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Pak won't stop sheltering terrorists: experts

News18

Updated: May 4, 2011, 1:49 PM IST
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Pak won't stop sheltering terrorists: experts
The US would never be able to persuade Islamabad to be a full partner in Afghanistan, said experts.

Washington: Given its obsession with India, Pakistan would never stop providing sanctuaries to terrorist outfits even if the Kashmir issue is resolved, and the US would never be able to persuade Islamabad to be a full partner in Afghanistan, influential American foreign policy experts have told US lawmakers.

"There is no way, I would argue, the United States will be able to persuade Pakistan to become a full partner in Afghanistan and to stop providing a sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban, given Islamabad's obsession with India and its view of Afghanistan as a critical source of strategic depth in its struggle with India," Richard Hass of the Council on Foreign Relations said at a Congressional hearing.

"Even a solution to the Kashmir issue would not change this, and there is no solution to Kashmir in the offing, certainly not in a timeframe that would prove relevant," Hass said.

He argued that Pakistan is more important than Afghanistan, given its population, its arsenal of nuclear weapons, the presence of large numbers of terrorists on its territory, and the reality that what happens in Pakistan will
directly affect India.

"Pakistan is, at most, a limited partner. It is not an ally and at times it is not even a partner," he said, adding the US should be generous in providing aid to Pakistan only so long as that aid is made conditional on how it is used.

"We should cooperate where and when we can, but we should act independently where and when we must. And the recent successful operation that killed Osama bin Laden is a case in point," Hass said.

Anne Marie Slaughter, former director of policy planning, Department of State, said the recent agreement by Pakistan and India's commerce secretaries to improve trade ties across a wide range of sectors, and a new found confidence
among Pakistani businessmen that they can compete in India's markets, are promising signs of a willingness to make long- held aspirations of regional markets a reality.

"The question for the United States is how a regional diplomatic agreement that would help address Pakistan's chronic security concerns as the same time as it would engage key regional players in underwriting long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan, can also help build the foundations of regional economic engagement and integration," Slaughter said.

"As long as Pakistan is willing to play the role it's played for all these years and provide sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban, not only does it mean that Osama bin Laden's death will not have material impact on the future of Afghanistan, but it will not essentially have the sort of salutary effects
you and I would like to see, you know, more broadly," Hass said.

First Published: May 4, 2011, 1:49 PM IST
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