Monday, April 16, 2012

US Policy Towards Pakistan Needs Readjustment ?

Pakistan Spring Emerging From Winter of Discontent
By Vali Nasr , Bloomberg, Apr 15, 2012

The snarling between the U.S. and Pakistan won’t let up. The battle began, of course, when U.S. forces sneaked into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden last May.
Last week, the U.S. upped the ante, announcing a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of notorious terrorist Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who is thought to be close to Pakistani intelligence. Things are so bad, Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid pronounced in his recently published book, “The United States and Pakistan are just short of going to war.”
America’s greater fear is that Pakistan will get in the way of war. Pakistan’s Parliament last week unanimously voted to forbid the U.S. from conducting drone strikes inside Pakistani territory. If the measure is implemented, it will deny the U.S. its most effective weapon against al-Qaeda and other militant groups.
Yet, as worrisome as the trend in bilateral relations is, other developments within Pakistan signal that the country may be changing for the better, in terms of the military’s role, democratic tendencies and relations with India. By focusing on the security dimension of its relationship with Pakistan, the U.S. risks missing these currents and thus the opportunity to engage with the country in fruitful new ways.

Unexpected Turn

One new twist that should be particularly gratifying to the U.S. is the Pakistani public’s unexpected turn against the military. Popular anger at the U.S. for swooping into the country to kill bin Laden was matched by outrage that the military was caught snoozing by U.S. commandos. Pakistanis asked: Why do we need such an expensive military if it can’t even protect the country’s borders and doesn’t know that the world’s most wanted man is hiding in a garrison town?
If that weren’t enough, three weeks later, extremists attacked the naval base in Karachi, which houses nuclear warheads. They destroyed a helicopter and two advanced P-3C Orion patrol aircraft. Pakistani special forces lost 10 men and had to fight for 16 hours to end the siege.
For complete article, click here

What Peace with Taliban might look Like - Ahmed Rashid at Asia Society
Vali Nasr on Revisiting US Strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan - Asia Society

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