WEB DESK: With arguably infamous ‘do more’ mantra rendered infructuous in the wake of the operation Zarb-e-Azb Army Chief General Raheel Sharif now expects his American counterparts to do their part.
If at the Pentagon the two sides focused on how to co-ordinate their efforts against global menace of terrorism, at the CIA headquarters the lingering instability in Afghanistan came under discussion. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is said to have underlined “the strategic importance of Pakistan-US relations” and that the United States valued relations with Pakistan as “independent of [its ties] with all other countries.”
But such a generality doesn’t fit with Pakistan’s perspective, because it expects of Washington to weigh in with India and stop heating up the common borders. Pakistan has already passed on to the American side solid information as proof of Indian intelligence agency RAW’s involvement in fomenting terrorism in Pakistan.
Being the principal promoter of India as regional power the United States may like to help the Modi government revisit its relations with its neighbours including Pakistan in order to obtain regional peace by resolving outstanding issues, including Kashmir.
On Afghanistan, the chief told his hosts though Pakistan would very much like to re-initiate peace and reconciliation process, but for that to happen the environment has to be conducive, which as of now is not there. And that too is of India’s making, because with tensions on eastern borders Pakistan’s attention would be diverted away from Afghanistan.
Who should know better than the Americans that the elected Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani is hostage to the machinations of anti-Pakistan civil-military coterie in Kabul which has flourished in chaos and anarchy. It is they who provided sanctuaries to the Taliban who fled the Zarb-e-Azb in tribal areas, and now use these fugitives at will to keep anti-Pakistan pot boiling.No wonder then as the CoAS set out for the United States they started shelling raids on Angoor Ada and some other points in Pakistan.
However, one is not of the view that the ‘dynamics relating to civilian-military ties within Pakistan’ as reportedly predicted by some analysts, are also a matter of discussion in Washington, DC.
Whether or not the civilian administration and the army are on the same page that is Pakistan’s internal issue, and there is no reason the army chief would be tempted to discuss this with his interlocutors in the United States. But that having said the fact cannot be denied that it was entirely out of place for the government’s spokesman to negatively comment on the army chief’s sum-up at the Corps Commanders’ conference last week.
And why should one of the Prime Minister’s advisors be clarifying that General Sharif’s US visit is not aimed at dislodging the government. But one can’t help stating that the way our forces have fought and defeated the terrorists it has won praise not only Pakistan but the world over, including in the labyrinth of the Pentagon.
The operation Zarb-e-Azb stands out as the most successful campaign against terrorism, extremism and political crime. Given the un-abating curse of terrorism, and more so now as it presents itself in the guise of so-called Islamic State, the world would like to benefit from the Pakistan’s counter-terrorism experience.
Condoling with the French ambassador to Pakistan the loss of precious lives in the Paris attacks, the prime minister made an offer to the envoy that Pakistan is ready to provide assistance to France in areas of counter-terrorism. Rightly then, the United States has appreciated and acknowledged Pakistan’s successful counter-terrorism operations, with Secretary Carter saying “such efforts opened opportunities for regional peace”.
Hopefully, the chief’s visit would help place the Pak-US relationship in a perspective dictated by ground realities. And these realities are that Kabul-Taliban talks are not feasible amid the ongoing turmoil, a part of which is the handiwork of regional bully, India. In his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, the army chief has, therefore, underscored the need for the resolution of the Kashmir issue without any further loss of time.