The fourth session of the day at the Lahore Literary Festival was an intense conversation between Sherry Rehman, Steve Coll and Shuja Nawaz. The one hour long chat which was moderated by Fahad Hussain outlined the harsh realities of our current friendship with the United States government and the future of this digressing friendship after the Obama administration.

The sitting started off with the Columbia university graduate asking the panel about their intake on the current unconventional presidential candidates including Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump will not become president; if I am wrong then you can find me, I’ll probably be finding a new country to live in,” as quoted by Steve Coll who further went on and elaborated upon the great deal of excitement Bernie Sanders has managed to cause amongst the young generation and then dwelled into an effective comparison regarding the odds of winning of the potential candidates.

“However, Hilary Clinton as being most supported by the African Americans, has the most chances of becoming the next president,” he added.

The bond of friendship between these countries has experienced extreme highs and lows.  With the United States government struggling at the hands of the guerilla forces in Afghanistan and blaming Pakistan for the misfortunes, trust amongst the two has lessened over the years. “We are living in ashes of friendship on both sides”.

 Shuja Nawaz and Sherry Rehman further stressed upon “the flawed” relationship between the two countries and the negative role played by the Pakistani government.

“Obama had personal interest in Pakistan; He used to visit this place with his friends and is the only president to have pronounced its name correctly. The relationship between the two has deteriorated over the years due the importance the US government gives India and it is necessary for the next president to have knowledge about Pakistan or else the bond between the two will further decline ,” Shuja stated.

Sherry Rehman further went on by emphasizing upon the importance of “decolonizing our minds” and “the problems that have been caused by Pakistanis living in the past”.

“We don’t represent ourselves very well. There is a transactioned relationship and we have always grabbed attention in bumper stickers as being the most violent country to live in. 2.5 million dollars which were promised through the Kerry luger bill have still not been dispatched by the congress because Pakistan doesn’t have the resources to utilize this money,” the former federal minister information added.

At the end of the session, the panel agreed that it’s unfair to expect “Strategic altruism” from the United States and circumstances will not improve for Pakistan until and unless the government gets its act together.