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Pressuring Pakistan is Counterproductive, Sherry

ISLAMABAD -UNS: Responding to President Trump’s policy announcement on Afghanistan yesterday, Senator Sherry Rehman, VP of the Pakistan Peoples Party has said that it is both disturbing and disappointing to hear a repeat of Pakistan being pressured to do more to stabilise Afghanistan. “After years of shouldering the heavy lift in Afghanistan and suffering the blowback of an earlier transformational war thirty years ago, Pakistan should not have had to hear recrimination as a non-NATO ally that has given unparalleled sacrifices in life, resources and national trauma to fighting a joint battle against terrorism on the Afghan border. There is little mention of the cost Pakistan has incurred or the successes it continues to achieve in clearing terrorism from the region,” she stated.

“Attempting to isolate and unjustly treat Pakistan will only compound the problem of lead to a dangerous sharpening of strategic fault lines,” observed Senator Rehman. “It will obviously be counterproductive for announced US goals to stabilise the region in cooperation with Afghanistan’s neighbors. Furthermore, it may redefine the notion of blowback.”

“As this new American policy beats the dead horse of Pakistani subversion in Afghanistan, it will surely be seen as unfair, and perhaps even an expedient cover for inconvenient truths: that Afghanistan has been a colossal failure of American imagination, objectives and power projection in the region,” she said.

“This policy and narrative continues to sequester Pakistan as a sole harbor for terror when its military and civilians give their lives fighting for space against violent extremism,” she emphasized. “This ostensible new policy is a reflection of the ongoing confusion in the American policy establishment on how to achieve its own constantly shifting and changing goal posts,” said Rehman

Senator Rehman further stated that the policy is neither smart, new nor inclusive. “Pakistan foresaw the rumblings and has consistently articulated and demonstrated its commitment to the common fight against terror. Sober minds should look to containing terror as a joint global project.”

Senator Rehman regretted that the unfortunate U.S. trend is to hector and not empathise that Pakistan is fighting the largest inland war against terrorism in the region. “Telling it to do more alone won’t help. Not at all. The future of global and regional stability lies in joint solutions to common problems. The movements of terrorism, disease, climate trauma are all border less challenges and must be countered in coordinated forums.”

“We must recognise that there are no military solutions to these long wars, and policy clarity, regional cooperation and strategic consensus is critical to preserving key rights gains made in many parts of Afghanistan. Pakistan is invested more than any country in stability and peace in Afghanistan, especially given our long border and history of traffic and refugee hosting, so a more constructive path is better advised for all those committed to the same goals,” concluded Senator Rehman.

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