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
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.