As very wisely said, “There are no permanent friendships or enmities, the only thing which is permanent are the interests.”
The United States wants to have normal relations with Pakistan. No doubt we, the Pakistanis, also want to have the same and that too at the earliest. But the US has to take certain clear and positive initiatives because its 11-year-long war against terrorism has destroyed Pakistan and its economy and that is what Pakistan, a poor friend, could do for a rich friend.
Pakistan suffered losses of $100 billion for being a frontline ally in the war on terrorism. More than 5,000 Pakistani soldiers and 35,000 civilians have lost their lives in this war. Brain drain, capital drain and industry drain have caused huge financial loss resulting in widespread joblessness.
The scenario has destroyed the confidence of the people of Pakistan. The investment situation got a huge jolt to the extent that not only foreigners but locals also have stopped making new investments or expanding existing businesses. The situation has turned so pathetic that even a minor incident whether relating to terror or not, gets wide media coverage abroad, particularly in the West.
Now what is to be done.
The US should arrange for the compensation of $100 billion, making an immediately payment of $10 billion to start with and the rest in next five years like $20 billion dollar per year.
In our religion, there is a system of Qasas which was adopted by the US government in case of Raymond Davis. The same way the US government should pay Qasas for all those soldiers and civilians who were killed in the war and that too only for the American cause. We do not want them to say sorry and get away. All the families who lost their dear ones should be given Qasas. Each soldier should be given one million dollar, and civilian $0.5 million each and $10 million for each soldier killed in Salala check post by Nato forces as was received by the United States from Libya in Locker B case in 1988. In principle, if there is a fighting between two groups or two countries and a third party gets wounded in the scuffle, it is the moral duty of country to pay at least the medical bill for the injured and $100 billion is the medical bill for Pakistan. Therefore, the United States and the other countries are morally bound to pay this bill.
In Pakistan’s case there are certain basic contradictions in the US policy. On the one hand, the Americans talk of friendship but in reality, things are entirely different. For instance, the US Administration knows well that Pakistan is in dire need of civil nuclear technology to cope with its massive energy shortage and for the revival of economic activities, but it plainly refused to meet that need.
The US is also aware that if Pakistani merchandise are given duty free access to the US market, it could do a lot of help to this country but it seems to have been working on this issue for so many years, without saying when the outcome of their effort would be known. The fate of Preferential Trade Agreement between Pakistan and the United States is also unclear.
The Americans need to get out of Afghanistan and only Pakistan can be helpful in withdrawal. If the US wants to ensure its safe exit it would act in consultation with Pakistan and accept its suggestions. Here are some suggestions that could help restore respect for the US in the eyes of the general public of Pakistan. The US forces in Afghanistan should hand over to Pakistan their weaponry so that Pakistan can handle the post-US exit problems. Pakistan will have to face those forces who have been fighting the US.
The departing forces should use Pakistan Railways for their exit through Karachi seaport and for this purpose it would be worthwhile for the US to spare funds for the improvement of its service.
n The writer is the former Senior Vice President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry and an economic expert.