Ambassador Munter’s stint in office came at perhaps the most difficult time in the Pak-US relationship. He will be remembered for his calm and reasoned approach and his every effort to improve the relationship between the two countries, even in the face of overwhelming opposition from certain quarters on both sides.
During his farewell meetings and interviews, he assured that the US was favourably disposed towards the growth of democracy and democratic forces, but advised that all such institutions should continue to work together and not against each other. Difficult as it may seem, the reality that our institutions spend more time in power struggles than in service of the country, is not detached from our chequered history, replete with military takeovers. When Ambassador Munter called on Mian Nawaz Sharif, the PMLN leader correctly advised the US to strengthen democracy as well as bring down country’s reliance on foreign aid. So far as aid largesse is concerned, the absolute reliance is not healthy for Pakistan in the long run and will end the day a courageous leadership finds a way to get by without it. The penchant for ready cash is a weakness and a necessary evil. Our leadership can better serve the people, if it starts thinking about the next 20 or 30 years, rather than the next three months. We should start thinking about our national interests just like other countries do; assertive without being aggressive and diplomatic without being subservient. Working with the US we have come to a juncture where the Afghan war is about to conclude. This has been a difficult alliance, but the war that should be taken to its logical end without further endangering Pakistan’s stability.