Trump and the Pakistan extremism connection


OUTRAGE: Protests against the US in Peshawar
OUTRAGE: Protests against the US in Peshawar
By Amit Roy

SOONER or later, the dispute between the United States and Pakistan will be patched up and the Americans will re­sume the aid that has been suspended over accusations of “duplicitous” Paki­stani policy.
US president Donald Trump has never been to Pakistan nor does he know much about the country, so he must have relied on administration of­ficials who believe the Pakistani gov­ernment was giving succour to the Taliban and other terrorist groups while accepting some $33 billion (£24bn) in aid since 9/11.
“Mr Trump is right in one respect,” the Financial Times has commented. “America is not getting value for the money it provides to a country whose military and intelligence services, the ISI, have manipulated religious fanat­ics partly to keep a hand in the great game playing out next door in Afghani­stan… The case for reducing aid to Pa­kistan has long been clear. Ideally, it will prompt Islamabad to earn back the US assistance it has lost. But Pakistan’s internal weaknesses, the terrorists it harbours and its nuclear arsenal make for an explosive mix.”
In the past, former British prime minister David Cameron has also said Islamabad could no longer “look both ways” by tolerating terrorism while de­manding respect as a democracy.
The Pakistani government has in­dignantly rejected the US allegations while on the streets, the American flag has been burnt.
All this is predictable but Pakistan is today where it is partly because past US administrations have propped up the military for strategic reasons and not encouraged political institutions to grow. For the people of Pakistan to get out of the addiction of aid dependency may be a blessing in disguise. The fun­damental problem remains the same, though – the military won’t give up its profitable control of the state.
India would do well to keep out of the dip in US-Pakistan relations.