Cornered by India and Afghanistan for sponsoring terrorism from its territory, Pakistan has started a “major diplomatic campaign” to establish a friendly chord with the soon-to-be appointed new US administration under President-elect Donald Trump. According to Pakistani daily Dawn, reports have suggested that Islamabad is even mulling the “possibility” of sending Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the inaugural ceremony of Trump’s Presidency on January 20.
Pakistani Embassy officials, however, told the daily that visit of Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi to the US is one of the many steps planned to build friendly ties with the US administration. Fatemi started his Washington engagements today
Dawn said that Fatemi would meet Trump transition team in New York next week. He will also meet the newly elected US Congress members and officials of the outgoing Obama administration. The report said that two members of Trump team — Secretary of Defence nominee James Mattis and proposed National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn — are familiar with Pakistan.
However, a diplomatic observer in Washington told the daily that Pakistan may have to face “some probing” questions in both the Washington and the New York.
During the Heart of Asia summit at Amritsar on Sunday, India and Afghanistan had cornered Pakistan for the latter’s role in sponsoring terrorism from its territory.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the tone of the meet by highlighting why “resolute action” is required against terrorism in Afghanistan and the region.
“Terrorism and externally induced instability pose the gravest threat to Afghanistan’s peace, stability and prosperity. And, the growing arc of terrorist violence endangers our entire region. As such, support for voices of peace in Afghanistan alone is not enough.
“It must be backed by resolute action. Not just against forces of terrorism, but also against those who support, shelter, train and finance them.
“Silence and inaction against terrorism in Afghanistan and our region will only embolden terrorists and their masters. Third, our bilateral and regional commitments of material assistance for Afghanistan’s development and humanitarian needs must continue and increase,” PM Modi said.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani also joined PM Modi, holding Pakistan responsible for cross-border terrorism and providing safe haven to extremists. He said that Pakistan is in an undeclared war with Afghanistan.
While Pakistan is facing diplomatic heat in South Asia, Islamabad’s relationship with the US is also not so smooth. During a press briefing last week, the White House had said that President Barack Obama couldn’t visit Pakistan because of complicated bilateral relationship.
Trump’s election manifesto would ensure that the US-Pakistan relations remain complicated in coming days. The manifesto warns that normal relationship cannot be possible if Pakistan punishes it own citizen for helping the war against terror. Notably, Pakistan has jailed one Dr Shakil Afridi, who had helped the US in tracking Osama Bin Laden. Trump manifesto also raises “alarm bells” in Islamabad over the country’s nuclear programme, according to Dawn. It says that common interest of the US, Afghanistan and Taliban would be served if Taliban is destroyed and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is “secured”.