A collaborated report by different US think-tanks and universities has urged US President Donald Trump to adopt a new Pakistan policy which involves a more vigorous effort to force Pakistan to break ties with terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Lashkar e Tayyiba.
Prepared with the backing of two Republican think tanks, the Hudson Institute and the Heritage foundation, the report looks to advise President Donald Trump to take a more hard-line approach to Pakistan and to try and force a change in policy in the country.
The report was compiled by experts including Lisa Curtis of Heritage, Husain Haqqani and Aparna Pande of Hudson, Christine Fair of Georgetown University, John Gill of National Defense University and Bruce Riedel of Brookings Institution among others.
Titled ‘A New U.S. Approach to Pakistan: Enforcing Aid Conditions Without Cutting Ties,’ the report suggests that designating Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism in the first year of his first term would be a risky move by the President, but that the move should not be ruled out as a long term method of swaying Pakistani policy.
Heavily critical of the Obama administration’s policy of trying to bribe Pakistan to change its policy, the working group that compiled the result claimed that “the carrots were not backed by the threat of effective sticks.” The report is a significant move away from Barack Obama’s hopes of wanting to change the world and Pakistan’s world view with it, and promotes the implementation of a more pragmatic Pakistan policy that forces policy change by tightening the military establishment.
Shunning the previous US approach of trying to direct Pakistan’s policy through additional aid or military equipment, the think tanks urge the new administration to engage with Pakistan by realistically examining its aspirations and world views. An excerpt of the report reads “The US must stop chasing the mirage of securing change in Pakistan’s strategic direction by giving it additional aid or military equipment. It must be acknowledged that Pakistan is unlikely to change its current policies through inducements alone.”
Although the report concedes that there is no final solution that can change years and years of Pakistani policy, certain measures can be taken to convince Pakistan to work with America for the mutual benefit of both countries. While the report does state that Pakistan “cannot be treated… in the same way the US deals with North Korea,” the it goes on to say that the USA should “avoid portraying Pakistan as an ally” and even suggests that the country’s status as a major non-NATO ally be taken away.
The group that compiled the report cracks down hard on the Pakistan military, saying “The civilian government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has very little role in this patronage network—rather, it’s the so-called “deep state” of the intelligence service and the army high command that’s in charge.” The report at points, in fact, praises the Prime Minster for his moves towards changing the Pakistani perspective and bringing it more in line with what is globally acceptable.
The recommendations of the report include cutting military assistance as long as the armed forces continue to support terrorist organizations and militant groups that pose a danger to any US military officials or citizens. The researcher from the Brookings Institute makes sure to clarify that “our quarrel is not with the Pakistani people or their elected leadership, but with the generals who back terrorists.”