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Pak-US Ties | Editorial

A US delegation visited Pakistan’s General Headquarters (GHQ) on Thursday to hold formal consultations on the Pak-US Strategic Level Defence Dialogue and, according to the official statement, the visitors reaffirmed their government’s commitment to a long-term, mutually-beneficial security partnership with Pakistan. Yet there are signs that the partnership is under at least a little bit of strain. For only recently a Republican lawmaker moved a bill in the 117th US Congress which sought to strip Pakistan of the status of major non-nato ally of the United States, which was awarded in the wake of the partnership in the so-called war on terror shortly after 9/11.

This legislation had little support, not the least because it came at a “moment of uncertainty” over the incoming Biden administration’s posture towards Islamabad, but it still speaks of a changing mood in Washington which has been increasingly documented over the past few years. Sure, there are no risks at the moment because they need Pakistan’s help to get out of Afghanistan as cleanly as possible. But who knows what is to happen once they don’t need Pakistan’s help in the region any longer, just like the last time when the Americans suddenly left after the so-called Afghan jihad.

Surely nobody understands better than Pakistan the transactional nature of any partnership with the Americans. Fortunately the government here has been far-sighted enough to throw its lot with the Chinese as the international order, particularly in South Asia, begins to undergo a monumental change. And in the new scheme of things China is the biggest player, one which America is seeking to undermine with its new friend in the area – India. Clearly Pakistan has read the writing on the wall and prepared itself accordingly. No better proof of Pak-Chinese partnership proving successful than timely completion of all phases of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) so far. There is, however, going to be some concern about our fiscal health in case we move too far away from the American camp. After all, it is not just Uncle Sam whose help keeps us solvent in hard times, but the goodwill is also essential to keep international financial institutions (IFIs) like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) happy enough to engage in bailout programs. That is why it is extremely important for Pakistan to take full advantage of trade pacts with the Chinese to make our economy as self-sufficient as possible and as quickly as possible. The strategic partnership with the United States seems on borrowed time.

Source: https://dailytimes.com.pk/711253/pak-us-ties-2/

January 11, 2021

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