Thursday May 19, 2022

Afghan pullout: Sherry says US putting onus of failure on Pakistan

September 30, 2021
Afghan pullout: Sherry says US putting onus of failure on Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Wednesday discussed the new American bill against Pakistan seeking assessment of its role in Afghanistan before and after the fall of Kabul to Taliban.

Raising the issue of the bill that envisages penalising and sanctioning countries, including Pakistan, with reference to their role, PPP parliamentary leader in the House and Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Senator Sherry Rehman said Pakistan was faced with a moment of serious peril, following the hasty pullout of US forces from Afghanistan.

She spoke at length on the proposed legislation and regretted that the United States left Afghanistan with a deal it had made directly with the Taliban and was now pressing Pakistan to take responsibility for all that was happening in Afghanistan. She cautioned: “What is happening to Pakistan is actually worse than what has happened before.”

The PPP legislator emphasised the bill directly targets Pakistan and will have serious implications for it if it gathers momentum: though it was not the US Administration’s policy bill, it is important because it could gather critical mass. “It also points to a rise in toxic sentiments about Pakistan on the Hill, which many of us have worked very hard to reverse,” she pointed out.

She said a smart policy is about anticipating challenges and tackling them with unity and rational response. They are clearly saying that the government of Pakistan has supported the Taliban but it’s disappointing to see that no one has actually put it to parliament for shaping collective responses.

Senator Sherry noted while it is important to engage with all countries with self-respect, particularly angry superpowers like the US which itself is in turmoil over its 20 years occupation of Afghanistan, what are we doing to empower our own selves? “Instead of trying to unite the parliament around a bipartisan foreign policy, the parliament has never met on the Afghan transition, the humanitarian crisis there, and the response.

Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem said that the country’s leadership was keeping an eye on the events and taking best decisions in the national interest. He emphasised that there was only on leader, Imran Khan, who from day one, had been consistently saying that there was no military solution to the Afghan problem.

Senators from across the aisle regretted how the standards of sports had gone down over the years and specifically poured scorn on the Pakistan Olympic Association’s President Lt-Gen (retd) Arif Hassan amid calls for his resignation, dismissal and accountability, who had consistently been a failure.