Imaginary Friends

President Obama’s recent trip to Delhi left little doubt that after decades of viewing Pakistan as its ‘most favoured ally’, America is now pivoting towards India. Not willing to be left out in the cold, Pakistan is seeking to enhance strategic ties with old friends like China as well as new ones like Russia. This realignment is an obvious snub to America who has historically had strained ties with China and Russia, as well as an opportunity to expand military and economic ties outside of the US. However, this realignment may be little more than the latest delusion cooked up by the Foreign Office.

Pakistan-Russian relations have always been cool, and despite media reports of a growing bond between the two, facts suggest that little has changed. Just recently, Pakistan executed a Russian citizen over the objections of Russian authorities. Then, in a manner befitting a spy thriller, Russian agents carried out an operation to snatch the corpse from Pakistan.

Pakistan-China relations have been warmer, but there has always been a great amount of evidence that this was little more than show, and that behind the scenes the actual relations are much more tense than is publicly admitted. The difference between fantasy and reality has been demonstrated once again as China has backed India’s Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the United Nations (UN). The CCIT is widely seen by Pakistani analysts as targeting alleged support for jihadi groups in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s oldest ally, the United States, is cutting aid to Pakistan again, this time by 10 per cent. We will continue to look to other countries to make up the military and economic support, but the reality is you can never get something for nothing. Until we are willing to face the reality of terrorism and extremism in our borders, we may wake up to find that our ‘friends’ existed only in our imagination.

Author: Mukhtar Ahmed

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Author: Mukhtar Ahmed