YORK - A major American newspaper on Thursday warned against breaking ties with Pakistan, saying such a course would be far more costly than maintaining the current 'fragile and sometimes disingenuous friendship.
Its clear that the long-troubled US-Pakistan relationship is at a crossroads, Boston Globe said in an editorial as tensions between the two countries escalated over Nato's raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers But, it should be equally clear that the United States and Pakistan still need each other, and that the Obama administration should do all it can to forestall a permanent rupture.
The Globe criticised the Obama administration for its muted response to the deadly Nato attack, and warned of serious consequences of further deterioration in US-Pakistan ties. Given the stakes involved, the administrations response has been surprisingly muted, the editorial said, noting that the US military central command launched an investigation into the airstrike, which US officials said took place only after US soldiers came under fire. But a US military investigation is unlikely to sway anyone in Pakistan, where the attack has been described as deliberate and unprovoked, the paper observed.
The editorial also referred to Secretary of State Hillary Clintons expression of regret over Pakistans decision to boycott talks over Afghanistans future and over the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers. But her statements hardly seem to reflect the importance that the Obama administration placed on Pakistan just two years ago, the paper said.
The core of the alliance is the exchange of American aid for Pakistani help in the fight against Islamic extremists. As imperfect as this relationship is - and as duplicitous as Pakistans military can be - a rupture in the alliance would damage counterterrorism operations in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, undermining a string of successes against al-Qaeda. A rupture would also be a victory for extremists in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed state, it said.
Some US officials think its only a matter of time before Washington and Islamabad part ways. The CIA quietly shifted its drones to Afghanistan back in April, and the US military has been rerouting increasing amounts of supplies through Uzbekistan. Many American politicians are calling for an end to US aid to Pakistan. That would be a mistake. The Obama administration should do more to explain how costly a break with Pakistan would be, especially as the United States seeks to scale back the war in Afghanistan. If Pakistan is causing trouble in Afghanistan now, as an American ally, imagine what it would do as an enemy.
The Nato attack in the Pakistani tribal belt aroused the ire of public, which took to the streets. The government halted the supplies to the Nato forces in Afghanistan and announced boycott of the Bonn conference to protest against the infringement.
Protest rallies were taken out in various cities of the country, including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Sargodha.