Recently Washington has done a lot for Pakistan, but it is worth remembering that no matter what Washington did was, or most of it was in the form of military aid to enhance America’s war in Afghanistan. There were peanuts in the shape of civilian aid, if one compares the real dollar quantity involving the military assistance and civilian aid. I am not signifying that naught was done, and I am not attempting to down play American assistance, but I am, trying to draw awareness to the very little civilian aid. If America is serious about stabilizing Pakistan, she will have to really be in charge of the civilian aid issue.
In addition to civilian economic aid, Islamabad also needs a practical and complete policy to triumph over the immense challenges that are destroying Pakistan’s future. Ironically, good governance is not easy in a country like Pakistan. For decades, corruption has been a tumor in Pakistani society and this matter has to be taken into account without blaming any particular government.
Lack of faith in successive governments by Pakistanis is one more difficulty that won’t go away. Frequent armed forces inventions have shattered democratic institutions. Adding the fuel is the overall worsening financial, political and social conditions. If all this was not enough, the climb in suicide attacks against Pakistan and the military operation against the evil Taliban has jolted Pakistan to its very core. Further infuriating the situation is the dreadful power shortage across Pakistan that is playing disaster with lives, and businesses. In other words, there are mountains of serious challenges for Pakistan to tackle, and Islamabad lacks the means to deal with so many issues intimidating the country. Therefore, America will have to recognize that Pakistan’s troubles are inter-linked. Washington cannot isolate one particular difficulty to support Pakistan. The aid and assistance has to be planned to tackle all issues at once, or else, the brutal sequence of problems multiplying will carry on.
If America is actually serious regarding helping Pakistan get out of the existing disarray, as well as winning the ‘hearts and minds’ across Pakistan, they should balance back their actions in Pakistan. The information that Americans new embassy in Islamabad will house 350 marines, is not the way to persuade Pakistanis that America is a friend.
If and when the financial and social circumstances in Pakistan will start getting improved with the help of Americans and the fallout of these improvements would be felt by the masses, it would become easier for America to assert that Washington is an ally and a friend. Consequently, America should work out the details of directly financing projects that Pakistan dreadfully needs instead of handing over money to Islamabad. This is the most excellent way to relieve the pain at the grocery store, and at the petrol pump etc. Likewise it is equally significant to immediately tackle the on-going power catastrophe in Pakistan. This is the quickest technique to support Pakistan, because when Pakistanis observe the overall development in the country, anti American emotion would involuntarily go down.
Winning hearts and minds in Pakistan is not going to be easy if American Envoys shows up every couple of months to tell Pakistanis what they need to do. This is considered interference and it adds fuel to the previously blazing flames of anti-American sentiment. As long as common Pakistanis are in pain, it would be impossible for Americans to connect with any section of the society.
The time has come for Washington to make a choice vis-à-vis Pakistan and its future. If Washington wants to carry on on this path which results in unfriendly public, fine. Conversely, if the Americans are sincerely attempting to help Pakistanis, they must work on a dissimilar plan to directly invest to deal with the manifold crises about to ingest country’s future.
I value America’s pledge to support democratic system in Pakistan. I also respect her efforts to stabilize Pakistan. For some Washington is very serious about doing whatever it can to make sure that average people, particularly in Pakistan don’t give up on democratic system. For this, Washington is still pouring funds, but the deep-seated structural evils in Pakistan can’t be fixed in a blink of an eye. It will take a while to undo the path and to stop Pakistan from crossing point of no return. Washington has to DO MORE!!