Pakistan-US relations: Who will blink first (Part-V)

February 14th, 2011 - 2:04 pm ICT by ANI  

One other factor that would weigh in any decision that Pakistan makes would be the impact that estranged US-Pak relations would have on India. The perception is that US and India will now form an anti-Pakistan nexus. US cozying up to India during the Obama visit in November is still fresh in public memory. It is feared that this could have destabilizing consequences in Baluchistan and in other parts of the Pakistan.

As against the negatives in the situation, some commentators have focused on two positives. One is the assessment that the US is making empty threats. The US cannot compromise the safety of 1.5 lakh forces in Afghanistan by alienating Pakistan over one individual. According to one commentator, when Pakistan stopped supplies for a week in October last, the US forces ran out of toilet paper and food had to be rationed. Therefore, they believe that the US cannot push Pakistan beyond a point.

It has also been suggested that Pakistan has so far resisted enormous US pressure to act in North Waziristan. Therefore, it should be able to resist US pressure on Davis.

However, what had not been publicized is that there is an alternative supply route to Afghanistan from Russia and Central Asia. Earlier, Russia had only allowed US to send non-lethal American supplies across its territories by train. But since July 2010 Russia has agreed to all supplies signaling its willingness to support the US/NATO efforts in Afghanistan.

As far as India is concerned, some commentators have put forward the argument that as a counter, Pakistan could blackmail the US by shifting troops from the Afghan border to the Indian border thereby weakening US efforts on the war of terror. The US would not want this to happen and therefore they would prevail on India not to indulge in any anti-Pakistan activities.

Another crucial question is about Raymond Davis’s security. According to some media reports, unarmed guards in the inner cordon are guarding him lest one of the guards does a Qadri on him (Mumtaz Qadri was one of the guards who gunned down Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer). Davis is clearly a high value target and his physical presence has become a bone stuck in the throat of US-Pak relations. His ‘escape’ or ‘encounter’ would no doubt have crossed the minds of several people in Pakistan and the US as an easy way out of the imbroglio.

Clearly, the stakes are extremely high for both the US and Pakistan. Mandarins of the State Department and MOFA would be working overtime to arrive at a compromise, as a way out for both without rupturing their relations.

Time alone will tell who blinks first. (ANI)

Attn: News Editors/News Desks: The views expressed in the above article are that of Mr. Salim Haq.

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