Anti-US Demonstration
Anti-US Demonstration Reuters

US Pakistani relations continued their downward spiral with a series of developments, each contributing to the frosty relations between the countries.

The US withdrew its team of negotiators from Pakistan after no progress was recorded in reopening the supply routes for NATO forces in Afghanistan. These routes are also going to be the exit routes when NATO shortly withdraws from that country. NATO is now compelled to use alternative routes that are longer and costlier.

Last week, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the United States was reaching the limits of its patience over the protection that Pakistan was offering the Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan who were attacking NATO.

In a bid to defuse tensions, the United States sent assistant Defense Secretary Peter Lavoy to Pakistan to assist in the negotiations, but he was deliberately snubbed by high Pakistani officialdom. Lavoy was limited to meeting only low-level Pakistani officials below his rank.

Finally a Pakistani judicial commission ruled that former ambassador to Washington ,Husain Haqqani, was the author of a memo that sought US support in stopping a military coup shortly after the liquidation of Osama bin Laden.

While the US has acknowledged that it received the memo, it denies that it ever took it seriously, especially as the US had no effective way of intervening in any case.

The memo also sought help in curbing the power of the military and was delivered shortly after the death of bin Laden, whose hideaway was suspiciously close to a major Pakistani army garrison.

Haqqani recently criticized his country at a session of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He claimed that his country had been seized by a hyper-nationalism that manifested itself after the United States took out Bin Laden. While during the first 2 days after the operation, some newspapers questioned how Bin Laden had been able to set up shop in Pakistan, the issue disappeared afterwards.

Pakistan was totally engrossed with the issue of the violation of its sovereignty by a unilateral American action. As a result of the Pakistani policies, Pakistani citizens are facing increasing visa restrictions on travel abroad.

Despite US anger towards Pakistan, Washington is restrained by the knowledge that it is dealing with a nuclear power and a country that will have a major say in the fate of Afghanistan following the NATO withdrawal. These considerations prevent a complete rupture in the relationship. 

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