By Jawad Akram
United States’ (U.S.) President Donald Trump’s policy speech about South Asia has been the most discussed topic everywhere this week. While addressing on Monday from Fort Myer military base in Arlington, he turned aside all his previous policies. He said a lot and went on saying without any limitation. In his entire speech he adopted the most hostile attitude towards Pakistan. Though he condemned the previous policies of Obama administration also but his lashing out at Pakistan was matchless.
Trump acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices very briefly “The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognize those contributions and those sacrifices.”
Beside this small statement, Pakistan remained in the crosshairs of Trump’s Afghan Strategy. In that televised ultimatum, Trump rebuked Pakistan in the most stinging terms, saying “the U.S. would no longer allow it to provide safe havens for terrorists. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” Trump said. “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.”He also announced a surprising call for India to do more in Afghanistan. On this he said, “We want (India) to help us more with Afghanistan.”
In his long narrative, U.S. President Donald Trump did not bothered to give some space to the Pakistani claim of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) safe havens at Afghan soil, responsible for thousands of casualties within Pakistan. Neither he mentioned any future plan to tackle those TTP sanctuaries at Afghan soil. Instead of pulling the wanes of India regarding terrorism in Pakistan, he encouraged India to do more in same style. It looked as Trump administration is totally disinterested in peace in Pakistan; they want peace only in Afghanistan. If Pakistan is burning in terrorism, they have no issue even Afghan land becomes launching pad for terrorism in Pakistan. Rather U.S. is happy in encouraging and supporting Pakistan’s archrival India to continue its current role. Trump, even, didn’t show any concern about U.S. drone attacks on Pakistani soil.
Now the question arises why Pakistan has gradually slipped to bad books of U.S. and India has achieved an honorable status in U.S. foreign policies.
Most important, it’s a total failure of Pakistan’s Foreign Office that could not establish meaningful ties with Trump Administration. From 2013-17, Pakistan’s Foreign Office, under the direct supervision of ex- Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with Adviser Sartaj Aziz, remained dormant for most of the time, while its Indian adversary under the patronage of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj remained extremely active on all forums in world. Pakistani ex- premier Nawaz Sharif was lambasted many times by Pakistan Peoples Party and many others for not having any Foreign Minister but Nawaz Sharif never paid heed to all this. He always turned a deaf year to such critics. It seems that an intentional induced weakness in Foreign Ministry has put Pakistan into such complex and tough scenario.
Furthermore, it’s a history that Americans never proved to be all-weather friends of Pakistan. They always left Pakistan in difficult situations. Pakistan just remained a ‘Disliked Ally’ for U.S., while India, besides being an ally to Russia remained close to U.S. as well.
China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is also the cause of U.S., India’s and Afghanistan’s fury as it may balance little bit American hegemony in region. CPEC will also deeply involve China regarding security issues of Pakistan, especially of Indian sponsored terrorism using Afghan soil, as claimed by Pakistani officials repeatedly.
Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenals and missile capabilities to deter any Indian aggression is also unacceptable for U.S., India and many others in world. Trumps recent speech is also a veiled message about Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities, which he also mentioned in his speech as “We must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world, for that matter.”
Jawad Akram is an International Affairs Analyst. He has done Masters in International Relations.
He can be reached at email@example.com or @jawad5677