US policy in Pakistan is immature diplomacy – journalist

Washington has decided to suspend some $800 million in military aid to Pakistan, the White House chief of staff was quoted as saying Sunday by the Reuters news agency. Journalist Ahmed Qurarishi says the move reveals how immature US diplomacy is.

­President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, stated on ABC's "This Week" program that the administration’s decision follows “some steps” taken by Pakistan. According to Daley, relations between the two countries were affected by the US raid in which Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed on May 2.

The New York Times newspaper said the move was intended to show US anger at the expulsion of US military trainers and to pressure Pakistan to step up its fight against militants.

“For the past few days we’ve seen signs and actions on the part of the US that are really being described by Pakistani officials as being immature in terms of diplomacy,” Quraishi told RT. “For example: constant reports in the mainstream media, particularly in The New York Times in the past week, talking about issues that pertain to Pakistani domestic politics. For example, the murder of a journalist – Admiral Mike Mullen, no less, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, coming out to accuse the Pakistani intelligent services of being behind it.”

“Cutting off $800 million – this money is actually the amount owed by the US government and the US military to the Pakistani military for using Pakistani facilities for the war in Afghanistan,” he continued.

“The US owes close to $8 billion for similar usage of other Pakistani military facilities for the war in Afghanistan, and this money has not really been paid and it’s overdue for almost a year now,” he stated. “And Pakistani military officials and politicians have been constantly reminding their American [counterparts] about this.”

Quraishi does not think there are any signs that US officials are really sincere about maintaining relations in a manner one would expect from two independent sovereign countries that would like to work together.

“Ten years ago it was very hard to find someone in Pakistan criticizing the US. It was taken for granted that if you are criticizing the US you must be some radical extremist,” he said. “But today you have people from the upper classes of Pakistan – the ruling elite – very, very critical of the US. So I think there is something really wrong, and I think there is a huge responsibility – also on the US media – to convey the right picture to the American public, which unfortunately they are not doing. They are very much toeing whatever the official line of the US government is.”

Quraishi said he does not see how the many serious differences between Pakistan and US can be resolved easily in the near future.