Islamabad: Pakistan has been assessing whether a recent move by the United States lawmakers to stop the American administration from funding the sale of eight F-16 jets is a ‘temporary hiccup’ or else Washington will again abandon Islamabad as it had done in the late 1980s.
The government and security officials have concluded that while a complete breakdown in Pakistan-US relations is not imminent still there is greater urgency to prepare for the worst, a repeat of 1989 when the US abruptly left the region and imposed sanctions on Pakistan for pursuing a nuclear weapons programme, reports Dawn.
Officials listed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and Indian lobbying as some of the main factors behind the growing ‘anti-Pakistan narrative’ in Washington.
After the US Congress blocked subsidy for the 699 million dollars deal, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz admitted that Islamabad’s relations with the US has been on a ‘downward spiral’ for the last three months.
However, given the fragile nature of ties between both sides, many policy makers in Islamabad were not surprised by the decision of the US lawmakers.
The official recalled how Washington imposed sanctions on Pakistan under the Pressler amendment in 1989 which ultimately stopped Islamabad from taking possession of 28 F-16s, despite paying 658 million dollars for the jets.
Many in Washington later admitted how the US made a mistake by leaving Pakistan ‘high and dry’ following the Soviet withdrawal of the former Soviet Union from Afghanistan.
US President Barack Obama’s administration pledged not to repeat those mistakes and initiated a strategic dialogue with Islamabad to dispel the ‘security centric’ impression of their ties.
However, recent developments such as the controversy over the F-16 sale as well as renewed US pressure on Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network and the nuclear issue show that Washington’s interests are fast changing in this region, commented another government official.(ANI)