Islamabad: If US Senator John Kerry, who is known to be sympathetically inclined towards Pakistan, returns from his visit with a changed mind, Islamabad may have to suffer “severe consequences” that would ruin whatever remains of the tattered US-Pak relationship, an editorial in a Pakistani newspaper has said.
Senator Kerry, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a long-time emissary to Pakistan in times of crisis, has delivered a chilling message on his arrival in Islamabad from Kabul, the Daily Times editorial said.
“He says US-Pakistan relations are at a “critical moment” in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s killing and that there are growing calls in the US to cut aid to Pakistan. The Senator acknowledges the sacrifices of Pakistan in the struggle against terrorism, but in the very next breath asserts that there are deep reservations over Pakistan’s consistent commitment against all forms of terrorism and some disturbing evidence on Pakistani knowledge of and links with elements inimical to US interests, it said.
The editorial noted that the administration’s hardliners assert that people who were prepared to listen to Pakistan’s story for a long time are no longer receptive, which means that Pakistan’s reminders of its sacrifices in the war against terrorism fail to cut much ice in the changed circumstances.
“And what of our response?” the editorial wondered, observing that while Senator Kerry and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington, Hussain Haqqani, may be “bending their backs in Islamabad to salvage something positive from the ruins of the relationship, cooperation from the Pakistani military and intelligence community is already withering.”
It pointed out towards Pakistani media reports that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has cut off relations with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and that Americans commandos on Pakistani soil on a training mission are being asked to pack up and return home.
A survey of the present uncertain scenario “reveals disturbing signs that the US, having lost patience with Pakistan after the Osama episode, has decided to forego its ‘gently, gently’ approach towards Pakistan, and decided to put the squeeze on Islamabad. That places the Kerry visit centre-stage,” said the editorial.
“If even a friend of Pakistan such as Senator Kerry returns from his visit with a changed mind, severe consequences, starting with aid, trade and investment curtailment could be followed by more unilateral actions that would ruin whatever remains of the tattered relationship,” it added.
Cutting off US/NATO logistics for the Afghan theatre, the editorial said, would be the last act in a downward spiralling disaster drop scene.