- From euphoria to complaints
The government was simply effusive when President Trump promised to arbitrate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. The extraction of the promise was presented as a diplomatic coup by the Prime Minister. It was forgotten that Mr Trump was used to giving off the cuff remarks and going back on them when advised otherwise by the State Department or Pentagon. Within months Mr Trump retracted the promise of arbitration.
Both the US and Pakistan need each other’s assistance for getting some of their crucial problems resolved. With no respite to the ongoing agitation in India against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) the beleaguered BJP government could resort to adventurism in AJK to divert public attention from the vital issues. To justify the action it could engineer some sort of false flag operation. Pakistan wants US help to defuse the Indian pressure on the LoC. Pakistan also needs the US assistance to get off the FATF’s grey list.
Similarly, the US too is seeking Pakistan’s cooperation in extricating itself from Afghanistan. In case President Trump succeeds in this, this could help him a lot during the Presidential elections. As Foreign Minister Qureshi reminded his American counterpart, Pakistan helped in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the table and ensured that the Taliban delegation was authoritative and powerful. Later Pakistan’s security establishment worked hard to secure the release of two Western hostages as requested by the US. To fulfill yet another demand Islamabad got the Taliban to agree that they will stop blood-letting and hostilities. It is time the Trump administration is told that in diplomacy there is always a quid for every quo. In case the US declines to use its clout with India and the FATF, the government is likely to be accused by many of obediently carrying out the biddings of the Trump administration without getting anything in return for the country. FM Qureshi is back in Islamabad with Ms. Alice Wells following hard on his heels to discuss bilateral issues. Many will wait with baited breath to see how the government’s diplomatic team plays its cards.