`Mood in Pak more poisonous than at any time`

Several commentators suggest that Pak would prefer more war and division in Afghanistan to having a united pro-India neighbour.

Updated: Oct 15, 2011, 14:01 PM IST

Islamabad: Several commentators in Pakistan suggest that the country would prefer more war and division in Afghanistan to having a united ‘pro-India’ neighbour, according to a news report.

“Military types, diplomats, analysts and politicians in Islamabad describe a mood more poisonous than at any time for a generation,” The Economist said in a report on the growing concerns about a difficult relationship between the United States and Pakistan.

Links between the intelligence agencies, the core of bilateral relations for six decades, are worst of all, notably since America caught Osama bin Laden hiding amid Pakistan’s apron strings, the report said.

Afghanistan, where the two countries fumble and fail to accommodate each other, will remain the crux of Pakistan’s relations with America, it noted.

Pakistan’s leaders long derided what they saw as America’s vain “transformative” struggle to make Afghanistan modern, democratic and united-perhaps they also feared a similar push to refashion the role of the army in Pakistan, the report said.

Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani, in particular, is said to dismiss America’s understanding of the fractured country next door as naive and simplistic, a doomed effort to make Afghanistan into something it is not, it pointed out.

“But as America’s ambitions there have shrunk to little more than extracting its soldiers fast and leaving behind a minimally stable territory that is not dominated by Pushtuns, concerns in Pakistan have grown anew. It now fears being abandoned, losing aid and relevance, and becoming encircled by forces allied with its old foe, India,” the report said.

“Several commentators in Islamabad suggest that, sooner than have a united neighbour that is pro-India, Pakistan would prefer more war and division in Afghanistan- ‘let Afghanistan cook its own goose’ says an ex-general,” it added.

The report said that Afghanistan may, or may not, recede in importance after 2014, when America is due to cut the number of soldiers it has in the region, yet even without the thorn of Afghanistan, a list of divisive, unattended issues infects Pakistan’s relations with America.

”On their own they would be more than enough to shake relations between most countries. Pakistan is a known proliferator, and is more hostile than almost any other country to America’s global efforts to cut nuclear arsenals and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. America is fast expanding its economic and military ties with Pakistan’s great rival, India,” the report observed.

“And Pakistan’s domestic rule would set most American diplomats’ hair on end-venal civilian leaders; Army men hankering for the next coup and having pesky journalists killed off; Islamists who shoot opponents for being liberal. With a friend like Pakistan, who needs enemies?” it concluded.

ANI