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US tilt towards India created trust deficit with Pakistan

* Former president points out nexus between India and Afghanistan in creating unrest in Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Blaming “a strategic shift of US policy towards India” for an “acute deficit of trust” between Pakistan and US, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has suggested open and frank talks to restore the trust immediately.

“The abandonment of Pakistan after 1989, with a strategic tilt of the US towards India and military sanctions against Pakistan, cost US-Pakistan relations very dearly,” he wrote in an article for CNN, suggesting in the mind of Pakistanis the US “used” Pakistan and then “abandoned it.” The alleged “US nuclear policy of appeasement and strategic co-operation with India against Pakistan is taken by a man in the street in Pakistan as very partisan and an act of animosity against our national interest,” Musharraf wrote.

He said there was an acute deficit of trust and confidence between the US and Pakistan at all levels of government, the military and intelligence that further complicated and indeed weakened “our joint war against terror.”

Musharraf said today Pakistan found itself in the eye of storm of terrorism. “The situation demands a clearer understanding of ground realities in South Asia, bridging the acute trust deficit and developing a unity of thought and action among all coalition players,” he said, adding, “Blame games, rigidity, arrogance and insensitivity towards others’ interests will always remain counterproductive.”

He said there was no doubt that Pakistan was a victim of terrorism and was certainly not the perpetrator. He said after 9/11, US military offensive in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s membership of the coalition all hell broke lose in Pakistan. “Pakistan’s national and social fabric was torn apart,” he opined.

Also blaming what he called the “malicious role of India and the Afghan government in maligning Pakistan’s military and intelligence,” Musharraf said: “We know what Indian consulates are doing, especially in Kandahar and Jalalabad.” “We also know that Afghan intelligence, military and foreign service personnel go to India for training,” he alleged asserting, “Not a single Afghan official comes to Pakistan, despite Pakistan’s longstanding offer of free training since my time in office.”

Calling for a stop to what he dubbed as ‘the ulterior Indian motive of keeping Afghanistan hostile towards Pakistan,” Musharraf said, “Only the US can ensure such an essential change.”

“The continuing US military presence and operations in Afghanistan, indiscriminate drone attacks with increasing collateral damage in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, and finally the violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty in a cross-border strike against Osama bin Laden are all now seen most negatively by the people of Pakistan,” Musharraf said. Regarding Kashmir, he said the “dispute needs an urgent, amicable settlement. That is key to stopping militancy in the Indian-held Kashmir.”

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