While the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and India, Hina Rabbani Khar and S.M. Krishna, met on the sidelines of the Tokyo conference on Afghanistan, and while they had meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, none of the bilateral meetings would have led to any progress in relations. Not even in the case of Afghanistan would there be improvement, though Ms Khar and Ms Clinton might have had much to talk about, with the former’s government having decided to restore the Nato supply route, and the latter’s deciding to buttress its occupation of Afghanistan by granting it the status of a major non-Nato ally, something it gave to Pakistan only when it sided with it in its war on terror. This provided Ms Clinton an opportunity to explain the ramifications of this to both Ms Khar and Mr Krishna.

One expects that Ms Khar would have explained how the government was handling the Difa-e-Pakistan Council’s decision to launch a long march on Islamabad, and would have brought to the fore the disappointment and anger of the populace at the decision to reopen Nato supplies, and that too without charging any transit fee or getting any guarantee that drone attacks would be brought to an end, or even a gesture in that direction. It is quite clear that the populace wants no part of the USA’s so-called war on terror, and would like the government to bring to an end the alliance with the USA. The Pakistani people are rendered wary of the fact that, while it is Pakistan that is losing lives in this war, it is India which is being given undue importance in the region by the USA, including in Afghanistan. Ms Khar should have used the opportunity of Mr Krishna’s presence, that there was no further role for India in Afghanistan, rather than that Pakistan was going to make further concessions at the American behest.

Pakistan is being tempted into very tenuous paths, and falling prey to very tenuous hopes, over Afghanistan, even though its interests there make it impossible for a solution without its willingness and cooperation. Not just the Tokyo opportunity, but all chances must be availed to ensure that Pakistani diplomacy is not just proactive, but also keeps the national interest uppermost, and ahead of all other countries’. Most importantly, Pakistan must not get carried away by the prospect of some other power giving it a place in the Afghan settlement, a place it has to have anyhow.