Islamabad focus on relations with neighbours amid US pressure

February 05, 2013 - 4:57:54 am
ISLAMABAD: With two cabinet decisions going ahead — a deal with Iran on a gas pipeline and the transfer of strategic Gwadar Port operations from Singapore to China — Pakistan is deepening economic and diplomatic relations with regional players ahead of the US endgame in Afghanistan next year.
Both initiatives are generally viewed to have been taken against the wishes of the US that has pursued its own interests in the region and Afghanistan, notwithstanding Pakistan’s sacrifices and alliance.
Pakistan is reported to have suffered over $90bn losses in over a decade of cooperation with the US in its war on terror besides the deaths of over 30,000 people, including about 4000 troops.
Its return from US assistance, including compensation for services it provided to coalition forces in Afghanistan, remained less than $15bn.
A growing realisation in Islamabad has been that the US support for resolving Pakistan’s energy, water and economic problems has not substantially gone beyond bureaucratic engagement and preparation of technical  reports except some staggered assistance in small projects and training.