There is one thing in common in democracy in Pakistan and Pak-US bilateral relations: both are always unstable to some degree or the other. From the day first, the relations between the two countries are on a roller coaster. Since the start of the year 2018, however, the bilateral relations have reached a new low. With a tweet on the eve of New Year, Trump decided to suspend military aid to Pakistan. Though Trump aides are divided on what approach should be adopted towards Pakistan, it seems that the hardliners are winning the debate. Now, the reports are that Trump administration is going to impose further sanctions against Pakistan.

The oscillation of Pak-US relations is on extreme. From cooperation and assistance – the stance changes from day to day. New developments reveal that the US is considering the option of revoking Pakistan’s status of non-NATO ally and considering imposing political sanctions against Islamabad. It is not clear yet how the proposed new round of sanctions will affect Pakistan.

What steps has Islamabad taken about the debate that has ensued in the White House? Does anyone in the government have any idea of what is going on? What measures has the Foreign Office taken in this regard? What are the lobbying tactics that the foreign office is relying on to control the damage? The military establishment was adamant that bilateral relations were moving towards normalisation, especially after Taliban have given a green signal for holding a dialogue, yet seems to have been unaware of these developments.

The government, i.e., the civilian, as well as the military establishment, needs to come up with a clear policy against the confusing and erratic carrot and stick policy of the United States. The meeker Pakistan turns, more hawkish does the US become in blaming Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan. It is about time to find and rely on regional partners and to take at least some countermeasures against the US sanctions.