US DIPLOMATS IN PAKISTAN

PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER

 You greet someone at your door-steps but he pushes you back and forces himself into your home; what happens next? Surely your reaction would be very much hostile and aggressive. Same must have been the reaction of the security staff when some Americans, posing to be the members of US diplomatic crew, refused to provide their identity, dismantled the security hurdles with the push of their Land Cruisers and rushed into the already troubled area of Peshawar on 21st of this August. But the sensible security staff sagaciously behaved otherwise; just  to avoid further confrontation in spite of the fact that they had complete authority to tackle with the situation by using all possible means and stop the so-called escaped diplomats; their authority included the action of ‘ chase and shoot’ also. Such stubborn and obstinate attitude is nothing new on the part of the US diplomats inPakistan. For the last many months, there have been reports regarding violation of security rules and regulations at the hands of US diplomats in different cities ofPakistan includingLahore,Islamabad andPeshawar. To avoid occurrence of such problematic incidents in future and to secure the foreign diplomats from the reaction of the public as well as from the rage of terrorists, the government of Pakistan introduced some new security measures on the suggestion of the law enforcing agencies after the Raymond Davis episode in Lahore. These security measures include issuance of a No Objection Certificate to the diplomats in case they wish to travel to some other city from their place of posting. This NOC is supposed to be issued by the concerning office working at the GHQ Rawalpindi. The diplomats have been directed to keep that NOC with them while traveling and to produce when asked for. Most of the diplomats are very kindly following the instructions of the government of Pakistan in this regard keeping in view the diplomatic norms and traditions but the attitude of the US diplomats is usually otherwise. They behave as if they are all above from rules and regulations implemented by the government of Pakistan. They react in a very aggressive and violent manner whenever stopped at a check-post for identification. Such type of their attitude adds a lot to the already growing hatred and disliking for them among the Pakistani nation. It is a common belief in Pakistan that most of the so-called US diplomats are secret agents of CIA and their mission is to strengthen CIA network working in various parts of Pakistan. Raymond Davis is presented as a recent example in this context. At the time of his arrest Raymond also claimed to be aUS diplomat and tried to prove his identity with the help of some fake documents but later on he was exposed as a CIA contractor. The US-Pak relations are passing through the most fragile and sensitive phase of their history. The two countries need trust and confidence along with honour and respect for each other. The diplomats of a country in fact symbolize and reflect the esteem which their country has for the host country. Ignoring the instructions and violating the rules and regulations means nothing but disrespect and disregard and such behavior is totally undiplomatic.

It is a daylight fact that US needsPakistan’s cooperation and assistance to fight the menace of terrorism inAfghanistanandPakistanneeds the same type of co-operation in FATA to curb the foreign insurgency which is the root cause of terrorism. The situation is no doubt very critical. There are so many forces which are trying their best to create an air of confusions and misunderstandings because they don’t want peace and prosperity inPakistanas well as inAfghanistan. The objectionable attitude of theUSdiplomats inPakistanis providing enough ‘breathing space’ to such hostile forces. Their apathy and indifference to the instructions and directions issued by the government ofPakistanregarding the security measures is promoting an air of distrust and disbelief between the two countries. Co-operation and assistance between US andPakistanare the two basic ingredients inevitable for the success of war on terror. TheUSauthorities must keep a vigilant eye on their diplomats inPakistanwho are intentionally and continuously trying to distort the impression of a friendly relationship between the two countries. The government ofPakistanmust also be very much careful in the issuance of visas to the Americans who are flooding toPakistanin the name of social work under the flag of different NGOs. TheUSauthorities must also try to accept the reality that with the passage of time things inPakistanhave very much changed for them.Pakistanof today is not thePakistanof 1980s. The growing US-India closeness,USinterference inAfghanistanand the brutal drone attacks in the tribal areas ofPakistan; all these factors have cultivated nothing but a strong disgust and extreme loathing for theUSinPakistan. In such an unfriendly atmosphere the stubborn attitude of theUSdiplomats may prove a serious threat to theUSexistence in the region.

The writer is a Pakistan based analyst on defence and strategic affairs

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