A Congressional Research Service report of the US lamented that any goodwill generated by the US aid is offset by widespread anti-American sentiment among the Pakistanis; this was revealed in an article by Michele Langevine Leiby published in Washington Post. One hopes that Leiby realises that this hatred is not without reason. The writer also quoted the Director of the South Asia Centre at Atlantic Council, Shuja Nawaz, who said: “Money can’t buy love.” Especially, when America’s covert objectives are to somehow anchor in the resource-rich region that is evidenced by their attempt at inking a long-term partnership with a puppet government in Afghanistan, which is groping for solid footing anticipating the allied withdrawal.

It is important to add that it is warmth, sincerity and personal touch, besides spontaneous and selfless outreach in time of need, that wins people’s hearts and minds; as China has done for Pakistan, even ahead of many Muslim countries. Unlike the USA, which wrongly believes that aid is the only way to win people; it is especially not possible when the aid is attached to the agenda that is against national ethos of the recipient country whose integrity is doubted all along, regardless of the material and physical sacrifices made by it. It is not only unwelcome, but also leads to more hatred. Unfortunately, however, it is the American mindset!

Or else after using Pakistan against the Muslim neighbour, why would Senator John McCain and rest of the American lot in or outside political office continue harping on the Haqqani-Pakistan nexus regardless of their mindless invasion of a peaceful country and in the process, plunging the entire region into chaos; topped by the criminal act of killing 24 Pakistani troops on the Pak-Afghan border without offering an apology over the tragic incident. As for the Haqqanis, it must not be difficult to understand that one cannot expect a friend to abandon his friend and neighbour. The best course would be to vacate the cause of enmity to resolve the problems.

Pakistan has never interfered in the affairs of its Western tribal belt, which has traditionally served as a defence buffer for it. Same is the case with the tribals along the belt on the Afghanistan side, who have criss-crossed for ages without let or hindrance. Haqqani has time and again said that he does not need to operate from Pakistan, since he is quite comfortable in Afghanistan. But if the Americans insist that the network is present in the belt, the question is: why did they force them to leave their homeland and also make Pakistan insecure?

Anyway, the Americans now want to secure a face-saving exit from the decade-long war in Afghanistan. Such is the level of US frustration that it keeps blaming Pakistan for the attacks on foreign troops by the Taliban; and to cover their inability to pre-empt the strikes by the scantily equipped militants, exposing their limitations. The American Ambassador in Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, has done exactly that after the Taliban had simultaneously stormed several government buildings, Nato headquarters and bases at Kabul, Nangarhar, Logar and Paktia. That, in fact, President Hamid Karzai and the international media have labelled as “intelligence failure.”

But this is nothing for Pakistan to gloat about, as in the Bannu jailbreak the militants, claiming to be Pakistani Taliban but supported by their dagger and cloak ally and most favoured neighbour of late, succeeded in breaking free with 400 criminals, including terrorists. To add insult to injury, some of the hardened ones returned voluntarily to be honoured by their jail mates in recognition of their valour. This is not only a slap on the Khyber Pakhtukhwa administration’s face, but also the entire nation, for their casualness despite advance warning. But the question remains: whether, like the Mehran Base attack in Karachi, the attackers had inside support and whether the probe, if any, was going to be hushed up as the previous ones, including those about attacks on various strategic installations? It is unfortunate that this is not the only ordeal Pakistan faces as fallout of the unholy war in its backyard; its security, diplomacy, governance and even sports are equal victims.

Anyway, an all-out effort is afoot to stall progress in Pakistan, isolate the country and force it into subservience and compliance. Unfortunately, Pakistani government readily obliges by opening its borders to those seeking to isolate the country! Pakistan’s Interior Minister has often hinted about a hidden/foreign hand trying to destabilise the country, but never identified it. So it is time for the security establishment to expose the enemy to the world with evidence.

    The writer is a freelance columnist.

    Email: zaheerbhatti1@gmail.com