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Daily Times

Published Date: Jan 9, 2018

Pakistan should give a well-thought-out response to Trump’s new year’s tweet

Speakers at a seminar on Monday said that the cooperation between Pakistan and America for a stable Afghanistan and peace in the region was imperative. Therefore, an effective and meaningful engagement on the diplomatic front must be revived and beefed up so that the forces with a destructive agenda could not benefit from this vacuum and cause further unrest and instability in the region.
The speakers expressed these views at a seminar titled ‘The Implications of New Low on the Diplomatic Front of Pak-US Relations’ held by Sustainable Development policy Institute (SDPI) today.
Speaking on the occasion Senator Pakistan’s People Party (PPP) Farhatullah Babar said President Trump might be mad but there was also method in his madness. Instead of responding angrily Pakistan should give a calculated, measured and methodical response. Babar reminded that Trump’s New Year tweet was preceded by announcement of new rules of engagement, of ‘unilateral action’ and resumption of drone strikes. The suspension of all security assistance on Jan 5 was therefore no surprise, he said. Pakistan’s response of alternately waving olive branch and brandishing threats was not policy but dithering.
The Dec 4 ISPR statement expressing readiness to look into the possibility of miscreants and the seizing of assets of affiliated charities of militant organizations might have been positive but had not been backed by concrete policy measures. Aid suspension is not a big issue, he said “the steep decline in relations is the issue”. The 33 billion dollars over a period of 15 years touted by Trump amounts to no more than five months of our national budget.
About contradictions he said that on the one hand we deny existence of sanctuaries and on the other we say that we do not want to bring Afghan war into Pakistan. If Afghan Taliban was not in Pakistan how will the fight against them enter Pakistan?
On the one hand we ask for addresses of the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan and on the other could not investigate as to who gave CNIC/ passport to Mullah Mansoor Akhtar. The former Advisor Sartaj Aziz had publicly admitted that some Taliban leaders were not only living in Pakistan but had also been extended some facilities.
He called for increasing the civilian input in policy formulation and lamented that when sometime back Defense Minister talked of joint operation against militants it was promptly rebuffed by ISPR. He said that the recent Senate policy guidelines also stressed the need for a verifiable mechanism to address mutual allegations of cross border terrorism. “We also need to make progress in the Mumbai attack case as well as investigations in the attack on Pathankot airbase last year.” BRICS declaration and Ashraf Ghani’s decision banning Pakistani trucks should have served as eye openers. After suspending security assistance he foresaw travel curbs on security personnel to the US if the headlong plunge in relations continued.
Ayaz Wazir, senior diplomat, on the occasion emphasized on the need for looking inward besides reviving the diplomatic engagement with America. However, he said, President Trump, was pushing the sole super power towards isolation as in international diplomacy, there was no room for such expressions. He said that to win the war in Afghanistan, America has to work with Pakistan, where Pakistan had the opportunity to tailor its strategy according to its own national interest. He said that both the countries could remained as ally and thus to work for peaceful solution in Afghanistan.
General (R) Amjad Shoaib, defense Analyst while sharing his views said the peace in Afghanistan was in the larger interest of Pakistan, whereas the US had no interest in peace. He said that Pakistan was the only country who has the pure interest in peaceful and stable Afghanistan. The process of Afghanistan’s peace negotiations was continuously sabotage by the US since the problem begins, and killing of Mullah Akhter Masood was the last nail in coffin of peace talks.
Earlier, Romina Khursheed Alam, MNA PML-N, said that Pakistan was being maligned unfairly. She said that Trump administration was turning a blind eyes on state terrorism of India on innocent Kashmiri people, which tells the double standard of the current US administration.
Gen (R) Assad Durrani, also expressed his views on the topic and said that Pakistan should respond to President Trump’s tweet at different levels and should look towards new regional players and form new alliances.