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Has Wendy Sherman Got A Recipe To Mend Deteriorating US-Pakistan Relations? – OpEd

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US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman is scheduled to reach Islamabad on Thursday for talks aimed at bridging the widening breach between the United States and Pakistan on the Afghan issue, according to a note issued by the office of the department’s spokesperson.

 “The visit is taking place at a very critical time both, in the context of Afghanistan and developments in the wider region,” said a senior diplomatic source.

The source pointed out that the Biden administration did “not seem to be reluctant to travel to both India and Pakistan in a go, which was the case in the past.”

“This is an important visit, and we look forward to engaging with Ms. Sherman,” said Pakistan’s Ambassador, Asad Majeed Khan while talking to Dawn. “Together, we would explore ways to strengthen and expand our bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest and concern.”

According to the sources, Biden administration is focusing on four major points in its talks with Pakistan linked to Afghanistan these are: 1) recognition of Taliban government, 2) imposition of sanctions in case Taliban don’t behave as per the US expectations 3) access to Afghanistan and 4) counter-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan.

The sources say that the United States does not want Pakistan to recognize Taliban regime before the rest of the international community. Instead, it wants Pakistan to continue its efforts for softening Taliban position on controversial issues, such as inclusive governance, human rights, girls’ education and allowing women to work.

The Americans believe that a change of position on these issues could have a positive impact on Taliban image and pave the way for their acceptance in the United Nations. Individual nations, like Pakistan, should delay their recognition till then.

To begin with, analysts are of the opinion that Pakistan is a sovereign country and its foreign policy should not be dictated by the United States.

They also say that Pakistan has emerged at total loser after joining ‘war against terror’. Though, Americans were never tired of terming Pakistan ‘frontline allay’, India emerged as their major partner in economic development in Afghanistan. This created anti-Pakistan sentiment among Afghans living in the areas under the control of ‘Northern Alliance’.

While ‘do more mantra’ was common, many Pakistanis just can’t condone the US troops for their attacks on Pakistani check posts, worst being Salala tragedy

‘Arm twisting has been common’ in negotiations with the IMF, Americans mostly followed ‘carrot and stick’ policy.

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Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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