Pak-US relations have seen a fair share of highs and lows since 1947. The two countries were so close at times that their foreign policies were aligned with each other. The relations got so bad that America halted aid packages, and Pakistan closed down the route for NATO aid.
Pakistan and US relations will now shape in a different context after Washington’s departure from Afghanistan. Washington has now realized that Islamabad’s role is central in shaping the future course for Afghanistan.
Both countries have had a transactional relationship in the past. Pakistan has been a part of various US lead treaties such as CEATO and CENTO. The most recent alliance between both countries was formed on October 7, 2001, when Pakistan agreed to help Washington in its war on terror. We all know the perils this war bought on us, and Pakistan’s economy and infrastructure are still repairing from the after-effects of the war.
Fast forward to 2021, Pakistan is a changed country; it is now making more sensible decisions in the realm of relations with the US. Islamabad’s pragmatic approach is the key to making this relationship equal and mutually beneficial.
The following Factors will shape the future of Pak-US relations in the upcoming years.
The US will try to put pressure on Pakistan to make it do its dirty work. It will try to pressurize Islamabad by introducing legislation that could put sanctions on Pakistan. Republican senators have already made such an attempt to revive the carrot and stick approach towards Pakistan.
Pakistan must behave with dignity and not fall in line with Washington with just a phone call or a couple of billion dollars aid package.
Pakistan must not make compromises on redlines. We should discuss redlines like the nuclear program, Kashmir, Indian hegemonic designs in the region, our bilateral relations with other neighbors, the CPEC program, and regional stability.
The China Factor
Pakistan holds the credit for arranging Henry Kissinger’s visit to China in the 1970s, which paved the way for Nixon’s famous visit to China. Pakistan can once again benefit by providing an environment for China and US relations improvement. The US needs China after exiting Kabul. Their relations will impact Pakistan’s ties with America.
The India Factor
Indian lobby is going stronger day by day in Washington. With an Indian-origin politician in the VP’s office, the US government is bound to tilt in India’s favor. It will make things further difficult for Pakistan. Washington needs Delhi as a trade partner, military partner to counter China and Russia. The US will not shy away from showing Pakistan a cold shoulder if it is to please India.
Those at the helm of the foreign policy realm must make sure that a pragmatic approach is followed. It is high time that Pakistan’s relations with the US are carried out as equals. It is time to say goodbye to “do more.”