Deakin University » Communities »

Claude Rakisits's blog

A Pakistan-US deal but for how long?

Last week's deal between Pakistan and the US to reopen NATO's supply routes into neighbouring Afghanistan ends seven months of deep freeze in the bilateral relationship. But the deal will be very fragile.
 
The circuit breaker to this outcome was US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's very carefully crafted apology for the deaths of 24 Pakistani troops killed in a NATO air strike in November last year.  Clinton expressed "deepest regrets" for the November incident and offered "sincere condolences" for the loss of lives.
 
This apology, which appears genuine, was a big win for Pakistan given that US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta had recently stated that there would be none.
 
This was the best Pakistan could hope for.

Pakistan blockade: US convoys are not going anywhere soon

For the past six weeks a high-level US team has been in Pakistan trying to negotiate a resumption of the convoys which travel through the country and provide Coalition forces in Afghanistan with about 30% of their non-lethal supplies.

Pakistan decided unilaterally to stop the convoys following the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border post by Coalition fighter planes in November last year.

One of the major sticking points in the negotiations is the fee Pakistan wants to impose on each container truck travelling through the country. Prior to the halt, Islamabad used to charge US$250 per truck; they are now asking for $3000.

The deep freeze

Bounty on Pakistani will not pay off

(A version of this blog was published in The Australian on 11 April 2012)
 
Washington’s decision last week to post a US$10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a terrorist organization accused of being behind the Mumbai attack in 2008 which killed 166 people, will not help put US-Pakistan relations back on track. 
 
On the contrary, it will complicate matters further, both bilaterally and regionally. 
 
This award is on par as the one offered for the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar, who is said to be hiding in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan’s province in western Pakistan.
 

Pakistan will want its share of (yellow) cake too

 (A version of this blog was first published in Dawn.com on 6 December 2011)
THE Labor Party at its biannual national conference which was held in Sydney 2-4 December decided by a thin majority to support the Australian prime minister’s motion to scrap the party’s nonsensical and contradictory uranium export policy banning the sale of uranium to India.
This is a welcome development.  It would appear, listening to the prime minister’s and her ministers’ comments on this issue, that the reasoning behind the change of policy was to maximise the prosperity and the strength of Australia’s relationships in the Indian Ocean region.

Obama must assist Pakistan, not punish it

Seven weeks after the elimination of Osama bin Laden, the fallout of the American operation continues to wreak havoc in the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship.

Despite reassurances from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stating categorically after her visit to Islamabad two weeks ago that there was no evidence anyone in the Pakistan hierarchy was aware of bin Laden's presence, bilateral relations have gone from bad to worse since then.

One cannot sufficiently stress how humiliating the unilateral US operation was for the Pakistan army, the only truly national institution.

Accordingly, it has badly hurt its standing in the eyes of the Pakistani public.

As a reaction to the bin Laden operation and to reclaim the initiative in US-Pakistan relations, the Pakistani government and army have taken several steps.

Unfortunately, many of these have complicated matters.

Jailed US ‘diplomat’ in Pakistan – symptomatic of a difficult bilateral relationship

 
The Lahore High Court’s decision on 11 February not to release from custody the American official involved in the fatal shooting on 27 January of two Pakistanis in Lahore - despite very heavy US pressure to release him because it claims he has diplomatic immunity - demonstrates once again how limited is Washington’s leverage over Pakistan. His next court date is scheduled for 28 February.
 
Reportedly, the ‘diplomat’ was assaulted in a robbery attempt by two individuals and he responded in self-defence. A third Pakistani was killed by a consulate vehicle that had rushed to the scene of the shooting. 
 
Syndicate content