LAHORE - The diplomatic analysts and experts believe that the controversial US congressional hearing on Balochistan by the Committee on Foreign Affairs has the potential to further slowdown and even disrupt the counterterror cooperation between the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

They say on one hand, US President Obama is trying vigorously to reduce tensions that have bedevilled Pak-US relations for more than a year but, on the other, the US lawmakers are involved in activities leading to the dismemberment of Pakistan.

“Such negative thinking and hostile policy towards Islamabad is bound to alienate cooperation between the CIA and the ISI, despite the fact that both the agencies need each other to counter terror in an effective way,” said a diplomatic source.

He said the ill-advised Congressional hearing on Balochistan had almost brought the CIA-ISI counterterrorism alliance to a halt.

“Involvement of foreign hand in worsening law and order situation in Balochistan is an open secret now. Owing to its geo-political and strategic significance, Balochistan has become the arena for international Intelligence agencies. The CIA, RAW, MOSAD, RAAM, KGB, and MI5 are using Baloch youths to destabilise Pakistan,” sources added.

The Pakistani intelligentsia has got solid evidences about the linkages between some Baloch rebels with the foreign and anti-Pakistan elements.

According to diplomatic experts, the unsavoury developments in 2011, from Raymond Davis episode to US unilateral raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound and American drone strikes to the Nato bombardment on two border checkposts, widened the mistrust between the two allies and made Pakistan more cautious and insecure. After the deadly Nato strikes on Pakistan Army checkposts, the government immediately shot down the Nato/Isaf logistics supply lines for the 130,000-strong US-led force and got vacated the Shamsi airbase in Balochistan, used as a hub for the covert CIA drone strikes on Pakistan’s border areas with Afghanistan.

This provided the hostile agencies an opportunity to launch proxy war in Balochistan to disrupt peace in the region. In order to fill the void created by the frosty US-Pakistan relations, the Baloch Diaspora in United States, especially led by angry exiled Baloch leaders, started playing leading role in gaining political mileage against Islamabad.

The foreign-based Baloch outfits have been regularly highlighting the exaggerated account of incidents of human rights’ violations of Balochs to the Congressmen as well as arch-rival Indian cartels associated with media in the US.

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) cultivated many US think-tanks, cartel, and academicians in the United States who were against Pakistan’s principled standpoint. These Baloch organisations assured the American Congressmen that the Baloch were a natural US allies and would best serve the American interest in the region. They would share Gwadar port with the United States for uninterrupted Nato supply routes. They would also not allow the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline through their lands and fight the Taliban from the region.

Many experts think that US congressional resolution is seen as a ‘settling the score formula’. Amidst all of this, the US administration has tried to distance it itself from the troublemaking Congressman Rohrabacher.

After all, Mr Rohrabacher was not the face of the US administration and that his is a minority point of view in US foreign policy circles. The Deputy Chief of Mission US Embassy Islamabad Richard E Hoagland said, “Supporting Balochistan independence is not the policy of the Obama administration. Almost 4000 resolutions/bills on the average are presented in the Congress every year but only few get approval.  It is just a routine affair.”

US Ambassador Cameron Munter also advised Obama administration to employ a policy of minimum interference and maximum decency over Pakistan’s affairs.

Reacting on Pakistan’s demarche, the US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, while stressing the need for resetting the relationship between the two countries, said, “Divorce is not an option with Pakistan. We have strategic interests in common; we have a lot of work to do together.”

Nonetheless, experts believe where ever divorce is not an option, it’s a bad marriage.

Despite tension and pressure, the US want to get relations with Pakistan back on track as quickly as possible to reopen its key supply route for foreign troops fighting in Afghanistan. Most of the western countries believe that Islamabad’s active cooperation is crucial for the peace in the Af-Pak region.

Policy experts here believed that neither side can afford to go to extremes. Pakistan is prepared to continue cooperating with the US in countering terrorism but, at the same time, the continuous criticism coupled with the flagrant violation of Pakistan’s territorial integrity is not in line with the cooperation the two countries have agreed to maintain in counterterrorism.