Ali Zaidi / World Bulletin
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been keen to improve the economic conditions of the country since he has taken over Pakistan and during his recent visit to the United States he remained focused on this issue. He took his Finance Minister, Mr. Ishaq Dar, along with him only because he wanted to give a clear signal to the United States that his focus is nothing but trade and economy in the current tenure. Even when we look at his previous tenures in power, he emerges as one of the very few leaders who have a clear vision of what Pakistan needs to do on the economic front. Nawaz Sharif has enjoyed great relations in the past with President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
The commitment of the Prime Minister with the economy and democracy can be seen in one of his statement during his visit to the USA: ‘‘Democracy can only survive in the country if it is able to deliver on the economic front’’. He also invited the US investors to invest in Pakistan and assured them of security and business friendly policies. It was observed during the visit that the Prime Minister mentioned that he had no interest in the aid as it did no good to the economy of the country. He said he was looking for trade and that is why he tried to allure the US businessmen by showing off excellent gains the US brands have made in Pakistan.
Although Nawaz Sharif was very clear about what he wanted there were no agreements signed between the two countries. Pakistan has pleaded its case strongly before the Americans but it seems the troubled economy of the United States halted any specific deals. In their meetings President Obama and Nawaz Sharif discussed Afghanistan, Kashmir, drone strikes and war on terrorism promising each other a close collaboration with to solve all these problems.
It is a fact that Pakistan and the US have worked together over the years, but we must now accept that the two countries do not share the common goals; for example, while both countries had worked together to nurture the Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan, their priorities have changed. The US does not need Pakistan to contain Russia and its new rival in the region, China, enjoys cordial relations with Pakistan. For this reason, the US prefers India as a strategic partner to counter China and in the affairs of Afghanistan. It is clear that Taliban have traditionally been close to Pakistan while the NATO has always shown a tilt towards Russia and India. For Pakistan, a Taliban government in Afghanistan is not very desirable, yet it will surely want a good share for Taliban in the next Afghan government as it does not want a hostile neighbor at both the Western and Eastern borders. At the same time, it enjoys good relations with China and will not, at any cost, let its relations with China to deteriorate. In the South West there is Iran, another irritant for the United States in the region with which Pakistan has had great relations traditionally. It is a Catch 22 situation for Pakistan on this front as well. Pakistan wants to buy gas from Iran for which Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline is being laid while the US would never want this to happen.
Under these circumstances having had high expectations from this visit was unfair. The expression on the part of the US that the Drone strikes are counter-productive in the War on Terror is at least a sign that the things will start to get better in the days to come. Nawaz Sharif, too, has clearly showed that he is not going to carry forward the legacy of the previous two governments in Pakistan in its relationship with the US. We hope that he will be able to make the maximum out of the very few overlapping interests that are still common between the two countries.Last Mod: 04 Kasım 2013, 17:07