Pakistan and Turkey join hands
As Pakistan elected its new Prime Minister in the recently held general elections, Prime Minister Imran Khan is already causing waves in the International community. Multiple calls by different Prime Ministers from all over the world, came to congratulate him. Khan has now pulled off an exceedingly rare feat: He has achieved the highest possible level of success as both an athlete and a politician. The world is now looking forward to collaborate with Pakistan and start of a new era of peace and prosperity.
While the world applauds Imran Khan for securing the largest number of seats in the Pakistan Assembly, they also expressed deep concerns about the prevailing terrorism in the region and also stressed on the bilateral cooperation to eradicate the menace. Further Imran Khan has also addressed the current pressing issues that the Prime Minister of the respective country is facing.
Being able to empathize with the Turkish President, Imran Khan extended a friendly supportive hand towards the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while Turkey is facing severe economic challenges due to the rift in the US Turkey relations. He has backed him up and reassured him of a future of better relations between Pakistan and Turkey.
The tense relationship between the United States and Turkey, reaching an inflection point has caused Washington to impose sanctions on Turkey to cause them to falter. Washington has worked around to manipulate the situation to have their Christian pastor from North Carolina freed which the Turkish government has imprisoned on specious terrorism charges. President Trump doubled the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum on Friday, causing the Turkish lira to plunge by 16% which was the result of the tensions over the American Pastor.
Similarly the United States has imposed sanctions on Pakistan too as they elected their new President. Trump administration has cut down vital military assistance for Pakistan. Notorious for blackmailing the US government initially warned and then held of 1.9 billion dollars of U.S. funding for Pakistan to get the government to cooperate with the President Trump’s strategy in Afghanistan. Further Tillerson’s comments follow on President Donald Trump’s threat to slash aid to Pakistan as punishment for giving sanctuary to the Taliban and other Islamist militant groups operating in Afghanistan.
In fact, funding for Pakistan has been falling for some time.Annual economic and security assistance peaked at more than $3.5 billion in 2011, but the Obama administration and Congress steadily scaled back aid for Pakistan since then, with funding falling below $1 billion in the 2016 budget request.
Washington has also previously cut arms supplies, which the Pakistani military has managed to weather by turning to China or other third parties for aircraft and weapons. In 2016, Congress blocked the sale of eight additional F-16s to Islamabad, citing the continuing support for the Taliban and Haqqani Network.
The harshest critics of Pakistan believe that the US government should revoke Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally or even declare it as a state sponsor of terror. These extremely tough policies may well be in the policy tool-kit, though the aid cuts and drone strikes would be more likely.
It was not just the stop in funding but also recently United States’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that the US would closely be watching whether the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bails out Pakistan — a key player in China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, and right now in need of a bailout.
“Make no mistake, we will be watching what the IMF does,” Pompeo stated in an interview after saying that he would welcome mutually beneficial engagement between the US and Pakistan.
“There’s no rationale for IMF tax dollars — and associated with that, American dollars that are part of the IMF funding — to bail out Chinese bondholders or China itself,” he added. This signifies that the US officials clearly know of the further financial troubles Pakistan is likely to face as it severely needs a bailout.
Being in the same boat, Imran Khan and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke about moving forward together supporting each other. Turkish president said that his country will boycott US electronic goods amid the escalating diplomatic dispute with Trump’s administration — despite trying to hold repeated dialogues with them and listing multiple grievances against the US.
Pakistan is important because of its geographic location and its geopolitical relationship, there’s no doubt about that. There’s no way that the US will consider Pakistan unimportant, given that it borders Afghanistan, where Americans are fighting their longest ever war, and given that it has deep ties to the world’s next superpower (China) and growing ties with one of the world’s most dangerous revisionist powers (Russia).
Certainly a harder US line would send Pakistan deeper into the embrace of China and Russia. Pakistan is already moving closer to Russia, and especially China. So will Turkey as there is likely shift of gravity away from the West and towards Russia and Eurasia.