The United States and Pakistan have not been enjoying good relations since the assassination of the world’s most dangerous terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. Pakistan’s powerful army was embarrassed due to the US Navy Seals operation in Abbottabad, a garrison city of Pakistan, where Osama Bin Laden was living in a compound along with his wives and children.
A number of rounds of talks between the military and civil leaderships of both the countries have been conducted since May 2 to restore relations, but so far little has been achieved on this front. Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is in the US, where she has called on her counterpart,, to discuss bilateral issues. General Martin Dempsey revealed that he was all set to have a discreet meeting with Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, but both the leaders agreed to call off the talks owing to violent protests on the streets of Pakistan.
Last week, tens of thousands of Muslims across the Muslim world staged protests against the United States for Innocence of Muslims, a blasphemous movie made in the United States. In Pakistan too, sentiments against the US were high and perhaps it is a good decision of both the leaders to call off the scheduled talks. If people came to know about the US general having meetings with the army chief amid the rising tensions, it may cause irreparable damage to the image of the Pakistan army.
The US army and the Obama administration have been pushing Pakistan’s powerful military to launch a full-fledged operation against the Haqqani network based in North Waziristan, the lawless region of Pakistan. North Waziristan borders Afghanistan and NATO forces based in Afghanistan believe that most of the attacks on the US-led coalition troops are carried out by terrorists of the Haqqani network. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) also believes that the terrorist outfit is also funded, supported and armed by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan. The Pakistan army appears unwilling to launch a military operation against the outfit for a variety of reasons. A number of ISI officials believe that the Haqqani network is a strategic asset of Pakistan and can be used to gain leverage in the violence-wracked Afghanistan once the US pulls out its troops from the country. The United States has declared the Haqqani network a Foreign Terrorist Organization and is using drone strikes to eliminate the leadership of the network. Pakistan denies that the network is operating against the US-led coalition forces from its soil.