Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
U.S.- Pakistan ties are entering an even more dangerous phase, going by the language that the two sides are employing ever since a public airing of differences over covert U.S. activities in Pakistan
It’s a game of smoke and mirrors and some of it could be bluff and bluster, but there is little doubt that Pakistan and America are stuck in an unhappy relationship, attacking each other as much as the militants they joined forces against ten years ago.
Foreign Policy has a piece which quotes an unnamed official as saying that Pakistani leaders want the United States to “bleed a little like the Soviets “ in
Afghanistan just as it prepares to withdraw from the country. America will abandon the region once again, the leaders are convinced, ending the flow of aid to Pakistan and leaving it in the lurch.
More immediately, the NATO supply line for the troops in Afghanistan that runs through Pakistan is a tempting target, and some in Pakistan are already plotting to use that to get back at the United States for violating Pakistan’s sovereignty with impunity. The Foreign Policy piece says ex-Pakistani servicemen are planning to disrupt the supply line by organising civilians and political groups to block highways that are used by the trucks carrying everything from fuel to water for the troops, if Washington ignores Pakistan’s demands on curtailing its covert war inside Pakistan. These include reducing drone strikes to only high-value targets, greater transparency about CIA activities, and a reduction in the number of U.S. military trainers. If Pakistan adopted such a plan to choke off the re-supply routes, Pakistan can turn Afghanistan into a graveyard for U.S. troops, former chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence Lt.General Hamid Gul boasted in a TV appearance.
Who exactly is Raymond Davis, the main at the centre of a flaming row between the United States and Pakistan that threatens to derail ties altogether ? It’s an obvious question to ask given the lengths the Obama administration has gone to secure the release of Davis held in Pakistan for shooting and killing two men who he said were trying to rob him. As Reuters reported this week, Washington had put on hold some bilateral engagements, and even hinted that a $7.5 billion civillian aid package could be jeopardised if Islamabad continued to hold Davis disregarding his diplomatic immunity. The New York Times and the Washington Post said a much-sought after state visit by President Asif Ali Zardari planned for the end of March was on the line now. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cancelled a meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at an international security conference in Munich late last month, the Post said.
The Americans are saying Davis is a diplomat and hence arresting him is a violation of international norms and the Vienna Conventions. The U.S. embassy had initially identified him as a staff member of the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Lahore where the incident occured.