U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pakistan in the light of “Call content fiasco”

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News Analysis |

U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Pakistan in the first week of September to meet the new Prime Minister Imran Khan. There are reports suggesting Iran’s Foreign Minister visit to Pakistan at the end of this month, which would certainly snatch the feat from Mike Pompeo to be the first foreign dignitary to officially visit Pakistan under the new administration. Nevertheless, because of the tangled and complex relations between Pakistan and the United States of America over the course of decades, the visit still has its essence and significance above anything else which the government will be looking to cater in the coming days.

The bad news, however, is the contradicting statements from both the sides about the content of the call which Pompeo made to congratulate Imran Khan after he sworn in the office of Prime Minister of Pakistan. The press release issued by the U.S state department said that Mike Pompeo congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan and wished for a meaningful cooperation between both the countries in future.

The State department’s press release, leaving the facts of the content aside for a moment, depicts the same old pressure devices which the United States did not fail to avoid even in a call which was meant to congratulate the new Prime Minister

It further read that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the issue of terrorists residing in Pakistan, alleged by Washington to carry out activities in Afghanistan against the U.S and Afghan army contingents, and asked Prime Minister Khan to take the decisive action against them. The latter part was immediately discarded by Pakistan’s foreign office claiming that it was never the part of the conversation at all.

Foreign office spokesperson Dr. Faisal via a tweet urged the State Department for correction and deemed the press release as factually incorrect. The stance was re-iterated by Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi next day while talking to the press. Contrary to this, the State Department’s spoke person also endorsed the press release which has casually resulted in a diplomatic standoff between the two countries.

Read more: State Department stands by original readout of phone call between Pompeo…

Before the implications of the particular deadlock are brought into consideration, there has been a debate on the norms which discourages the State Secretary, or foreign minister, of the United States to call the head of Pakistan’s government, the Prime Minister. The position of both the officials is not at all equivalent at the hierarchy tree of the government, hence the congratulatory call should have been made by the U.S President himself like all the head of states including Justin Trudeau of Canada.

But the United States has conveniently, and quite possibly deliberately, been neglecting the norm in the past as well. It is a prevalent notion that since Pakistan is at the crossroads with the new, energetic government in power, it should effectively convey the message to Washington that it is not exceptional when it comes to diplomatic norms. The whole issue which started from the call has landed the U.S secretary in hot waters before the visit.

The press release issued by the U.S state department said that Mike Pompeo congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan and wished for a meaningful cooperation between both the countries in future.

The United States of America has been using the coercion and intimidation by virtue of its global position as the tactics to ask for more efforts for Pakistan’s war against terrorism. The resentment at the masses level in Pakistan against the United States is continuously growing because of the same attitude. The State department’s press release, leaving the facts of the content aside for a moment, depicts the same old pressure devices which the United States did not fail to avoid even in a call which was meant to congratulate the new Prime Minister.

Since the stance of the current government, with “Pakistan First” policy as the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated the other day, stands in contrast with what the Americans have become used to over the years, the things have the tendency to go from bad to worse if Mike Pompeo used the same old strategy to deal with new administration.

Read more: Pak-US relations: Echoing old mantra?

During the press talks, both the Pakistani and American media will be prodding for the take on the “Call content fiasco” which would land the U.S secretary into the perplexing situation. Since the foreign offices of both Pakistan and the United States have reiterated that they stand with their own version of the conversation, it would be very difficult for any of the foreign ministers to backtrack.

The U.S-Pakistan relation is continuously deteriorating with the certain degree of adamantine attitude from both the sides which is not going to help either in the long run, particularly the United States. It is necessary that both sides find some common ground to work out things rather making a fuss out of arbitrary details.

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