John Kerry Visit: Implications on Pak-US Bilateral Relations

John Kerry.By Zaheerul Hassan 

Pakistan PM has presided high level military-civil meeting in connection with John Kerry visit who arrived in Islamabad on 31 July 2013.

US Sectary of State John Kerry has arrived in Pakistan for two days visit on 31 July, 2013. He is the most senior first US official is visiting the country since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as Pakistan as new prime minister after May elections. During his visit he will call on President, Prime Minister, COAS, Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, and officials of Foreign Office.

According to the media reports, US embassy has extended invitation to PTI chief Imran Khan for exchanging views on various issues with John Kerry. However, Imran agreed in conversation with him at a venue other than US embassy.

Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif headed a high-level meeting, in connection with US Sectary of State John Kerry visit. The meeting was also attended by Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Tariq Fatimi, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and DG Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt General Zaheerul Islam.  Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif were also present in the meeting.

 According to the sources, the participants of the meeting exchanged views over the regional and country’s security environment, hurdles in start of Doha talks with Taliban, Drone Attacks Issue and recent TTP raid on Central Jail of DI Khan. During this sitting, DG ISI has apprised country and regional security situation to PM and attendees. Therefore, political and military elites have decided to take a similar stance including on drone strikes in the meeting with John Kerry.

Meanwhile, one-on-one meeting between Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani and PM Nawaz was also held. Both the leaders decided to raise the issue of drone attack with the US as per the government policy. Anyhow, John Kerry would likely be interested in seeking Pakistani assistance in resumption of Doha talks, smooth exit of US forces in 2014 and improvement of bilateral relations which were badly deteriorated as result of Osama bin killing in Abbottabad and others issues. Downfall in Pak-US relations  further declined  when on 26 November NATO helicopters has targeted NATO helicopters fired on a Pakistani border checkpost in which 24 soldiers including one Major and Capt have been martyred and many injured. The attack, have taken placed at the Salala checkpost, about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) from the Afghan border in the Mohmand region of Pakistan’s tribal belt. The Pakistani military called the strike “unprovoked and indiscriminate.” Former government of Pakistan launched a strong protest and also immediately discontinued the supply to NATO troops located in Afghanistan. Moreover, the strategic dialogues between two countries were suspended.

 Whereas, Pakistani government has chalked new priorities in relationship with US in the light of parliament demands of stopping counterproductive drone attacks policy and current regional political and security environment. Moreover Islamabad would also be interested in getting US cooperation in recovering from energy crises. In this regard, US has already offered her help in constructing Diamer-Bhasha Dam. But at the same time Washington has kept on pressurizing Pakistan to forgo with Gas Pipeline Agreement with Iran. America also used to criticize Pak-China accord over Gwadar Port.  However, former Pakistani government sustained pressure and bluntly conveyed US that both the accords are in the interest of Pakistan would be implemented in true letter and spirit. Recently, present government also expressed that the agreements with china and Iran would continue be adhered as per the essence of the accords. In any case, now Washington has to realize that none of Pakistani government to accept US aid at the cost of national interests.

US sectary of state should also be mindful that anti Pakistan terrorists are camping in Afghanistan. The terrorists are being trained, funded and launched in Balochistan and FATA from Afghanistan by RAW supported by Afghan National Security Agency and CIA. It is worth mentioning here that Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s is in the habit of leveling allegations against  Pakistan, despite the fact that later is suffering with horrible form of terrorism due to Afghan crises. Conversely, on Karzai’s request, Pakistan has deferred repatriation of 3.1 million Afghan refugees and has taken the major brunt of war on terror as a frontline state. Karzai however failed to reciprocate Pakistan’s goodwill gestures and has preferred to dance to the tunes of USA and India. He always preferred India over Pakistan and allowed RAW to use Afghan soil for covert war against Pakistan in concert with Central Directorate of Security (CDS) and RAAM.

In short, John Kerry visit can become significant event if he remains successful in improving upon the trilaterally relations between US, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The visit will defiantly help in smooth withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, in case he able to convince White House for discontinuation of drone attacks, respect  Pakistan’s sovereignty and stop CIA in interference in Balochistan. US and NATO should understand that Pakistan is a major key player, whose role is very vital in establishing regional peace, resumption of Doha talks with Taliban and end of war.

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