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Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal |

Pakistan is encountering internal and external challenges. The transnational terrorist organizations with the support of Indian intelligence and collusion of local radicalized militant groups target the innocent people of Pakistan. The Eastern and Western neighbors plus the United States have continuously been maligning Pakistan.

The strategic chasm between Pakistan and the United States is neither in the interest of Afghanistan nor regional peace. Admittedly, it would create problems for Pakistan

Ironically, the ruling elite of these states makes Pakistan a scapegoat of their own irrationalities. President Trump while expressing his camaraderie with Indians claimed that India would play a constructive role in restoring peace in Afghanistan. Increasing role of India in Afghanistan would be catastrophic for Afghan Muslim society and state.

The fundamentalist Hindu ruling elite’s Hinduvata mindset would further alienate Afghan people from President Ghani government and create a conducive environment for the extremist religious groups, already maintaining sanctuaries in Afghanistan. In simple words, India only “plays the role of a spoiler and destabilizer in the region, and also uses Afghan soil against Pakistan.” Ironically, Trump Administration is expecting positive role from New Delhi in Afghanistan, which has conflictual relations with all its neighbors and it is also sponsoring terrorism in the neighboring country.

Read more: Trump’s Twitter rants and Kim’s red lines

Russian President’s Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov also expressed solidarity with Pakistan and stressed that undue pressure on Islamabad would be perilous for the regional peace

Without realizing the strategic limitations of Pakistan, the Americans have been coercing Islamabad for the pursuit of their strategic and economic objectives in South Asia. President Trump’s threatening speech did not only shock the people of Pakistan but also upset the Chinese and Russians. Both Beijing and Moscow are cognizant about the strategic designs of Washington, which are meant to contain both states role in the global politics, sustain a strong foothold in Afghanistan to monitor and influence regional politics and build India to steward South Asia in particular and check Chinese rise in Asia.

Prime Minister Modi and President Ashraf Ghani appreciated President Trump new Afghanistan strategy and South Asian plan. Ironically, both leaders were failed to comprehend the hollowness in the new plan. The new American Afghanistan policy and the South Asian plan is based on concocted facts, which may pacify and secure American people’s temporary support for the continuity of American armed forces presence in Afghanistan.

Read more: How should Pakistan respond to Trump’s Afghan policy?

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi not only praised Pakistan’s great sacrifices in the fight against terrorism but also urged the international community to acknowledge Islamabad efforts to restore peace in Afghanistan

Perhaps, this fictitious evidence would only increase the miseries of the people of Afghanistan, enhance South Asian insecurity and above all continue entangling Americans in devastating asymmetrical warfare in Afghanistan.  Islamabad’s response to Trump’s threatening posture was very calculated and balanced. Instead of budging from its own regional and global policy, it expressed its firmness and commitment with its Afghanistan policy, i.e. Afghan led, Afghan own peace process in the country and uttered resolve to continue working for regional peace.

In addition, it opted diplomatic option to prevent any military adventurism from Trump Administration or its regional allies, especially India. Islamabad approached Beijing, Moscow, and Ankara for consultation and developing a consensual response to the new American policy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

Read more: Trump’s Afghan War & his “New Strategy”- Gen. Jehangir Karamat

Importantly, many analysts opined that Pakistan’s road infrastructure was completely destroyed due to US and NATO supplies from Karachi to Afghanistan during the last 16 years

On August 24, 2017, the National Security Committee reiterated its position to “continue to extend all possible cooperation to the international community for achieving the common objectives of peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the broader region.” The Committee decided to contact the regional like-minded states to develop regional consensus on efforts for peace in Afghanistan.  Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif was tasked to brief the Russian, Chinese and Turks leadership.

The National Security Committee straightforwardly rejected President Trump claim about “paying Pakistan billions and billion the of dollars” and corrected the record by announcing that money, which was paid to Pakistan, was reimbursement of the “part of the cost of ground facilities and air corridors used by the United States for its operations in Afghanistan.” Hence, it is neither financial aid nor assistance to Pakistan.

Read more: The winners and losers in Trump’s Afghan strategy – III

Importantly, many analysts opined that Pakistan’s road infrastructure was completely destroyed due to US and NATO supplies from Karachi to Afghanistan during the last 16 years. They criticize the government of Pakistan for not charging NATO and US sufficiently shipment toll. Immediately, after President Trump speech on August 21, 2017, Moscow and Beijing expressed their serious reservation over the US position on Pakistan.

Instead of budging from its own regional and global policy, it expressed its firmness and commitment with its Afghanistan policy, i.e. Afghan led

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi not only praised Pakistan’s great sacrifices in the fight against terrorism but also urged the international community to acknowledge Islamabad efforts to restore peace in Afghanistan. Russian President’s Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov also expressed solidarity with Pakistan and stressed that undue pressure on Islamabad would be perilous for the regional peace.

The strategic chasm between Pakistan and the United States is neither in the interest of Afghanistan nor regional peace. Admittedly, it would create problems for Pakistan. But it would not give New Delhi a walkover Islamabad in the regional strategic environment. Hence, Islamabad ought to continue with its peacemaking efforts in Afghanistan.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is also an advisor on Non-Proliferation to SASSI, London and a course coordinator at Foreign Services Academy for the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Email: jaspal_99@hotmail.com. This piece was first published in Pakistan Observer. It has been reprinted with permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal is Director & Associate Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan, where he teaches various aspects of Strategic Studies; International Security; Nuclear/Missile Proliferation; Terrorism including CBNR Terrorism and Countermeasures; Arms Control/Disarmament; Domestic and Foreign Policies of the country. He is an advisor on Non-Proliferation to SASSI, Islamabad/London and a Course Coordinator at Foreign Services Academy Ministry of Foreign Affairs Islamabad. Prior to joining the University, he had been a Research Fellow at ISSI, IPRI, Islamabad, Pakistan. Dr. Zafar, as a Guest Speaker/Visiting Lecturer, had delivered and still continues to deliver lectures at NATO School, Oberammergau, Germany; Center of Excellence: Defence against Terrorism, Ankara, Turkey; National Security & War Courses of Pakistan’s National Defence University; Intelligence Bureau Academy, Command and Staff College Quetta; Air War College, Karachi, and Foreign Service Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan. He holds Ph.D. and M. Phil in International Relations and M.A. in Political Science. He did advance Post Graduate Certificate courses in Peace and Conflict Studies, from European Peace University Stadtschlaining, Austria; Peace Research, International Relations and Foreign Policy Analysis from Oslo University, Norway. He also did CMC Training Course/ Cooperative Monitoring from Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States.

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