Hillary Clinton's visit has brought
nothing new to the Pakistani people. In fact it seems like a PR exercise - but
who would buy what the U.S. is selling? Beyond what they already own - a
compliant government - it's difficult to imagine. Unfortunately, she began her
visit with the usual targeting of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal when she declared
how worried Washington is about proliferation and nuclear-armed terrorists. If
that were really the case, the U.S. would shore up its own rather weak command
and control systems, given how often its nuclear weapons go missing and are found
later on unauthorized air force aircraft.
As for proliferation, since
its accord with India, the U.S. is itself guilty of breaching the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty; and then there is America's continuing
proliferation to Israel that no one seems prepared to discuss. Clinton also
wants Pakistan to "work with" the U.S. on the Fissile
Material Cutoff Treaty - despite the fact that Pakistan has strong reservations
to the draft put forward by the U.S. which seeks to permanently disadvantage Pakistan
in relation to India.
What's worse was Clinton's inartful
attempt to send a "message" to the Pakistan military - not only with
her nuclear diatribe, but her overuse of the word "democracy"! In
terms of concrete offerings, there appeared to be little beyond 10,000 tube wells - just the usual
promises of working for development and so on. Sadly, our foreign minister
seems so beholden to the Americans that he goes into spasmodic displays of
gratitude whenever he's in their company - and yesterday was no different. He
declared the U.S. a "great friend of Pakistan," but refused to demand
that this "friend" stop the flow of weapons from Afghanistan to the Tehrik-i-Taliban
[Pakistani Taliban]. Given that the Peshawar blast occurred before their joint
press conference, it didn't become our foreign minister when he failed to raise
this critical issue. After all, since 9/11 there has been a terrorist incident in
Frontier Province every 40 hours, and this wouldn't be happening without
the supply of weapons and money coming from Afghanistan.
On our energy problem, Mrs.
Clinton merely declared that the U.S. is committed to addressing the issue; but
if its way of addressing it is to demand that we end all government energy subsidies
and abandon the Iran pipeline project, then we're better off without their help.
If the U.S. is serious, it
should sign with Pakistan an India-like civil nuclear deal - but who of our
present leadership would demand this and stick to it? And that's precisely the
problem with Pakistan's relationship with the United States. The U.S. approach
toward Pakistan was summed up well with the photograph of Richard Holbrooke
slumped in his chair during the talks, chewing gum nonchalantly. After all, they've
gotten what they want from Pakistan. Our tragedy is that amid all the groveling,
there's no one to speak for Pakistan.