Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Relations with the United States

Relations with the United States


By Nadeem Malik


The United States has not paid a penny out of the coalition support fund (CSF) since June 2010, almost 40 percent war bills submitted by Islamabad before that were rejected considering inflated, the amounts pledged under the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Law never materialized and so called strategic dialogue process led us to nowhere.

With Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) deliberations and recommendations finalized, some key issues need to be discussed threadbare for few days in the Joint Sitting of the Parliament, instead of acting as a Rubber Stamp to put a seal of approval on whatever has been tabled in the House. The reality so far is that this parliament approves everything which has the blessings of President Asif Zardari, PML (N) Chief Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. The Parliament itself does not bother to use its wisdom on issues which relates to the national security of the motherland.

As a basic rule of thumb, there should be no unnecessary dragging of dispute with the United States, which so far remains our single largest trading partner and a key donor, with powers to hold massive votes on the boards of the Bretons Woods Institutions. It also remains the major arms supplier of our armed forces and we get our beloved F-16s from them. So rationale should prevail.

However, there needs to be no leniency on free-for-all CIA operations in Pakistan. There should be no place for private contractors of the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the State Department. Americans should never be allowed to recruit locals for espionage in tribal areas or any other part of Pakistan (They are freely doing it since 9/11). There should be no scope of US Special Operation Forces in Tarbella Ghazi or no Trainers on our bases and there should be no imbedded soldiers on our land.

NATO supplies should be resumed provided that are fully monitored, a log is maintained at entry and exit points and a transit fee is charged, plus a road user tax. The US maybe asked to develop automated border points along the Afghan border for entry/exit of such goods; with guarantee that they will not find their way back into Pakistani market (Many such goods are being sold in Bara Markets).

Pakistan should also facilitate peace talks with the Taliban, provided all Afghan factions, like Mullah Omar, Haqqanis, Hikmatyar and other Pashtuns are fully represented. The US should guarantee that Indian consulates in Afghanistan close to Pak-Afghan border would wound up hostile activities in the Pakistani tribal belt and Balochistan. The US also need to pledge that special terrorist camps in areas like Kunnar, Nuristan and Khost where anti-Pakistan Taliban factions are being provided logistical support for regrouping, training and funding seize to exist.

Pakistan should not be used as a launching pad to attack any neighboring country, including Afghanistan and mainly Iran. Any hostile activity by groups close to the American CIA/MI6 or any other hostile agency in Balochistan must come to an end immediately.

Last, but not the least, if US wants us to be treated as equal partners in the region, the US Administration has to announce a clear policy of equality in civil nuclear cooperation, at par with India. Washington has to withdraw the threat of sanctions on Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project, as half of Pakistan faces blackouts every day or provide us guaranteed supplies at competitive rates for next 25 years in the shape of LNGs, TAPI Gas Pipeline and investments in our hydel generation capacity.

Pakistan, as a matter of principle, needs to address the issue of terrorism as a whole. Pakistani soil should not be allowed as a playground to train Jihadis for Afghanistan and should never be allowed to be exploited by any armed-radical groups for extortions, ransom and kidnappings. The future of our people is peace and security not in gang wars and suicide training camps.



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Nadeem Malik Live is a flagship current affairs programme of Samaa.TV. The programme gives independent news analysis of the key events shaping future of Pakistan. A fast paced, well rounded programme covers almost every aspect, which should be a core element of a current affairs programme. Discussion with the most influential personalities in the federal capital and other leading lights of the country provides something to audience to help them come out with their own hard hitting opinions.

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