Despite ongoing mistrust over Afghanistan, the United States must continue to work with Pakistan, according to a study group’s recommendation on Tuesday. Investment and climate cooperation are crucial to lowering Pakistan’s rising reliance on China.
The panel made its conclusions public during General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s trip to Washington, D.C., a week after that of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
Scholars and former US ambassadors to Pakistan, Ryan Crocker, Cameron Munter, and Robin Raphel, as well as Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador in Washington, participated in the study group, which was independent of the US government.
In the Cold War and the official war in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US were allies. However, American authorities ran out of patience with Islamabad, whom they suspected of covertly supporting the Taliban, who won the war as US soldiers left Afghanistan last year.
The study group concluded that it may be time to acknowledge that both parties must comprehend one another’s interests in order to find a method to collaborate on issues of common concern rather than letting current divisions define the partnership.
The United States must abandon the tried-and-true strategy of using aid to pressure Pakistan’s government into changing its policies.
Islamabad must acknowledge “that all of Pakistan’s issues, particularly terrorism and militancy, cannot be thrown at the door of the United States.”As Pakistan and China have developed closer ties, the US has warned that Beijing, which is viewed as Washington’s main global rival, may burden the financially precarious country with debt.
According to the study group, the United States should refrain from viewing relations with Pakistan through the prism of China after previously connecting them to Afghanistan or its longtime competitor India.
Instead, it added, by promoting investment from US businesses and others, the US may “help strengthen Pakistan’s ability for openness and compliance” with regard to Chinese loans and lessen Pakistan’s reliance on China.