Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz conceded in Senate on Thursday that relations with the US had been under stress for the past three months because of conditions Washington had attached to the funding of F-16s sale. Across the board the US has upset its long-standing, unwaveringly loyal ally.

Yet the fact of the matter is that the US has us in the palm of its hand. It is Pakistan who is almost begging for the subsidy over the F-16s, and the US Congress can decide their fate in whatever way it wants. If it finds, that it is not in its national interest, it will stop being kind to Pakistan. Pakistan, currently, has minimum leverage, and our diplomacy over the years has lost all its skill. Even so, the odds are stacked and are unfair.

US public opinion, as reflected in the May 12, New York Times (NYT) editorial, is that Pakistan is to blame for Afghanistan’s on-going crises. The editorial described Pakistan as “a duplicitous and dangerous partner… despite $33 billion in American aid and repeated attempts to reset relations on a more constructive course.” A war, that the US started, and was never able to win, is being put on Pakistan, while the NYT sings praises for Afghan leadership: “Last year, more Afghan civilians and troops were killed than in any other year since the Taliban was toppled in 2001. Since taking office in 2014, Mr. Ghani has been a more reliable leader than his predecessor.” So, more deaths equals better leadership? Yes, because Pakistan is to blame, not Afghan incompetency- Pakistan, a country so powerful, that it has got the whole region in a tizzy. The assertions are insulting, so much so that the Ambassador to the United States Jalil Abbas Jilani had to speak up against it.

To add to this, the Afghans had the audacity to protest against the fencing of the border on Thursday. While Pakistan is trying to plug illegal and secret border crossings and movements of people for our safety and theirs, the Afghans don’t even recognise the Durand line. This is maybe because once the border is closed, and Afghan immigrants are cracked down on, they have one less excuse to blame Pakistan.

The American people for their part should remember the sacrifices made by the Pakistani people for American security. At least 55,000 Pakistanis civilians and soldiers have been killed in the US-led War on Terror, and 1.3 million people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan combined. $33 billion in aid doesn’t even begin to cover it.