A new momentum is being observed in relations between Pakistan and the US, which had been deteriorating with the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, according to a Pakistani expert.
“Pakistan’s close relations with China are one of the most important factors in the Washington-Islamabad rapprochement,” Ameer Abdullah Khan, an international relations expert at Pakistan’s National Defense University, told Anadolu Agency.
“Pakistan’s growing dependence on China for its economic and defense needs was instrumental in the US accepting the F-16 deal,” Khan stressed.
A key undercurrent of US-Pak relations since the end of military rule in Pakistan is the continued strong US engagement w/Pak mil leaders. Bajwa’s DC visit is similar to the 5-7 day visits made by Gens. Kayani & Sharif.
It’s practical-but doesn’t help advance civilian democracy.
— Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) October 5, 2022
With the rapprochement with Pakistan, Washington is sending a message to India as well as China, Khan said, adding New Delhi’s stance on the Ukraine war and its purchase of Russian energy pushed the US to make this move.
The recent increase in high-level visits by Pakistani officials to the US and Washington’s approval of the sale of an F-16 support package to Islamabad worth $450 million point to an increasing momentum in bilateral relations.
After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August last year, relations between the US and Pakistan became chilly, given Islamabad’s long history of support for the Taliban. In addition, then Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Moscow on the day Russia kicked off its invasion of Ukraine exacerbated tensions between Washington and Islamabad.
Khan’s remarks on his removal from office, which he blamed on collaboration between the opposition and the US, were also another factor in the deteriorating relations.
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“High-level visits by the prime minister, foreign minister and land forces commander to the US mark the re-warming of relations, which fell to their lowest level after the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan and Imran Khan’s narrative of an anti-US conspiracy,” he noted.
Khan further said that the government of current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif values relations with the US and will work with the Biden administration in achieving its regional goals.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Faisal, an expert at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, said the new government in Pakistan needed US support to revive an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and for this reason, the Sharif administration is trying to open a new page with Washington.
Pakistan was on the verge of bankruptcy in June and July and trying to establish close contacts with the US, Faisal said, adding the flood disaster was effective in establishing an urgent relationship with Washington.
After the flood disaster in Pakistan, many US officials and congressmen visited this country. Washington has so far provided $66 million in aid for Pakistani flood victims.
Read more: US defends arms sales to Pakistan following criticism from India
In July, Donald Blome was appointed as the new ambassador to Pakistan, a post that had not been filled for four years.
Faisal pointed out that there is growing acceptance in the Sharif administration that relations with Washington should continue to be established on matters related to Afghanistan, particularly in the area of counter-terrorism.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk