PAKISTAN, May 15, 2012 — American pressure on Pakistan to open its supply routs to Afghanistan is mounting. Pakistan stopped allowing NATO goods to pass through its roads after American air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year. Pakistan’s reduced cooperation with the US is also an indication of diplomatic failure on the part of the U.S.
- President Barack Obama visited Afghanistan and signed a ten year agreement with Afghanistan. According to this agreement, American forces will remain in Afghanistan until 2024 in order to safeguard American interests in the region. This agreement was a blow to Pakistani hopes of playing a role in Afghanistan after the 2014 withdrawal of American forces. Now Pakistan will have to wait until 2024 to expand its role in Afghanistan.
- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her visit to India, accused Pakistan of harboring terrorists like Ayman al Zawahiri. She said that Pakistan is not doing enough to capture and contain terrorists wanted by the U.S. and India. Clinton’s charges are a tactic to put pressure on Pakistan to do more to please the U.S. in its the ongoing war on terrorism.
- The 25th NATO summit will be hosted by the U.S. in Chicago on May 20-21, 2012 in order to discuss the role of the NATO in the changing world. Pakistan is not invited in this summit due to its failure to open its supply routes for NATO goods moving to Afghanistan.
- The armed services committee of the U.S. Congress moved a resolution imposing strict restrictions on Pakistan. Under this resolution, Pakistani goods and services cannot be imported preferentially into America. Similarly, aid to Pakistan should be reduced to ten percent until Pakistan shows greater cooperation with the U.S. and opens its supply routes for NATO goods.
The new resolution calls on the Secretary of Defense to certify that Pakistan is doing everything to counter terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. It also requires that Pakistan issue visas to U.S. counterterrorism officials in a timely manner.
A further requirement is that Pakistan not be involved in any activities causing nuclear proliferation, and that Pakistan work to limit terrorist access to the ingredients required for making improvised explosive devices.
Pakistan is using every tactic it can to delay the opening of supply lines. It is an internationally recognized fact that Pakistan’s foreign policy is the prerogative of the army and that the democratically elected civilian parliament does not participate in these decisions, but even so, the army has dragged parliament into the matter. Parliament passed a resolution requiring an apology from the U.S. over the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers. According to the resolution, supply lines cannot be reopened until America issues a formal apology.
Media rumors claim that Pakistan will soon open the supply routes, but the matter does not seem likely to be solved soon. Pakistani religious political parties strongly oppose opening the supply routes. Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, is very vocal now that the U.S. has announced a bounty on his head, and his opposition to opening the supply lines is written into the platform of the newly formed Council on Defense of Pakistan.
In the end, it seems that the U.S. is failing diplomatically on this matter. American ambassador Cameron Munter has announced his resignation from diplomatic post, and it seems that the new ambassador will be very busy on these issues from the very start of his job as ambassador.
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