by Andrew Sprung
Tariq Fatemi, a Pakistani career diplomat and close associate of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who briefly served as Pakistan's Ambassador the U.S., was not reassured by Obama's speech at West Point. In his weekly column in Dawn he voices a spectrum of anxieties and grievances that bedevil the Pakistani end of the Pakistani-U.S. relationship.
First, that Pakistan will be the U.S. scapegoat:
But [Obama] having made this commitment [of additional troops], what measures can one expect from the administration to eliminate Al Qaida and weaken the Taliban? Undoubtedly, it will be Pakistan where henceforth the buck stops,’ and which will be held responsible for America’s failure in Afghanistan.
Then, that Pakistan will alienate historic allies in Afghanistan -- while India encroaches unchecked by the U.S.:
But if the Americans are supposed to start withdrawing their troops in less than two years, would Pakistan not be justified in hedging its bets? After all, if we are to live next to a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan, why annoy them? Even more worrying is the absence of evidence of US willingness to use its influence to bring India back to the negotiating table, or even of asking it to end its alleged interference in Fata and Balochistan.
And again, that India will outflank Pakistan in its relationship with the U.S. -- and in its influence in Afghanistan:
Within a fortnight, New Delhi has notched up two major diplomatic successes. Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the first state guest of the Obama administration, where he was able to get a reaffirmation of the US-India global strategic partnership.’ Though he could not obtain an irrevocable commitment regarding the provision of advanced enrichment and reprocessing technologies, he did achieve success on the issue of counterterrorism.The two countries expressed their grave concern’ over the continuing terrorist threat emanating from India’s neighbourhood,’ while agreeing that resolute and credible steps be taken to eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that provide shelter to terrorists and their activities.’Also surprising was US appreciation for India’s role in Afghanistan. This, after Pakistan’s claim that the administration had been asked to use its influence to urge India to reduce its presence in Afghanistan.
The image accompanying Fatemi's piece: Obama toasting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The caption: "What was surprising was US appreciation for India’s role in Afghanistan. This, after Pakistan’s claim that the administration had been asked to use its influence to urge India to reduce its presence in Afghanistan."