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Ex-president, Asif Ali Zardari, writes for Chicago Tribune

Asif Ali Zardari

WRITTEN BY

Aleena Naqvi
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Alliances are very important in the world of politics. Every nation needs to have some alliances to survive in the internal power play. It is not possible for a country to survive alone as Jon Don said, “No man is an island”. Recently, the former president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari pointed out that to defeat terrorism, it is vital that the drift between US and Pakistan is resolved.

Pakistan and the US have been allies for a long time. In the very initial years of the creation of Pakistan, it has the options of building an alliance with the Soviet Union or the United States, the two superpowers of that time. Pakistan chose US and US became one of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Pakistan.

The nature of the Pak-US alliance entered a whole new face with the horrific events of September 11, 2001. These attacks created a closer coordination between the two countries and Pakistan has cooperated with the US in all of its counterterrorism efforts, since 2001. The bond and alliance between the two countries were solidified even more in the face of the new enemy, Taliban. Pakistan has supported the war against terrorism since 2001 and has suffered many losses. The war on terrorism has affected Pakistan on the national, economic, social and political level. It has also created religious tension in the region.

Some recent events have created a rift between the United States and Pakistan. Asif Ali Zardari has penned his concern in the Chicago Tribune article about the consequences of the rift between the two countries. The relations between the two countries were a little shaky for some time, but the drone strike that killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor served as a catalyst in creating a schism between the two countries. The government of Pakistan felt that a red line was crossed as the drone strikes were supposed to be limited to the tribal areas. Mullah Mansoor was killed 60 miles inside Baluchistan. Whereas, the US is on the point of view that the presence of Taliban Leader in Baluchistan shows that the country is either not capable of not serious in the fight against terrorism.

The relations between the two countries were strained further as US withdrew the funds for the F-16 deal. They demanded full payment without any subsidy on the sale of these jets. Pakistan saw this as an insult and told the US that they have failed to fulfil their commitment and they will be forced to look for alternatives if things continue like this. The things took another bad turn as later the members of the Congress suggested blocking the financial aid to Pakistan.

Ex-President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari, in his article, has stressed the fact that strong ties between the two countries are vital for the fight against terrorism. Looking at the ground realities, the nation of Pakistan has suffered a lot in the war against terrorism. Pakistan has always shaped its policies around the interests of the US, but this has caused more harm than good in the country. In 1979, when the Soviet forces entered Afghanistan, US was reminded of the frontline position of Pakistan. Pakistan resumed its role as the forefront partner for bringing peace and stability to the world. The Afghan war with the assistance of Pakistan led to the end of cold war. But, what did Pakistan get out of this war? There was instability in the country and the effects of that war are still present.

Once Pakistan had played its role, the attitude of the US changed and there were several sanctions imposed on the country. There were some efforts to build back the relationship, but it took another major event like 9/11 to remind the US of the importance of Pakistan and once again Pakistan became the major ally in the war against terrorism, without learning from past mistakes.

Asif Ali Zaradari, in his article, has mentioned the losses Pakistan has suffered for being the ally of US. He says that the sacrifices made by Pakistan do not show that they are not fully committed in the war against terrorism. Asif Ali Zardari has also mentioned that the refusal of US to sell the aircraft to Pakistan will invite more regional and global threats and it will open new doors for the players who are not in allies of America.

The point to ponder here is that should Pakistan continue its alliance with a country who has often treated it with disregard or should Pakistan move on with a new foreign policy which is focused more on new players like Iran, Russia, and China. The politicians and the policy makers of Pakistan should surely be capable of realizing that the sudden shift in the US policy towards Pakistan is not unplanned but very strategic. The blocking of financial aid is because there is a perception in Congress that their aid is being used to increase the nuclear stockpile of the country. The alliance of Pakistan and US has not done much for saving Pakistan from terrorism so how much weight is there in the statement of Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari when he says that smooth relations between Pakistan and US are vital for defeating the terrorists.

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