United States lawmakers were warned by the US administration at a congressional hearing that sanctioning Pakistan or declaring it a state sponsor of terrorism could backfire. That is where the good news ends. The Congress has deep-seated issues with Pakistan and while the executive may seem pro-Pakistan, the Congress holds the purse strings.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on US-Pakistan relations and the committee’s chairman Senator Bob Corker expressed frustration with Pakistan’s alleged lack of cooperation in defeating militant groups in Afghanistan. This frustration will find itself taking the form of reduced aid, to be cut by half this year.

The issue is that Pakistan is not seen as a rival to India, but as a dangerous state in isolation of regional politics. One of the recommendations given at the hearing was that the United States should seek ways to convince Pakistan to reel in its nuclear programme. Why we need to be contained like this, while India is encouraged with its nuclear program, shows that the Congress is a victim of “group think”- it is a mob that cannot think beyond its own interest to be able to understand the logic behind Pakistan’s nuclear designs. Our military assets, never have been and never will be aimed at the US. While we can concede that global terrorism and its Pakistani component is fair game for the committee, our nuclear assets have nothing to do with this problem.

Senator Corker said something even more ominous. He claimed that the Pakistani government would not cooperate with US efforts to eliminate the Haqqani militants. “We used to be able to take them out (using drones) in the FATA areas. Now that they’re living in the suburban areas, we cannot do that.” What happens when the Congress decides that it can do that? The fact is that the Obama administration had kept a leash on these myopic sentiments, which a Trump or Clinton administration will not. We have hard times ahead. Not only do we have to fight to protect our people, but also have to deal with a harsh US stance for the foreseeable future.