Islamabad: The US should not treat Pakistan as an ally when it is, in reality, a state sponsor of terror, nor it should give Islamabad preferential military trade when it is, in reality, a liability, according to expert.
Michael Rubin, writing in Washington Examiner, said that Pakistan’s support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, it’s sheltering of terror leaders such as Osama bin Laden, even after Washington providing billions of dollars to Pakistan annually has not stopped Islamabad from sponsoring terror.
Thousands of Americans are now dead because successive US administrations trusted their Pakistani counterparts or turned a blind eye in exchange for Pakistan’s logistical assistance in Afghanistan.
There should be no debate about where the Pakistani government and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency sit, says Rubin.
Pakistan has also changed its diplomatic orientation. Beginning with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and continuing under Imran Khan, Pakistan’s leaders have transformed Pakistan into a vassal of China.
For all of Khan’s talk of Islamophobia, his fealty to Beijing is such that he not only ignores China’s genocide against its Muslim Uyghur minority but also actively endorses it. Given Pakistan’s turn toward China, perhaps it is time to strip Pakistan of its beneficial designation, says Rubin.
It continues to enjoy the legacy of former President Pervez Musharraf’s cooperation with the US. In 2004, the U.S. designated Pakistan to be “a major non-NATO ally,” a status that made Pakistan eligible for “loans of material, supplies, or equipment for cooperative research, development, testing, or evaluation purposes,” offered “priority delivery of Excess Defence Articles,” made a research partner for military technology, and even allowed the designee the “purchase [of] depleted uranium ammunition,” reported Washington Examiner.
Pakistan 2021 is not Pakistan 2004. Even in 2004, ISI behaviour made Pakistan undeserving of such a designation.
As per Rubin, the US might model interactions with Pakistan on those with China by putting limitations in place to prohibit US reliance on goods or services from Chinese military companies. This would immediately make military-to-military cooperative development and cross-servicing agreements more difficult. It would put Pakistan on par with almost every other non-allied World Trade Organization member country. It would allow both the State Department and the Commerce Department to stop sales to Pakistan on a case-by-case basis, reported Washington Examiner.
Congress has itself targeted some Chinese companies through the so-called Huawei provision, found in Section 889 of the 2019 National Defence Authorization Act. Perhaps similar provisions are necessary to forbid any dealings with any Pakistani military or ISI-linked companies.
At a minimum, Congress must recognize that any military equipment the US provides or allows to pass through Pakistan becomes vulnerable to China.
Washington need not bribe Pakistan any longer to maintain supply routes through Pakistani territory, Islamabad will still likely pressure the US for concessions in exchange for overflight access to Afghanistan, advised Rubin.