Pakistan's Choice, What to do or Not to do After Killing of Its Soldiers By Nato

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The killing of 29 Pakistan soldiers in a border raid by NATO was to have some echoes. But now the echoes have become louder and the Pakistan army has reacted. It has stopped the supply routes to the NATO forces and the result is that thousands of trucks are stranded in lines stretching miles and miles. In real terms the average Pakistani citizen and the middle level and junior level rank and file of the Pakistan army have always been against the USA ans its allies. Hence the leadership cannot afford to ignore this popular sentiment. This popular sentiment is spearheaded by the hardline Islamic parties, who are loathe even to restore the NATO supply lines.

It now does not matter that how the 28 soldiers died. Perhaps they brought it on themselves,but the Pakistan leadership led by Kayani cannot afford to soft pedal this incident. If they do they may very well face a coup and that would be their end. But generally the refrain in Pakistan is that the country is controlled by God, the Army and the US. Over the decades the United States has built up a significant presence in Pakistan and billions of dollars of aid both military and economic has been poured into the Pakistan coffers. This has given some leverage to the USA in Pakistan with small but committed group who support the USA. This is the modern and moderate Muslim elite, but the masses remain antagonist to the USA

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By stopping these supplies Pakistan risks losing all American aid and that will affect Pakistan strongly. Thus Pakistan cannot go beyond a point and at some stage will have to compromise. Failure to do so may rupture further the already strained relationship between the USA and Pakistan. Pakistan cannot in real terms have its relationship completely ruptured with the USA. Its thus a Hobson’s choice to do or do what. 

In the days to come perhaps Pakistan could be looking for a face saving option. The situation is compounded with a cold war  between the civil government and the Pakistan army. The recent Haqqani ‘Memogate scandal’ has added fuel to the fire. But the Pakistan army led by Kayani is heavily dependent on funding and weaponry from the USA. Further action will mean biting the hand that feeds it.   You can’t fight teh USA and pakistan knows it. Perhaps soon the Pakistan leadership will have to accept that the 28 dead soldiers is a collatoral damage in the relationsship with the USA

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