“The future of Pakistan”

How Pakistan is seen by the Washington think tanks
Arnold Zeitlin, The News, February 19, 2011

WASHINGTON: After four and a half hours of listening recently in Washington DC to South Asia specialists on three different panels divining Pakistan’s future and the US role, Moeed Yusuf, of the US Institute of Peace (USIP), a Pakistani native and a convener of the marathon session, concluded with a sigh of relief: “At least no one suggested Pakistan and the US go their separate ways.”

His remark actually conjured up what is essentially that mythical elephant in the room. For such a pessimistic and as yet unspoken option lurked beneath the much of the gloomy analysis of some of the most knowledgeable commentators of the region. If Pakistan and the US were a married couple instead of being strategic players (if not partners), counselors would recommend at least a long, trial separation, if not total divorce.

The occasion was a full morning entitled “The future of Pakistan” at the DC headquarters of the think tank USIP, co-sponsored by another eminent think tank, the Brookings Institute and its South Asia specialist, Stephen P Cohen. It might have been more realistic to adopt the title used by the Heritage Foundation, another DC think tank, which offered a discussion on Pakistan and the US under the title, “Deadly embrace”.

About 300 listeners jammed the conference hall, with an overflow accommodated in another hall linked by closed-circuit TV. Most of the audience was Washington DC suits. With only a sprinkling of Pakistanis and other Asians, suggesting the large and vital Pakistani community in the region may have known something of the outcome that the Americans attending did not.

For complete article, click here
Pakistan's Future: Bellagio Papers - Brookings Institute


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