PAKISTAN is encountering internal and external challenges. The transnational terrorist organizations with the support of Indian intelligence and collusion of local radicalised militant groups target the innocent people of Pakistan. The Eastern and Western neighbours plus the United States have continuously been maligning Pakistan. Ironically, the ruling elite of these states makes Pakistan a scapegoat of their own irrationalities.
President Trump while expressing its 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 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 neighbours and it is also sponsoring terrorism in the neighbouring country. 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 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 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. Perhaps, these fictitious evidences 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. On August 24, 2017, the National Security Committee reiterated its position to “continue to extend all possible cooperation to 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 billions 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. 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 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. 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.