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The US must not forget the importance of a democratic, pluralist Pakistan

US Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a press conference in Islamabad US Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a press conference in Islamabad

The recent visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Islamabad is a continuation of the improving relations between Pakistan and the US. From the declared frenemies in 2011, things have changed thereby proving that nothing is permanent in international relations except interests.

Kerry during his visit lauded Pakistan’s ongoing fight against terrorism and urged the authorities to take action against militant groups that threaten regional peace and stability. Furthermore, the State Department has declared Mullah Fazalullah, commander of TTP fighting Pakistani military, a global terrorist and froze his US assets, if any. On Tuesday, Afghan authorities reportedly apprehended 5 suspected planners of the Peshawar school attack based on the intelligence shared by Pakistan. This came after the weekend visit of Pakistani intelligence chief to Kabul and his meeting with President Ghani.

What distinguished Kerry’s current visit from earlier visits by US officials was that Pakistan Defence Council and other such xenophobic networks did not carry out public demonstrations against the US. A clear effort was made that such an embarrassment is avoided. Phrases such as ‘drone strikes’ and ‘violations of sovereignty’ were missing in the official communiques. Both countries are back to their old military to military relationship and trust deficit has considerably narrowed.


Enhancing Pak-India Trade Ties

Raza Rumi

Notwithstanding Pakistan’s internal challenges or the ‘war on terror’ in its backyard, the troubled relationship with India continues to drive its internal and external policies. Pakistan’s mighty military is essentially trained to counter the bigger neighbour and imagines India to be the greatest threat.

In recent years, there have been signs of some shifts in military’s worldview but these shifts are yet to filter down into the institutional structures: the way strategic calculations are made and ‘threat perception’ is determined. Despite these structural constraints, the political elites have resolved to undo the bitter legacy of the past and push for improved trade ties and continued dialogue with the archenemy. At times the enthusiasm of Pakistani politicians appears to be at variance with the views of Indian political class, which seems divided on how to transact this bilateral relationship.

Since the election of Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister in June 2013, domestic terrorism and skirmishes at the Line of Control (LoC) have prevented any major development to take place. In fact by the end of 2013, many feared that the modest gains (trade and visa liberalization) made in the past few years had been reversed due to the continued hostilities at the border. […]

February 26th, 2014|India, Indo Pak peace|0 Comments