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Imran’s Plight

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Ever since the days of the Cold War, Pakistan received special treatment from the US led western alliance, to counter the Soviets and India’s ‘non-alignment’. This reached its peak when Pakistan became the base for the ‘mujahideen’ fighting in Afghanistan. However, Pakistan always played a double-game, initiated in the time of ‘President’ Zia-ul-Haq, when the same tactics were unleashed on Kashmir. After the attack on the Twin Towers by the US created ‘Bhasmasur’, there was some awakening in Washington, but the desire to use Pakistan as a pawn continued. However, with the arrival of Donald Trump as President, past services rendered are no longer acknowledged and Pakistan has not been spared the disruption that is US strategy in every part of the world. Pakistan PM Imran Khan will meet President Trump on 22 July in the hope that there will be some relief from the constrictions that have been imposed on his country. From a time when Pakistan could hoodwink a willing US Establishment to believe in its undying friendship, the relationship at present is purely transactional. Unfortunately, Pakistan now has little to give. The best it has on offer is its leverage with the Taliban, but Trump really does not care much about what happens in Afghanistan beyond getting out of that country as early as possible. His policy for the region is focused on breaking the stranglehold of Arab and Iranian oil on the world economy. The Shia- Sunni divide is being exploited for that purpose and Pakistan has little clout in that war. (The nuclear threat only works against India.) Khan will not even be able to play the China card, simply because it no longer exists. China is feeling the heat of the trade and tariff war and has no cards for the Pak PM to play against the US. Some hints have already been given by the US on what it expects amounting to almost complete acceptance of its demands. Pakistan will have to take responsibility for its patronage of terrorism. Guarantees on behaving in the future will have to be given if it desires financial relief and other kinds of patronage. It cannot afford to patronise the jihadi groups that wage its proxy war against India. Trump does not care a fig about the political correctness and advocacy of human rights that are used to ‘assist’ ‘oppressed’ peoples. He is only interested in what the dollar can buy – not even in the distant future, but today. From Pakistan he is seeking absolute subservience, as it has nothing else to give.