WASHINGTON: Pakistan American Leadership Centre founder Mossadaq Chughtai has said that the new U.S. policy for Afghanistan is a recipe for disaster in the already strained US-Pakistan relations.
US President Donald Trump should immediately revise his Afghan policy and seek a peaceful resolution to the Afghan conundrum through cooperative ties with Islamabad, he said.
Chughtai, a prominent Pakistani-American, argued that Trump’s singling out Pakistan for problems in Afghanistan, while at the same time completely ignoring the trouble-making role of India and the incompetence of the Afghan government, risks losing its only longtime ally, Pakistan, in the region.
He feared that if the US does not reverse its policy soon, the flawed approach will backfire and deprive America of the essential goodwill, support and possibly even supply lines running through Pakistan, which partnered with America at critical turns of recent history and helped turned the tide for it in the Cold War.
“As a Pakistani-American with high stakes in U.S.-Pakistan relations, I am deeply concerned that this policy would send a wrong signal to the world that the United States is not a reliable friend.”
Pakistan, which has suffered massive human and financial losses (more than 80,000 fatalities and over $ 100 billion economic cost) due to the war on terror on its soil, deserves US support in rebuilding its infrastructure and lives of the people in militancy-hit areas, he said.
A successful entrepreneur, Chughtai noted that a recent study by Watson Institute of Brown University in Rhode Island said that in contrast with $ 840 billion that the US has spent in Afghanistan, it has given only $8 billion in mostly military aid to Pakistan.
Chughtai also took a swipe at Islamabad’s diplomatic efforts.
“Pakistan has failed on many counts. In the field of diplomacy and narrative, Pakistan has failed to inform the world, particularly the Americans, that it has made such huge sacrifices in the fight against terrorism since 2001.”
He said that it is a pity that the Afghan ambassador in Washington, a relatively young diplomat at 34 years of age, has been blunting Pakistani diplomatic statements at several forums.
“This poor showing on the part of Pakistani diplomats clearly indicates that Pakistan has not done its homework properly to counter negative perceptions and Indian and Afghan diplomatic attacks.”
“As strong supporter of US-Pakistan relations, I urge President Trump to review his policy enunciation and conduct the US policy in the region in partnership with Pakistan – once most allied of the allies but now a victim of perception and poor diplomacy.”