Who sets the agenda?

By Zubeida Mustafa

SO much has happened between the United States and Pakistan in recent months that it is time for a review of their relationship. It would require the two countries to step back and make a dispassionate and objective assessment of their equations.

Analysts believe that the bond between the two countries “is driven by Pakistan’s utility [for the US] in fighting terrorism”. It is about the bare minimum — terrorism and insurgency-led violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan — that is needed to keep bilateral ties going. Ironically, according to this line of reasoning this predicates “the longevity of the interest on terrorism” on failure to improve relationships. This also implies that the two sides find it in their interest to keep the pot boiling, that is keep the region destabilised.

Click here to read the full article on Dawn.

12 thoughts on “Who sets the agenda?

  1. This is a very good article. There is so much talk about strategic dialogue between Pakistan and US/UK for increasing ties between these countries. But like Zubaida Mustafa herself pointed out it is a very unequal relationship. Do we want to increase such an unequal relationship?

    I have suggested we have a referendum in Pakistan on whether Pakistan should increase its ties with the US/UK.

  2. Why is it that we are calling the Taliban terrorists? Do we all really believe that they are the ones behind the terorrism? Do we all believe that they are the ones behind the 9/11 attacks?

  3. We know who sets the agenda! Since the creation of Pakistan, it is the foreign governments and their well-wishers in the country who formulate the policies.Long time ago a President wrote," Friends Not Masters". It implies that the foreigners are interfering in the affairs of the country.

    Now if we think that the people of Pakistan should set the agenda for the country, then foreign dependence must be given up. But how? It is a DIFFICULT thing to do for me, Zubeida and others. Even the President who wrote " Friends Not Masters" could not do it himself. So HOW?

  4. There was no thereat from India in 1947 at the time of independence or thereafter. India did not fall under the influence of western world or the USA. However due to aggression by Pakistan & China India was forced to go closer to Russia. These led to an arms race in the region and China is getting stronger & assertive. You see USA but do not see China’s hand in keeping Pakistan boiling.
    I would say Pakistan will be well off if it comes out of China’s or western influence & develops with its own resources and with fewer dectates from USA or China. Every country should look after its interest first.

    1. Indian foreign policy has certainly taken better care of Indian interests. But there has been a lot of aggression from India towards not only Pakistan, but all its neighbours. India should give up its hegemony, resolve the Kashmir dispute. We need to realise how much harm we are inflicting on each other. Look at the way staunchest of enemies in Europe have resolved their disputes, formed their economic, political and strategic unions. And now Europe and USA are trotting the globe and taking advantage of the divide and rule policy. They are using all kinds of pretexts to invade less developed countries. It will be to our mutual advantage if we resolve our conflicts and increase friendship between our peoples.

  5. USA is using Pakistan military & ISI to their advantage and keeps pouring money but still people are poor. Look at China & India. They have advanced on their own without aligining too closely with other superpowers. The better of the two is still India which does not want any country’s land and wants to live peacefully with Pakistan. India faces a bigger threat from China than Pakistan. Terrorism from Pakistan can be contained by India if Pakistan’s ISI & military stop using it as state policy of bleeding India and trying a policy of one upmanship. India is very large and can develop on its own. People are smart & hard working & peace loving.
    Hatred will breed hatred and that is exactly what is happening in Pakistan. Vested interests are taking advantage of the helpless condition of the common man.

  6. Today one can say that Pakistan came into being as a free nation in 1947 and lost its soul in 1950 when Liaquat Ali Khan visited the United States of America to bring Pakistan and the US closer together in the name of humanity and world peace. From the very first day, the nation has never behaved as a united group of people working for peace, progress and prosperity. And the great job has been done by our beloved self centred, sold-out politician, so called leader and elite class by keeping the common man away from education and awareness.

  7. I think now a days America is a superpower but it will not last very long. If you need to introduce crime in an area you just have to build a Police Station there and crime will automatically flourish. Similarly where America enters the scene crime escalates and the government is destabilized. Beware of America’s evil strategy.

    Yours truly,

    Naseer ud din

  8. Relations between nations should remain amicable at the least. So this should be between Pakistan and the USA. Nations will protect their sovereignty as long as the majority of their people are anxious to do so. However, they may make mistakes when they are taken for a ride.

    In most of the countries foreign policy (like other businesses in the public sector) are not handled by those the nation pays to do the job but by other people behind the scenes who decide. This is equally true about Pakistan, the USA and India. Very few countries can follow foreign policies that cater to their national interests. Even unadultrated democracy will not gurantee that. For democracy provides what the majority likes. Maybe the minority is wiser.

    The relations between Pakistan and the US will continue to be so till such time that real benefactors control the FP of these countries. I have little hope for the near future.

    What is good for a people and what is not, is not always dependent on liking for others what you like for ownself. There are sources of wisdom elsewhere too from where we need to draw.

    Tariq Mahmood

  9. Pakistan should have exposed the truth from the beginning about Al-Qaeda and that 9/11 had nothing to do with Bin Laden which makes the War on Terror = “War of Terror” for Evangelic US/NATO Supremacy. Unfortunately, ISI is from the beginning allied to MI6/CIA They have demeaning Islam by committing a crime which has nothing to do with them. Pakistan’s ally just a disguise to keep Pakistan colonized and destroy the ancient civilization and its people systematically. It is ironic that this message doesn’t go to the masses due to Elite Media.

    Deepak Sarkar (Writes & Campaigns as Kolki)

  10. I do agree with Mr. Tariq Mahmood's comment. Today a lot said about non-state actors specially in developing world and it is given various title according to the convenience of developed block. However the fact of the matter is that what these non-state actors are blamed for, very unfortunately the same is being the agenda of the various states particularly USA and UK.

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