As Pakistan’s Imran Khan struggles to retain his post in the face of mounting pressure this month, the current former prime minister has pointed the finger at the United States to explain his political downfall.
Khan accused Washington of plotting to oust him along with the Pakistani political opposition. US President Joe Biden’s administration has expressed regret over his “independent” approach to foreign policy and his visit to Moscow, which coincided with the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“This story is not a novel. It’s one of the most important public discourses in Pakistan, “said Aisha Jalal al – Jazeera, a professor of history at Dufts University in the United States. “It simply came to our notice then. We invite you to see your difficulties as a gift from abroad.
But while experts say Khan’s allegations of a foreign conspiracy against him are unproven and largely politically motivated, they highlight long-standing tensions in US-Pakistan relations.
“I firmly believe that the new Prime Minister and his staff and high-ranking military officials will be very interested in repairing the relationship,” Jalal said, referring to the impact of Khan’s allegations. “I think it will be at the top of the agenda.”
The sheriff of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party took office on Monday, following Khan’s defeat in a no – confidence vote in the Pakistani parliament, where he failed to retain a majority amid criticism over the worsening economic crisis and allegations of mismanagement.
The sheriff has promised to rebuild and “keep” the economy Creating relationships With other nations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and peace, “he said in a tweet.
On Wednesday evening, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken congratulated the sheriff on becoming Pakistan’s prime minister and said Washington looked forward to continuing its “long-term cooperation with the Pakistani government.”
“The United States considers a strong, prosperous and democratic Pakistan necessary for the interests of both our countries,” Blinken said in a statement.
We also look forward to building relations with other nations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and peace.
– Shehbaz Sharif (MSCMSshehbaz) April 11, 2022
But Pakistan is of the opinion that the Biden administration, which took office in January last year, does not see the country as a priority among other areas of focus, such as the US rivalry with China and most recently the war in Ukraine.
Political analysts have described US-Pakistan relations for decades as a “transaction” in which Washington seeks Islamabad’s support for regional security in exchange for financial assistance – most importantly Afghanistan. But the relationship is not always easy.
U.S. officials have accused their Pakistani counterparts of not doing enough to tackle “terrorism” and of harboring militant groups, including the Taliban. Pakistan has at times condemned US drone strikes and been equally outraged, claiming that it had paid a “high price” for supporting the United States in Afghanistan.
Madiha Afzal, a colleague on foreign policy at Brookings in Washington, D.C., said relations had reached a tipping point in 2018 when then-President Donald Trump cut security assistance to Pakistan before Khan took office.
But when Khan met Trump at the White House next year, a “very general overhaul” took place, he said. At the time, Pakistan was playing a key role in the negotiations between the Trump administration and the Taliban to reach an agreement to end the war in Afghanistan.
“By the end of 2020, with the election of President Biden and the immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan has established a geo-economic relationship with the United States,” Afzal told Al Jazeera, explaining that Khan hoped Washington would begin to look beyond Islamabad. Afghanistan’s lens only.
In an interview with the New York Times in June last year, Khan said he wanted Pakistan to have a “civilized” and “equal” relationship with the United States after the end of the Afghanistan expulsion, which ended in late August. That is, deepening economic opportunities, among other things.
“You know, unfortunately, the relationship broke down a bit during this war on terror,” Khan told the newspaper. “Because it’s a broken relationship [the] The US felt that they were helping Pakistan, and then they realized that Pakistan should do the US auction.
But Afzal said the Biden administration had not yet taken Pakistan to its playing field. “For the past 14, 15 months the US-Pakistan relationship has now been cooled by the Biden administration to the Khan government,” he said, turning to questions as to why Biden did not call Khan after it turned white. An example is the house.
“Now that [the US has] Leaving Afghanistan, apart from the usual issues of non-proliferation and terrorism and narcotics, there is very little interest, “Jalal added.” India has more American minds than Pakistan.
Perception of balance
Afzal said it would now be interesting to see how the US approaches Pakistan under the leadership of Sharif. Sharif’s older brother, Nawaz Sharif, has served three terms as prime minister, and Biden has served as vice president of the United States.
But he explained that Washington’s relationship with Pakistan has historically focused on the country’s powerful military, which was “on the same side” with Khan because of his foreign policy approach.
“[Khan] He said he wanted an independent foreign policy and good relations with all districts – the foreign policy approach of the civilian government and the military. [But] Over the past few months, visits to China and Russia have made it look different, while in reality it has nothing to do with the White House, ”Afzal said.
“[The military] One thing the military does not like is the fact that Pakistan wants a positive relationship with the United States and does not properly balance its relations with the United States and China.
For his part, Jalal said he hoped US-Pakistan relations would return to “normalcy” but that it would be wrong to think that Islamabad would not continue relations with Moscow as it seeks to fix things with Washington.
“It simply came to our notice then [balance] Is not Imran Khan’s policy; This is a state policy, ”he said. “So, I think it’s important to understand that.”