Article written on 20th March 2012.

Some quarters view the discussions on this important issue of Pak-US relations in a shortsighted perspective which would be myopic and imprudent to say the least. Considering that the issue is only opening of the NATO supply route to Pakistan or not and or insisting that drone attacks on tribal areas must be stopped will be ill-advised and imperceptive. The issue needs to be viewed both in its past context and the present situation both in the region and in a world view. The relations with US whih are marked by over dependence on US to normal relations between two sovereign state and the element of Aid has to taken out of this equation.

We threw in our lot with the US in early 50`s. We joined SEATO and CENTO as against remaining neutral and possibly joining Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) subsequently. Over a period of time we have been closely identified with US interests . When we permitted US to establish a secret base at Badabher Base not only earned us the ire of USSR ; another super power of the time but we literally became a US client state in this region. The crux of the debate in the Parliament should be whether we have gained or lost out of this relationship both materially and in stature as a stature. Our stance on Kashmir; a core issue for us has become weaker or stronger. We failed to gain any advantage of Indo-China War of1962 under US advise/pressure. We failed to get Kashmir in 65 War. US failed to give us any assistance even on diplomatic front and it was USSR which brokered a peace agreement between us and India. 1971 war is before us. US support on diplomatic has remained mostly ambivalent. Although there are so many other factors for our weakening of our state, it’s a golden opportunity to take stock of our special relationship with US at this stage. We were used against USSR in Afghanistan 1979-1984 and then abandoned and are facing the consequences in terms of criminalization of our society through Jehadi culture and Kalashnikov culture. Again we were pressurized into aligning ourselves with US policies and becoming their front line ally in this so called “War On Terror”. We have sacrificed over 5000 of our valiant soldiers and over 35000 lives of our civilians including children and women. The loss to our infrastructure is approximately over 70 billion US dollars which is more than the total US aid that we have received from US since 1947 till to date. In spite of all these sacrifices Pakistan is being painted as almost an enemy and possibly a terrorist state in US media. Our territories are being violated at will. Raymond Davis case, May 2 violation of our territory and the Salala Pass brutal massacre cannot be obliterated from the memories of our public.

Beside the past record the issue must also be seen within the prevalent regional geo-political context. Regional geo-political situation must be carefully studied and if possible experts on the subject must be called by the parliamentary committee and heard carefully. Anti-Americanism in the region like Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan must also be factored in. Soviet Union, Central Asian Republics and Chinese opinion must also be sought before coming to any conclusions. The end state in Afghanistan after 2014 and beyond must be of crucial importance to Pakistan when we decide that whether we continue to remain a US ally and for that matter a front line ally or is it the right time to change our course which is most beneficial to Pakistan. Although the US is more keenly watching the deliberations in our Parliament than us, because they are stuck up badly with a situation in Afghanistan but we have no such compulsions and must not be in an indecent hurry.

Regarding our economic woes, the problems pertain to our internal weaknesses in governance and poor leadership resulting in massive corruption. No amount of US Aid can bail us out of this situation. Recent history and if one reads Chomsky carefully show that any country which has depended on US Aid has never prospered. The job of the parliament is to provide guidelines regarding the Foreign policy to the government and it’s the job of the government particularly of the cabinet and the foreign office to work out the specifics of such a policy. It was being alleged up till now that the foreign policy for Pakistan was being made by the army or the ISI or both. It is debatable whether they had any other choice in the absence of any guidelines or the specifics given out by the government. It is a God sent opportunity that the parliament, the government and the foreign office assert themselves and workout a comprehensive long term foreign policy which is in the best interest of Pakistan and is owned by the people of Pakistan. The input from the army and ISI should be available to the Government whenever required. It should be remembered that army and the ISI will remain power centers for quite some time and it is not out of place like the Pentagon and the CIA remain center of powers in a democracy like US and contribute towards National security and Foreign policy making. Why should we be shy of giving such a role to these elite institutions? Sooner the daily drubbing of these institutions by our media and politicians on daily basis should get out of fashion, the better. The credit does not go to these anchors and politicians who are thumping their chests that they are challenging the institutions like army and ISI but to these institutions who, through a deliberate policy shift have decided to continue supporting the democratic dispensation in spite of serious provocations and other bungling.