The government has appointed Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry as Pakistan’s new ambassador to the United States. Aizaz Chaudhry, if judged from his past performance, is a good choice to represent Pakistan in the US. His predecessor, Syed Jalil Abbas Jailani is at the end of his contractual period, and it remains to be seen if relations can improve to generate more trust between the states with Mr Chaudhry at the helm. At the face of it, it seems to be the outcome of Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi’s mission in Washington. Reports suggest that Jailani was offered an extension but declined, however, his tenure did not do much to improve Pakistan’s standing with the US executive and a new face might be better.

While word from the PM’s house is that the PM is satisfied with Mr Fatemi’s mission and the buzz around the visit is generally positive, Mr Fatemi cannot just come back home after exchanging a few handshakes and smiles. Some real goals with regards to the US need to be achieved. These include dispelling the notion that Pakistan has wasted US aid in the past. The US has to be convinced to change its policies towards Pakistan as they are just creating antagonism and frustration on both sides. Giving Pakistan aid, and then asking for it to get rid of nebulous terrorist networks or face congressional ire, is not good for the morale of the security establishment in Pakistan. The conditions that the US is tying aid to, including eliminating the Haqqani network, are creating a relationship of subservience that can never generate trust. The focus has to shift from security to development, and China has the right idea – it is able to generate security by offering development projects and trade links.

Tariq Fatemi will be returning next week and there is some hope that this visit will set the stage for the PM to visit the US. If this can happen, and the PM can meet the US president, it may boost Pakistan’s image abroad. Pakistan is surrounded by enemies; including India, and regrettably, also Afghanistan. Even worse, the US refuses to see the lack of help or support that India and Afghanistan have given it since 1947, and the lack of damage India has gone through because it didn’t put in its chips with the US. Pakistan is owed support, and deserves help and trust from the US. This sentiment must be crystallised by Mr Chaudhry from his counterparts in the US.