Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has finally “normalised” Pakistan’s relations with the US, after two years of rupture caused by an incident on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and the killing of Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad. America has issued aid of $1.6 billion, which it had previously blocked, because it wants to get equipment worth $37 billion out of Afghanistan in 2014 with Pakistani help. The big success of Sharif’s visit to the US, according to Islamabad, was the resumption of the Pakistan-US strategic dialogue by March 2014. Washington’s Stimson Centre has described America’s reception of Sharif as “red carpet”.
But back home in Pakistan, the “nation” did not want to normalise its relations with the US, unless it stopped its drone strikes against the Taliban-al-Qaeda combine. An all-party conference strengthened Sharif’s hand on the drone-related demand because the Taliban, which is the most hurt by the drones, want them stopped. Pakistan thinks the Taliban will not exploit the free run that it will have in the tribal areas if the drone attacks stop by consolidating its hold there, but will sit down honestly to talk peace with Islamabad.
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