71 Years of Consensual Association between Pakistan and United States

It was on the same day in 1947 i.e. on October 20, 1947, precisely two months and six days after Pakistan’s liberation, the United States established a two-pronged bond with Pakistan. As a consequence, the United States became one of the first countries to establish a relationship with the newly born country — Pakistan. It is obvious that Pakistan allied itself with the U.S. during the Cold war era, counter to the Soviet Union.

In these 71 years of the bilateral relationship between the US and Pakistan, ostensibly, sometimes the bond looked as if it was very strong while at times it gave an impression of a frailer connexion. During Operation Cyclone in the 1980s, following the election of the left-inclined Pakistan People’s Party under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the rapport between these two nations swiftly improved and expanded.

However, the relations once again curdled after the breakdown of the Soviet Union, when the United States permitted sanctions against Pakistan by passing a revision, which was endorsed against Pakistan for its nuclear weapons program. The congealing of relations was instigated after the war with India in 1971 and zipped after India exploded a nuclear bomb in 1974.

Later, Pakistan once again presumed an important role in American geopolitical interests in the region following the attacks of September 11, 2001 (also called 9/11 attacks), and the ensuing War on Terror. As the United States termed Pakistan a major non-NATO ally in 2002, the bilateral relations were reinforced, once again.

As the time elapsed, relations began to rinse as both sides began to criticize each other as far as their strategies in the War on Terror were concerned.  The United States government frequently accused Pakistan of harboring members of the Afghan Taliban and Quetta Shura. In this background, Pakistan has alleged that the United States has hardly done anything to regulate safekeeping in eastern Afghanistan, where Pakistan’s most-wanted terrorist, Mullah Fazlullah has been believed to be thumping.

While discussing the topic of the bilateral relationship between these two countries, it becomes imperative to discuss the death of Osama bin Laden. On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden, the then head of the militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan by a United States special forces military unit. The codename of the operation was Operation Neptune Spear, which was ordered by the then United States President Barack Obama. According to administrative officials of the US, they did not share info about the raid with the government of Pakistan until the operation was successfully concluded. However, Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials said they were also present in the operation and cited the Operation Neptune Spear as a joint operation.

One more important thing concerning the twofold affiliation between these two countries is — the United States has been involved in wide-ranging economic, social, and scientific assistance as well as vigorous military relations with Pakistan. Also, Pakistan continues to occupy a strategic position in the United States’ interests in Central and South Asia.

According to the Washington Post, American culture has profoundly pierced into Pakistan. However, the public judgment in Pakistan recurrently ranks the U.S. as one of its least favored countries and vice versa. On the word of Gallup’s annual World Affairs survey conducted recently, only 15% of Americans had a favorable view of Pakistan.

Despite the fact that there has been a bilateral relationship of changing dimensions between Pakistan and the US, maintaining 71 years of the dual bond itself is a marvel.

-Dr. Suman Kumar Kasturi