intelligent and enterprising Pakistanis will figure this out soon.
gfellow Jun 25, 2012 12:54am
When I was a kid, my father taught me how to drive a 2 wheeler scooter. His advise to me, if you see a bigger vehicle on your tail, or if any other bigger vehicle wants to overtake you even if you have the right of way, get aside because if you land in an accident, you will always loose. I have followed that advise since the last 40 years. Pakistan needs to do the same.
Sikander Jun 24, 2012 03:17pm
Pakistan's concerns are not addressed in this editorial. The frustration is there due to the US involving itself in a Civil War and its behavior vis a vis Pakistan. The US "concerns" are not valid and are politically motivated to hide from its own shortcomings and failures. Nothing has ever stopped the US in controlling the border; but there are hardly any troops at the border. And neither is anyone or anything stopping the US in intercepting the supposed militants when they are on their way to Kabul. This means the rhetoric has no substance. It's comical to think that border management is Pakistan's duty when the US can't even control the Mexican border. If it wants a more peaceful border it has to dedicate bodies and lives which it is not willing to do. Good behavior by the US can bring about a positive trajectory in the relationship.
Usman Ksana Jun 24, 2012 10:54am
very poor advise ,the editor should give advise to Americans that they should block the border along with Pakistan so that haqqanis couldnt enter in Afghanistan instead of accusing Pakistan .
I.Butt Jun 24, 2012 02:45pm
Even if Pakistan make evacuate all the City of Wazirastan, Americans will still be looking for an other reason to press Pakistan because their agenda is not to solve but keep this problem alive until the real target would be achieved. No reason, even if Pakistan would comply with to meet Americans demands to make them happy, they would not be because Pakistan is already been chosen as an enemy this time for their strategic plans ( Resources ) what so ever against Russia or China, batter to consult with both Russia and China to create a kind of balance for negosiations to resolve this situation as everyone knows they never apologies the weak one ( Like Iraq, Libya etc )
dr zahoor Jun 24, 2012 02:27pm
There was a road side accident between an emirati person and a Pakistani. After investigation the Traffic Police announced that it was a mistake by the local emiratus person which caused the accident but if this Pakistani would not come here the accident will not happen. Same is true with Americans if they are not there; there will be no attacks against them. Best is they shall leave and let Afghans take care of their country and nobody should interfere in their affars.
Ali Jun 24, 2012 10:14pm
Why don't we learn lesson from Iran. This is one country who dare speak in front of Americans with no fear. It is because they are self sufficient and are least bothered to any ongoing or upcoming sanctions. Pakistan has every thing any one ever wants yet we fall victim to our self. Jago Pakistani !
abbas Jun 24, 2012 09:42pm
DAWN's Editorial staff should be concerned about & putting forward the "PAKISTAN's FRUSTRATIONS" and the secrifices and sufferings inflected by the US arragence NOT writing these editorial after editorial working for the US interests or so called frusterations what ever they are.
M. Asghar Jun 24, 2012 09:40am
The editorial is a good analysis of the situation between Pakistan and US, but it does not go to the root of the problem: US want to destabilise the nuclear Pakistan for their geopolitical reasons in the region.
Shahzad Naseem Jun 24, 2012 06:18pm
What are the Americans doing to stop the Haqqani fighters from attacking targets hundreds of miles inside Afghanistan once they have crossed the border from Pakistan. Would they like the Pakistani army to patrol inside Afghanistan as well? The Americans, just like the Russians before them, have failed completely in Afghanistan and are now desperately looking for someone to blame for their failure.
Andy Jun 24, 2012 01:23pm
When will people stop pointing fingers to others for their own mess?
Feroz Jun 24, 2012 07:33am
Who is listening to this advise ?
Jaihoon Jun 24, 2012 08:00am
Pakistani officials would do well to heed your advice and stop playing a double game and renounce hunting with hounds and running with hare, which is fraught with dire implication for Pakistan's survival.
ahmed41 Jun 24, 2012 08:05am
" -----Pakistan’s position that its sovereignty not be violated----" Not only is this the stated position , but should * sovereignty * be violated bluntly, as by relentless Drone -strikes , then at the time of the next elections, * sovereignty * may evolve into an election issue.