Increasing US pressure

Increasing US pressure

By delaying to convene the joint meeting of the parliament to debate the reopening of the Nato supply route, the government hoped to convey its sense of hurt to Washington.

So did the army when it delayed the visit by top US generals for discussion with their Pakistani counterparts on the issue. The postponement of the ISI chief’s visit to US and two more drone attacks in North Waziristan indicate that Washington thinks it is now its turn to pressurise Islamabad. While one had hoped that Pakistan’s participation in Nato’s Chicago summit would lead to an improvement in bilateral relation, what has happened is the reverse. Washington thought that it was providing Islamabad a face saving by inviting President Zardari to the Nato summit without preconditions. Obama had hoped that by the time Zardari reached Washington, concrete progress would have been made on the contentious issue of opening the Nato supply routes. As discussions between the two teams in Islamabad over the modalities continued without any concrete progress, Zardari had nothing to offer at Chicago. He demanded instead an apology and an end to drone strikes as required by Parliament. This led Obama to ignore Zardari at the summit. A blunt Clinton went a step ahead by chiding the Pakistani President for what she considered lack of leadership displaying itself in a failure to forge national unity and exercise the political will to open the Nato routes.

Islamabad, thus, failed to make use of an opportunity offered at Chicago. Interestingly, the hawks in Pakistan are willing to forgo the demand for an apology and would settle for some sort of association with the drone attacks instead of total cessation. They, however, remain adamant on extracting super high fees on the Nato transport called price gouge by Panetta. One wonders if this was destined to be the end of the super patriotism displayed after the Salala incident. Would it not be more realistic if Pakistan initiated an operation in North Waziristan in return for an end to drone attacks which it simply does not have to capacity to stop? What has to be done should be done without looking miserable, and on time. -Pakistantoday