Pakistan’s reputation, even in some supposedly ally states is a little more than tarnished. The US in particular, has been one partner country that has viewed Pakistan with suspicion, and sometimes with ill-disguised disdain. This is not always an official position – the administration of the time might look towards Pakistan as an ally. But this matters little, as opinion in its political circles seems overtly hostile at times. An article printed in The National Interest Magazine on Thursday, co-authored by Congressman Ted Poe and former Pentagon official James Clad, asks the Trump administration to ‘stop treating Pakistan as an ally’ for our presumed duplicity.

Congressmen Ted Poe is well-known for his bias against Pakistan – the only problem is that no one in the sitting government administration has ever thought to refute his views. In 2016, he called a hearing to discuss cutting off all aid to Pakistan in a bid to force it to take action against the Afghan Taliban. In 2013, he recommended giving Pakistan the ‘sequester’ treatment and cut off all higher education aid until the Pentagon could provide educational assistance to its troops. His feelings towards Pakistan are public; he seems to have a personal vendetta against all Pakistanis. 

But there is support for Mr Poe’s hatred against Pakistan in the US; although inexplicably, there is no data to support that Pakistan is a threat to the US in any way. Pakistan has sacrificed more than it has gained in its relationship with the US, in protecting US interests. Coalition support funds and other aid programmes aside, Pakistan’s security forces and civilians continue to lose their lives in a war the US started, while congressmen such as Mr Poe can sit comfortably in their offices and blame Pakistan. There is identifiable evidence to suggest that Pakistan is acting against militants in the country with a commitment never seen before. Even Centcom General Joseph Votel concedes to this fact. He admitted that the US high command was encouraged by Radd-ul-Fasaad as well.

With the Trump administration in place, Congressmen Poe’s opinions might find more traction. Although the Trump administration has not marked Pakistan as an enemy yet, friendly overtures have also been few and far between. However, in the case of the new government, the lack of overt hostility is in itself a positive. Pakistan can do little else but keep its nose to the ground and work towards eliminating militancy in the country. A reminder by Pakistani diplomats in the US to the administration of Pakistan’s resolve to fight terrorism might also be more than a little useful.

In the war on terror, Americans are not dying, Pakistanis are. We would like to hear how Pakistan or Pakistanis actually threaten the US, or promote terror in the US. There is no direct threat, and to bully a small state desperately fighting for its freedoms like this is petty and counterproductive.