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Congressman wants US to end ‘toxic relationship’ with Pakistan

WASHINGTON: A US congressman and a former defence official have urged the Trump administration to review status of bilateral ties with Pakistan and stop treating the nation as an ally.

In a ‘hard-hitting’ article jointly written by Congressman Ted Poe and James Clad for the National Interest Magazine, the two US officials make no secret of their stand on Pakistan’s role and called it a “nominal ally whose military and security leaders play a lethal double game… that involves headlong nuclear-weapons production and exporting Islamist terrorism.”

Congressman Ted Poe (R) and former defence official James Clad (L).

Congressman Ted Poe (R) and former defence official James Clad (L).

The pair believes that Pakistan has become a quasi-adversary, receiving hundreds of billions through the years in direct and indirect U.S. support, “a strange hostage-like arrangement in which we pay Islamabad to do what it should be doing anyway to protect its own domestic security and buttress Afghan stability.”

They clamoured it’s the time that the United States sets, unilaterally, the limits of its indulgence with Pakistan.

Calling for change in US approach towards Pakistan, the legislators said “something must change in our dealings with a terrorist-supporting, irresponsible nuclear-weapons state, and it must change soon. Acquiescing in the current trends is not an option.”

Here’s what they suggested in balancing ‘toxic terms’ with Pakistan.

  • Don’t let the next crisis in South or Southwest Asia deflect our focus.
  • Don’t rush to shore up Pakistan’s balance of payments via the IMF or other intermediaries, as we’ve done in the past.
  • Let China pay that, if the Pakistanis wish to mortgage their future in that way. (China’s “one belt, one road” infrastructure plans for Pakistan are running into big problems.)

In September 2016, two US lawmakers – Dana Rohrabacher and Peo – had moved a bill to designate Pakistan as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’.

The bill titled the Pakistan State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act was introduced at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was  in the US to address the United Nations General Assembly.

Poe is head of a congressional committee on terrorism, nonproliferation and trade while Clad is a former deputy assistant secretary of defence for Asia who worked with the George W Bush administration.

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