Bill To Botch US-Pak Ties | Editorial

Andy Biggs, a Republican, has introduced a bill seeking delisting of Pakistan as America’s major non-NATO ally. However, the timing of the introduction of the bill is such that the Congress will turn it down. It is true that bilateral relations under Trump presidency are an all-time low, yet despite the rough patch in the ties of the two states, the United States (US) still needs Pakistan’s help in Afghanistan.

The on-going Afghan Peace Talks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) prove that the US needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs America. The terms and conditions of the bill are aimed at holding any president more accountable in case s/he declares Pakistan America’s ally. Nevertheless, it seems that Mr Biggs’ attempt will go in vain. It is highly improbable that the US Congress will accept the tabled bill in the time when the Trump administration is striving for achieving a win-win situation for itself and the Afghan government in Kabul it supports.

The fact that the Taliban’s reluctance to sit with the representatives of the Ghani’s government shows that the US will be more dependent on Pakistan in the coming days. In fact, of all people, it was the US president Donald Trump himself who requested Pakistan to assist America in bringing the Taliban to a dialogue table. This is not the first time that a bill aimed at rethinking US-Pakistan ties and requiring the certification of the US administration has been moved in the US Congress. In the past too, acts like ‘defence authorisation acts’ had called for the administration to certify that Pakistan was helping, instead of hurting, the fight against terrorism before coalition support funds were spent.

Nevertheless, it is surprising that the US legislators are yet unsure and unconvinced of Pakistan’s sincere efforts in bringing stability back to Afghanistan. Moreover, the attitude of the congressmen like Andy Biggs show that the practice of scapegoating other countries and nations for disastrous American interventions abroad is still prevalent in America’s collective psyche.

Pakistan under the incumbent Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has already made it clear that Pakistan will not be a client state of America. Islamabad’s new position is that it wants to establish terms with all countries on equal footings as a sovereign nation. So, it does not matter much if the US Congress approves the tabled bill or rejects it. Nevertheless, the ground situation in Afghanistan, probably, will not allow Washington to deteriorate its already botched terms with Islamabad further.


January 15, 2019

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