Is the agreement to “reset Pak-US” ties enough for the revival of historic relations?

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News Analysis |

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met with the U.S President Donald Trump at a reception on the lines of United Nations General Assembly session. Shah Mehmood Qureshi while talking to the media shared President Trump’s desire to work out the difference in order to reset the relations between Pakistan and the United States of America.

“I met with President Trump at the reception where I had the opportunity to discuss Pakistan-US relations with him. I requested him that we have had cordial relations and need to rebuild them,” he said while speaking to PTV after meeting with the US President on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.

The policy has not been a hit since its inceptions and recently several sources within the U.S government have confirmed that the Trump administration is considering reviewing the policy.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi is scheduled to meet U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on October 2, which will be the second meeting between the counterparts in a span of one month. The vigor suggests that both sides are actively pursuing to find common grounds to rebuild the deteriorated relations on. The reason precisely has been the lack of trust and divergence of objectives from both sides.

Read more: Pak-US thaw? Trump mulls reset as Pentagon calls Pakistan part of…

What does the United States want?

The United States believes that Pakistan still has influence over the Afghan Taliban due to the historic relationship between the two, starting from the war against the Soviet Union. It has been 17 years for the U.S in Afghanistan and back home it is now repeatedly referred as the “War which cannot be won”. The United States of America wants Pakistan to help bring the Taliban to the negotiating terms.

Though utilizing former Taliban members residing in Qatar, the U.S state department has been able to establish a back channel for dialogue on its own but it is yet to see a substantial breakthrough. Over the course of last three meetings between the Taliban representatives and Alice Wells a state department deputy secretary, State Department has however refrained from confirming or denying the reality of such interaction, the talks have not proceeded forward from the agenda of the actual dialogue process.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met with the U.S President Donald Trump at a reception on the lines of United Nations General Assembly session.

Each new day for the U.S in Afghanistan is consuming much-needed resources for a cause which is vague and has no end in sight. Therefore, the United States wants Pakistan to provide an acceptable passage out of the rugged terrain of Afghanistan.

Read more: The Significance of Pak-US military ties

What does Pakistan want?

Pakistan has repeatedly cited the reason behind the increased violence inside its territory as India. The argument was strengthened by the arrest of a serving Indian intelligence officer Kulbhushan Yadav and his confession of espionage in the conflict-torn province of Balochistan. Pakistan has always asked the United States to take into consideration the Indian role to destabilize Pakistan while using Afghanistan as the base for its activities but in return, the U.S has resorted to allegations of safe havens for the terrorists.

In fact, when President Trump announced his New South Asia Policy last year, he termed India as the front line ally to help him sort out the mess in Afghanistan, completely ignoring Pakistan’s reservations. The policy has not been a hit since its inceptions and recently several sources within the U.S government have confirmed that the Trump administration is considering reviewing the policy.

Read more: Efficient border management the key to diminish Pak-US trust deficit

It is imperative to both sides that worsening relations are not in the interest of either side. There have been efforts in the past where similar sort of statements emerged on the media but in reality, a difference in demands always trumped betterment in ties. The chaos in Afghanistan has allowed regional rivals to consolidate their spheres of influence which has turned the war from bad to ugly. For the “actual resetting” of ties between the two countries, the first and foremost step is the trust which needs to be built.

President Trump has established himself as a person who puts the American interest first, irrespective of the long-term implication of his action and even neglecting the price which the superpower has to pay for its title, but it also needs to respect the national interest of Pakistan. Therefore, both sides need to find some common ground and work their way by deciding on the achievable objectives which would serve as the milestone to guide that relations are on the right path.

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