New US Ambassador to Pakistan – Hopes and Fears

By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)

An ambassador is just like an army general representing his country politically. A general is always chosen according to the nature of the war or according to the policy for the war. In the same way an ambassador is also chosen according to the nature, political and strategic importance of the country where he will serve. But he is also handed over the task to accomplish the real agenda of his motherland.

The next US ambassador to Pakistan is Dr Cameron Munter. He is coming to Pakistan at a stage when US and Pakistan only meaningful relation is based on war on terror. Unlike Jihad era the three companions (US, Pakistan and Afghanistan) are doubtful about one another. US does not trust Pakistan. Though she praises Pakistan’s role in war on terror but it is a reality that mistrust is there. In the same way Afghanistan is not satisfied the way US is eliminating terrorists. US also raises questions about the performance of Afghan government. Pakistan apart from war on terror is totally inclined towards Chinese side. The only linkage between US and Pakistan is their cooperation in war on terror.

Dr. Cameron Munter has recently expressed his concern about anti-American sentiments in Pakistan. Apparently it seems that he will work on making the positive image of US is Pakistan. But his previous experience raises many questions and doubts aw well as hopes in the minds of Pakistanis intelligentsia. He has dual kind of experience of representing US and implementing US policies. If we see at his career it can be easily divided into two different phases or experiences. If on one side he worked in European countries, which are highly industrialized, on the other hand, he also worked in societies where there are transitional periods and the societies are divided politically and religiously.

He worked in Prague (Czech Republic) and Belgrade (Serbia). But these countries have passed through bitter experiences of divisions. In the same way, he worked in Iraq – a country where Shia and Sunni Muslims were once living in peace but today after US advent in Iraq Shia and Sunni are two hostile communities. Similarly after Jihadi era Afghanistan – a country whose politics affects Pakistan and vice versa – is practically divided between Pashtun and non-Pashtun regions. Dr. Cameron is a close friend of Mr. Holbrook – US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Dr. Cameron also worked in Poland (Warsaw) in the period when it was trying to enter European Union – if not an enemy but still a political competitor of US.

Recently Dr. Cameron said “US officials needed to be better listeners and work towards building a lasting relationship with Pakistani counterparts based on honesty and mutual respect. Let’s be honest about this. We need to overcome historical scepticism among Pakistanis about American motives in South Asia, and this will require ceaseless engagement, energy and outreach.”

Now these statements create a hope that may be US is planning to mould the public opinion of Pakistanis about US – which she did not wish in the past. But what is the logic behind this? Perhaps US wants to have an image like China in Pakistan. But that is only possible when she will follow Chinese way of politics – non interference.  As long as US will try to dominate, Pakistanis will never praise her struggle for the betterment of Pakistan.

Dr. Cameron has the experience as leader of provincial reconstruction team (Mosul – Iraq). If he has any plan for the reconstruction of Pakistani areas destroyed by terrorists and floods, Pakistanis will not only welcome his arrival but he can also work in a better way to convince Pakistanis to stand against terrorists.

But he has the experience as Chief of Staff in the NATO Enlargement Ratification Office and experience of working in societies where western powers have divided the people. These experiences will surely terrify Pakistanis because the issue of Iraq is still unsolved. It is extremely urgent that he should first of all announce his motives here in Pakistan.

Suppose western powers have any planning for planting the seeds of division here in this part of the world so they should keep one think in mind that in Afghanistan people were waiting for a Messiah to liberate them from the yoke of Taliban. However, here in Pakistan no one is waiting for Messiah. Western powers will get a tuff resistance here incase of any adventure.

Dr. Cameron must understand on thing that disturbing the solidarity of Pakistan will not only make the situation worse for them but rather their own interests will be at stake. Once Pakistan is used by giving it the title of frontline state but this time US new technique of making a Pakistan the sole arbitrator in negotiations with Afghan Taliban will not work. If US is really interested in bringing peace in the region so she must understand that reconciliation in Afghanistan is delaying operation in North Waziristan. Once Pakistan is convinced that Pakistan’s interests will be accommodated in Afghanistan despite the fact whoever is ruling there, so Pakistan will take serious interest in war on terror. Otherwise, this hide and seek policy of Pakistan and US will continue for decades.


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