July 4th is commemorated by Americans as their Independence Day and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has never missed this opportunity to felicitate the US in a bid to reset his government’s relations with America. It will not be out of the question to confirm that Pakistan and the US are strategically interdependent. Both states’ love-hate relationship has seen ups and downs over the years but one thing is clear they have never shown absolute hostility to each other over any conflict. However, a trust deficit does exist between both states due to their vested interests.
Military cooperation, trade relations and monetary aid from the US are the salient features of this relationship. It is also a fact that Pakistan is a donor/aid-dependent country. However, what never ceases to amaze is the fact that we do not put any effort into being anything but that, into reforming our economic system in such a way that we can tuck away our begging bowl and hold our heads up high. Quite lately, successive governments in Pakistan have stressed the need for increasing trade relations with the US. The latest statistics reveal that Pakistan’s exports to the US have considerably surged by 23 percent during the last fiscal year. Reportedly, Pakistan’s exports of goods to the US had reached $6.16 billion by the end of May 2022. The development augers well for the Pak economy in the midst of a growing financial crisis. Pakistan needs to invest money in setting up more industries. It should hire young talented people who can set up local automobile, mobile phone, medical, and aviation industries and invest money in locally made products. When the export will rise, Pakistan can get rid of this tag of an aid-dependent country.
Apart from political considerations, Pakistan needs to win the confidence of the US by promoting a strong trade relationship. There is a need to convince the US to change its perspective of looking at Pakistan as a state infested with militancy and an aid-dependent country. Albeit, the US has reservations against Pakistan for its alleged involvement in supporting the Afghan Taliban and its defeat. Pakistan’s refusal to fight a US war in Afghanistan has already irked the former. This is the reason that the US has been hesitant to extend any financial support to Pakistan. However, the strategic importance of Pakistan in the region never allows Washington to sever ties with Islamabad. The US is still dependent on Pakistan’s political, diplomatic and military help to deal with the situation in Afghanistan post-withdrawal and for bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table.
Both states depend on each other in areas related to their national interests. The US is in dire need of Pakistan’s political, diplomatic and military help to deal with the terror groups posing a serious threat to the region’s stability. Pakistan needs the US to ward off economic crisis and to counter negative propaganda by India. Hopefully, the present government’s engagement would yield positive results and both states will find out a common ground for resetting their relationship.