US to seek democracy pledge from Inam
By Amir Mateen - Jang/The News
WASHINGTON: The announcement of electoral roadmap may have softened some ground for Pakistan Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq, who reaches Washington today, but he will have lots of explaining to do to appease the Americans.
Inam is scheduled to meet his counterpart, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Mark Grossman during a working lunch on Thursday, which will also be attended by the Assistant Secretary of State, Christina Rocca. Inam will later meet Deputy Trade Representative, Hungsnan, US pointman for counter-terrorism, Taylor and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control, John Bolton.
The timing for Inam's visit could not have been better. Aided by a relatively positive spirit created by the 14 August announcement, Inam will also be able to explain Pakistan's point of view on the sanctions issue right before the Bush administration's taking it up with the Congress.
The two sides are likely to cover the whole gamut of Pak-US relations-including Afghanistan, regional peace and non-proliferation -- as a follow-up to the Powell-Sattar meeting and Christina Rocca's recent tour of Pakistan. But the immediate US concern will be the American reservations about the electoral plan announced by President Musharraf...
Washington may trade concession on the sanctions issue with Pakistan's performance on the issue of peace with India and Afghanistan. While the Americans are not particularly piqued over Pakistan's stance on the peace front, the message on Afghanistan is loud and clear: Unless Pakistan helps the Americans in reining in the Taliban there can't be any progress. In fact, this threatens to severely damage even the present state of Pak-US relations. Washington continues to reject Pakistani position that it does not wield enough influence with Taliban.
Pakistan's diplomatic isolation is being felt by a handful of friends that Pakistan has been left with. Sol Sander, a former fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations writing for World Tribune, lamented this fact in an aptly titled column "Precipitously pushing Pakistan."
Sanders believes that the Afghanistan problem, which Washington deludes itself into thinking can be solved with the cooperation of Moscow as well as Indian and Central Asian support for Massoud's Tajik forces, would become even more intractable.
"The drug scourge out of the region will intensify. The Chinese might lose their present ally, but the likelihood is they could exploit the chaos against India and the US." And then there are the nuclear weapons and short-term missile delivery systems that Pakistan possesses, he says.
And finally his advice to the US President: "Mr Bush, pick up that telephone and call Musharraf. It may be the last chance to rebuild some kind of US-Pakistan dialogue." "Musharraf is desperate," he cautions Washington mandarin. "The report that Musharraf is thinking of a pilgrimage to meet Fidel Castro on his way to the UN General Assembly in September is the signal that we are reaching a danger."
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