By Rehman Malik
I am not surprised to see the demand of do more by Mr Rex as I have firm views that this syndrome of “do more Pakistan” has some motives behind it. This persistent demand from USA means that the USA will continue to blame Pakistan for not doing enough against terrorism and worsening the Pak Afghan relations on this issue, providing leverage to India to expand its interest in Afghanistan.
USA wants to make India as military might of this region to carry out American Agenda. I strongly support the response of Khawaja Mohamed Asif, the foreign minister of Pakistan, to treat us on equal basis and without dictating the terms of operations.
I recollect a lot from my most recent visit to USA at the event of oath taking ceremony of President Donald Trump, and my meetings with various think-tanks had led me to believe that a hostile situation vis-à-vis Pakistan persists in various circles of Washington DC.
It was not surprising for me to understand that a negative perception has been built in the US using the obsession of presence of Haqqani network in Pakistan, which the Indian lobby in US, has very successfully created against Pakistan. It was evident from the bitter reality that Mr. Barack Obama as President of the US had made two visits to India while not a single visit as President made to Pakistan during his eight years tenure in office, which proves that U.S had since long been side lining Pakistan, preferring India by ignoring numerous sacrifices, which Pakistan has rendered in this War on Terror. It may continue unless there is a common strategy to smash the terrorists, which now looks not possible in view of the growing geo-political situation in South-Asia and US preferring India over Pakistan. The present visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is nothing but a follow-up pressure for Pakistan, which the previous governments of USA continued to exert on Pakistan after the heart breaking tragedy of 9/11.
Following the policy of preferring India and Afghanistan over Pakistan, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spent more time in both countries and he spent only few hours in Pakistan though it was the first ever trip by a senior official of Trump administration. Pressing Pakistan, the statement issued by US State Department said, that the Secretary reiterated President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country.” Speaking India’s language and supporting the role of India in Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated in New Delhi that President Donald Trump is scheduled to travel to Pakistan and India, during his current trip to South Asia and during his visit to Pakistan he would discuss with the Pakistani officials the role of India in Afghanistan.
Prior to US Secretary State visit, while opposing the CPEC, the Defence Secretary James Mattis had stated that the ‘One Belt One Road’ also passes through disputed territory, as has been the claim of India. Not long ago but this year in August while outlining a new strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia, President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror” and threatened that “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan”. The analysis of the above few anti-Pakistan statements from US administration is a clear message to Pakistan that USA even today stands with India and not Pakistan and will continue the policy of pressing Pakistan and demanding to do more. USA will do utmost efforts to gear in India in Afghanistan, which will ultimately be detrimental for Pakistan particularly in the view of facts that India has been using the soil of Afghanistan for terror activities inside Pakistan.
Today, Pakistan stands in an odd situation despite of losing 60 thousands innocent people both civilians and troops, women and children in this war on terror and allowing USA to use its infrastructure, which included roads, airports, seaports and airspace. The rough calculations by the economic experts of Pakistan indicate that USA owes minimum US$400 million for using the soil, infrastructure of Pakistan. There is no free lunch in the world and how could America expect to use all these facilities in Pakistan without any payment.
The amount so far US has paid to Pakistan for war on terror is $14.573 billion, which US has always labelled as an ‘aid’ for Pakistan which was never on account of any ‘aid’ but actually the Coalition Support Fund CSF), which is to be reimbursement to Pakistan for expenses for facilities made available to the coalition forces.
Pakistanis feel left out and dejected to perceive that all efforts, sacrifices and services of our country seem to have gone wasted obviously for the reasons that USA have been bashing Pakistan rather than to appreciating its pivotal role in America’s War on Terror. Pakistan will be within its rights to say no to the demand “Do More” as Pakistan has done more than “Do More” and it is the time for USA to recognize the sacrifices of Pakistan and not to pressurize it by asking “Do More” at a time when Pakistan itself is suffering internal polarization, political uncertainty, threats on the borders both on Eastern and Western, left with destroyed infrastructure and shaking economy due to its unwise involvement in War on Terror on one phone call from Bush Administration and today we are continuously suffering for that one ‘yes’. Preferring, supporting and militarizing India and invoking its role in already damaged and unstable Afghanistan is a clear indication and it looks that that Mr. Donald Trump and his administration are not serous to restore peace in this region but aiming to create more space for India to put more chaos in the region as India will play role of ‘agent of chaos’ in Afghanistan to harm Pakistan and the region at large.
It is my sincere advice to USA to look at the situation of South Asia with impartial mind and weigh the role of Pakistan in War in Terror and all your indicators will lead you to believe that it is Pakistan which helped USA and not India.
Mr. Rex the people of Pakistan are once again disappointed to hear your “Do More” demand. Please come out from this syndrome of do more and let us work together to smash terrorists. Moreover, I strongly urge USA to accept Pakistan as a victim and stop being unappreciative of Pakistan’s efforts in eliminating terrorism.
Lastly, the discrimination against Pakistan must also stop and US must work with Pakistan on equal basis to fight against terrorists. Because this is the only way terrorism can be defeated permanently from the region.
(The author is PPP leader, former interior minister and member of Pakistan Senate.)