Islamabad: With the third round of the US-Pak strategic dialogue all set to take place in Washington next week, Pakistani authorities are getting irritated over the lack of US interest in resolving the country’s long-term regional issues, providing economic support, and appreciating its sacrifices, despite publicly declaring it a key ally in the war on terror.
The authorities are also dissatisfied with the ‘triple accounting’ by the US of its economic assistance to Pakistan, although the overall assistance remained less than 1.5 billion dollars in a year, the Dawn reported.
Another reason for their anger is that Pakistan has not been given market access for its products they believe it deserves in comparison to other countries.
“Since our engagement with US after 9/11 about more than nine years ago, the United States has made wide-ranging trading arrangements with Latin American countries, African nations and even some states in the Middle East but greater market access to Pakistan still remains far off,” a government official pointed out.
Officials said that these were some of the issues, which the Pakistani delegation led by Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani would raise again with the US authorities during the forthcoming strategic dialogue.
“The US actions and assurances do not match when it comes to Pakistan’s role and returns it should get,” an official said.
According to him, in background discussions, the US leadership never missed an opportunity to assure Islamabad how central they considered a stable Pakistan to achieve global and regional peace, but they looked the other way when the government discussed the US’ role in resolving a ‘proxy water war launched by India’ besides the longstanding Kashmir issue that was the key to regional stability, and controversial river projects.
They revealed that these irritants had repeatedly been discussed with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama’s special envoy Richard Holbrooke, but without any tangible progress beyond the diplomatic pleasantries.
They said that the US cooperation with Pakistan for extending market access and resolving the energy sector problems had also remained limited to lip service. Rather it opposed the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline, which was key to Islamabad’s energy sector needs over the next couple of decades.