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US cannot afford to walk away from Pakistan, warns new report

Washington, Oct 5, 2022- The United States and Pakistan need to rebuild a modest but pragmatic relationship, based on mutual respect for each other’s interests, and not on exaggerated expectations, says a report, local media reported.

The report has been prepared by a dozen American scholars of South Asian affairs associated with the Pakistan Study Group (PSG), Washington, Dawn reported.

The paper warns American policy makers that they cannot afford to walk away from a country that involves three key regions — South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East — and has borders with China and Iran and is close to Russia.

The authors include a former US secretary of state for South Asia, two former US ambassadors to Pakistan, a former Pakistani ambassador to the US and other senior diplomats who have worked in Pakistan, and American scholars specialising in South Asia.

According to this paper, a modest, pragmatic relationship between the US and Pakistan would involve understanding that Pakistan and the US will “continue to see Afghanistan through different lens but can cooperate in maintaining peace in that country and alleviating its people’s suffering”, Dawn reported.

It also reminds American policymakers that “attitudes toward India at both the elite and popular levels in Pakistan will, at best, change slowly”.

The report also notes that “public opinion in both the US and Pakistan acts as constraints on bilateral relations”.

The US, however, can still induce Pakistan to change its overall strategic calculus, which is based on Pakistan’s understanding of its security environment, it added, Dawn reported.

The paper acknowledges that the US and Pakistan have divergent views on China and recommends “a more nuanced US policy on Pakistan”. (Agency)

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