A Dangerous Disconnect in US-Pakistan Ties

“U.S.-Pakistan relations continue to be marred by suspicion and mistrust. As evident from the recent rift – NATO helicopter attacks inside Pakistan leading to deaths of Pakistani soldiers and consequent reaction from Pakistan leading to the halting of the NATO supply route – the relationship lacks depth. It is ironic that despite being declared allies since the 9/11 attacks, their policies vis-à-vis Afghanistan often appear to be heading in different directions,” says Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Fellow Hassan Abbas.

"The contested history of bilateral relations, global politics and the varying nature of security interests are at the root cause of this disconnect. For the Obama administration, success in Afghanistan has become a political need in addition to a critical security imperative -- but for Pakistan, regional rivalry with India is the dominant concern. Meanwhile, militants continue to play havoc in Pakistan in one shape or the other. For instance, a barbaric attack on the famous Karachi Sufi shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi and assassination of progressive Muslim scholar Dr. Farooq (who was establishing an Islamic University in troubled Swat Valley) are signs that Taliban terror continues to haunt Pakistan – and Pakistan must review how it has fought militancy and terror networks so far. For the U.S., there are no good options except continued engagement and more emphasis on the development side of things.”

Hassan is in New York. To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or pr@asiasociety.org.