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Challenging American hegemony

Pakistan has finally shown the nerve to resist the bullying tactics of the American President Donald Trump over Afghanistan. The US President, who signalled action against Pakistan for harbouring and supporting what he called terrorists operating in Afghanistan in his new policy speech on Afghanistan a few days ago, might not have imagined that Pakistan would stand up to his hounding rather than giving in. In a series of reactions, Pakistan’s political and military establishment seemed little terrified by American President’s threat. Pakistan instead came out with a counter threat that it would call off its efforts in the Afghan reconciliation process if the Trump administration did not change its new policy of intimidation and coercion towards Islamabad. Both military and civil leadership appeared unanimous in calling the American bluff and said that Pakistan would not give in to any American pressure or demand. They conveyed the US administration through diplomatic channels that Pakistan would set its strategy for a peaceful Afghanistan in view of its national security policy. Pakistan has a history of servitude like approach towards the US. Since 1978 when then USSR attacked Kabul, Pakistan has been fighting America’s war in Afghanistan at a huge human cost. Thousands of Pakistanis from regular army to private armies have died defending American interests. After 9/11 (2001) attacks in America, the war in Afghanistan shifted well inside Pakistan with several anti-American militant groups targeting their own people, government and resources in Pakistan itself. Around one lakh people including several thousand security personnel have died in these terror attacks. Pakistan army has been engaged in fierce operations against terrorists in its northern parts for the past 6 years. But instead of appreciating Pakistani efforts, America, like a commanding master, always wanted more to do. That brought Pakistan to the brink of serious internal war, and there has been a sweeping feeling all across Pakistan that enough is enough. It is time now to say ‘no’ to America. The latest threat by Donald Trump worked like an igniting force to this feeling. The Pakistani army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa reacted strongly to US threats saying the war on terror would be conducted in line with national interests and not to “appease anyone”. He said that peace in Afghanistan was as important for Pakistan as for any other country. “We have done a lot towards that end and shall keep on doing our best, not to appease anyone but in line with our national interest and national policy.” Pak army chief said. That was a more-than-clear message to America that the era of giving in to American diktats has ended. Pakistan has started approaching its allies, including China, Russia and other countries to muster support in the face of the new US policy. Beijing has assured Islamabad that it will veto any possible resolution in the UN Security Council by the US. Russia too has conveyed its support to Pakistan. It is against this backdrop that Pakistan foreign minister Khwaja Asif postponed his Washington visit. He is now visiting China and Russia before undertaking American sojourn. The emboldened Pakistan is now talking to America by looking directly into its eyes, something that had been missing in Pakistan for decades. The Pakistan’s defiance touched unexpected heights when Islamabad refused to host the US acting assistant Secretary of State for South and Asian Affairs Alice Wells on her visit. She was supposed to visit Pakistan on Monday (yesterday) to hold series of meetings with Pakistani officials. But she was informed that no Pakistani official was available for Alice. It has indeed rattle the Trump administration and the political adversaries of Trump have called it as ‘disastrous’ for America. After the collapse of USSR, Washington has been acting as bad cop hounding and hunting everyone that came their way. With the rise of new giants, China and Russia, America needs to be shown its place. Pakistan has done it well to take it on itself.