By: Pakistan Herald

Pakistan - US relations can be divided into three distinct phases: The Cold War period; the years of crisis in the relationship from 1990 to 1993; and the latter phase of repairing, rebuilding and redefining relations in the post-Cold War era. Post 9/11, a new chapter emerged in the bilateral relationship when Pakistan became a key ally in the war on terror with the United States. Ever since then, USA has used Pakistan like a submissive housewife to which the former owes no deference. The sad episode of a NATO attack on a Pakistani post on November 26, 2011 is the latest example of USAs ignorance towards a key ally. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been repeatedly found discussing the nature of this alliance as the relationship with Pakistan is difficult but important for the United States.

The fatal airstrike on Nov. 26 erased the preliminary progress that US has made so far dealing the most serious blow to reconciliation talks involving Pakistan on the matter of restoring tranquil in Afghanistan. The Obama administration got a taste of the new stringent Pakistani foreign policy terms immediately after the airstrike. Pakistan closed the supply routes into Afghanistan, boycotted a conference in Germany on the future of Afghanistan and forced the United States to shut its drone operations at a base in southwestern Pakistan. The number of American military officers, enlisted troops and contractors in Pakistan has dropped since then and American trainers have all been sent home. Pakistan is also restricting visas to dozens of other embassy personnel, from spies to aid workers.

Officials from Pakistan and the United States anticipate steep reductions in American security aid due to recent impositions by Pakistan, including the continued suspension of more than $1 billion in military assistance and equipment, frozen since the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May.

Leon Panetta, United States Secretary of Defense still remains confident that Pakistan will finally agree to reopen the ground supply routes into Afghanistan, adding that, ultimately, restoring a solid relationship goes well beyond supply routes and border operations. He also emphasized that the mission of fighting terrorism supports both the U.S.' and Pakistan's interests.""The terrorism that threatens us also threatens them,"" he said. But what Mr. Panetta has failed to notice is the rising anti-American sentiment among the Pakistanis. He must remember that stability of our relations won't come over the blood of our martyred soldiers. The only way to reach out Pakistan for its cooperation and friendship is to first recognize what it has sacrificed for your imposed war and then deal on mutual and equal terms. Pakistanis will not move forward without a formal apology from President Obama for the airstrike, which White House aides say is not in the offing.

For the moment, the bilateral relationship hasnt moved out of the crisis mode and remains in search of an affable coast.

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