Farooq Hameed Khan Buoyed by Pakistan Armys outstanding victories against the Taliban militants, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar and COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani flew into Washington to a red carpet welcome for strategic dialogue with a superpower that has remained Pakistans most untrustworthy 'ally. They presented to the US government a 56 page wish list duly compiled with the armys assistance, which was in sharp contrast to General (retd) Musharrafs virtual surrender before that one White House telephone call after 9/11. However, what did Pakistan gain from this dialogue, especially with all the hype that accompanied it? The joint statement issued contains grand generalisations, traditional high sounding promises and affirmations related to every subject on earth. Nevertheless, the statement smacks of hypocrisy when commitment is made to respect fundamental freedom, human rights and realise the aspirations of the people, especially when Dr Aafia Siddiqui faces gross American injustice and Pakistanis face humiliating body scans at US airports. Washingtons pledges in the energy and transportation sectors, fast track military equipment transfers, financial assistance for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), ROZs in FATA and greater access to US markets still remains far short of the over $50 billion losses suffered by Pakistan in the 'war on terror. Pakistan deserves waiver of its foreign debt with USA, just as the Egyptians got billion of dollars of their debt with USA written off, before joining the first Gulf War. While nuclear non-proliferation is included in Pakistans wish list, as a priority sector, the US has given no indication to allow non-discriminatory access to the civil nuclear technology. Further, the statement reiterates that mutual trust and respect are the core foundations of this partnership. This must be translated into action. But the questions are, will the US pressurise India to fully dismantle its Afghanistan-based anti-Pakistan network, designed to destabilise FATA and Baluchistan? Will the US cease covert activities of its security contractors trying to sniff around our sensitive installations? Will the propaganda by the American media against our nukes safety be discouraged? Will drone attacks be stopped in order to respect Pakistans sovereignty? What strategic gains does the US hope to achieve through its apparent 180 degrees U-turn, and barrage of conciliatory statements meant to appease Pakistan? Fighting a losing war, the US desperately needs Pakistans support for facilitating the Afghan peace process and a subsequent face saving exit from Afghanistan. It would pressurise the Pakistan army to launch a decisive operation against the Afghan Taliban/mujahideen groups in North Waziristan to ease pressure on US surge operations in Helmand and Kandahar. Is the US also eyeing Pakistans long-term support through Baluchistan in case of hostilities against Iran? Nevertheless, President Barack Obama must deliver noteworthy success in Afghanistan to the US public before the crucial November mid-term US elections. One only hopes that the mood of future rounds of the strategic dialogue may not end up like those tense scenes during the 13th Pak-US Consultative Group Meeting held at the Pentagon in October1997, to which I were a witness. Led by then Secretary Defence, late Lt Gen (retd) Iftikhar Ali Khan, the Pak delegation also included Secretary Defence Production Lt Gen (retd) Lehrasab Khan, the deputy DG ISI and our Ambassador in Washington Mr Riaz Khokhar. The US side was led by the deputy secretary of state and assisted by senior State Department officials and Pentagon generals. General (retd) Lehrasab stunned the American delegation by protesting that there was no point having further Consultative Group meetings if there were to be no progress on long outstanding issues like the F-16s delivery or return of the money paid for those aircraft, which had badly marred Pak- US relations. I have seen Washington many times earlier and have no desire to come for such visits, he blared at his shocked US counterparts. General Kayanis emergence as the man in the 'driving seat when dealing with US /NATO, reflects the civilian leaderships growing confidence in the military in general and Kayanis professional abilities in particular in these challenging times. The briefing to COAS by some key government functionaries before the USAs visit should therefore not be construed as the armys intrusion into civilian domain or posing any threat to the political leadership. In fact General Kayanis pro-democracy credentials have been a source of strength for the government domestically as well as internationally. Foreign Minister Qureshi stated that USAs suspicions about Pakistan have evaporated. I hope that the reverse may not be true given the past US track record of insincerity towards Pakistan. But are the Americans really sincere in removing the sanctions oriented, arm-twisting and rollercoaster relationship of the past with Pakistan? Will the newfound Hillary-Shah Mehmood euphoria of a new day or reversing the mistrust or your struggles are our struggles be sustained into a steadfast strategic, long-term partnership? How much of the wish list becomes a reality is the ultimate test of this dialogues success? Last but not least, a few words of advice for the foreign minister. Instead of going overboard with too much emotions and uncalled for enthusiasm like the ones displayed during Kerry-Lugar press briefing and in the strategic dialogue , a more sober and composed behaviour would go well with the dignity of his office and our national respect. The writer is a retired brigadier Email: fhkhan54@gmail.com