09 May 2016
US-Pakistan relations, which had relatively stabilised in the last three years are once again in hot water. There is a sense of déjà vu in Islamabad, as the US Congress has blocked the move of the Obama administration to sell eight F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan at subsidised rates, under the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programme.
This development has taken place in the backdrop of increasing US pressure on Pakistan along three lines. First, the renewed demands to release Dr Shakil Afridi, the main accused who helped the CIA run a fake Hepatitis vaccination campaign in Abbottabad to obtain DNA samples from Bin Laden’s hideout, to confirm his presence there. Afridi is currently serving a 33-year imprisonment. Second, the demands to reduce its tactical nuclear programme at the recently concluded Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. And third, the demand to take military action against the dreaded Haqqani Network, which has been involved in a string of high-profile attacks in and around Kabul.
This has revived the troubled memories of the late 1980s when the US slapped sanctions on Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment, after the defeat of Russian forces in Afghanistan, for developing a covert nuclear programme. Coincidently, the US cancelled the sale of F-16s to Pakistan, despite cash payments by the latter.
… The writer is an associate research fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 10/05/2016