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US-Pakistan relations still tense after apology (4)

(Global Times)

09:22, July 09, 2012

GT: How much impact will the reopening of the supply lines have on the relationship between Washington and Islamabad? Will it dramatically improve US-Pakistan relations?

Kugelman: No, the reopening of the supply lines will not improve relations at all. There will be several days of rhetoric about new opportunities for cooperation and bridging divides, but nothing significant will come from the decision otherwise.

There are so many tensions that remain unresolved. These include drone strikes, the imprisonment of Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped locate Osama bin Laden, and the Pakistan-based militants who attack Americans in Afghanistan.

Opening the supply lines will do nothing to make these issues more manageable. And in fact, given that both countries are facing upcoming elections, each side will be less willing to compromise on these issues. Neither side will want to be seen as the one caving in to the demands of the other.

Hussain: I don't envision any dramatic improvement.

However I hope things will gradually improve. The US needs to understand Pakistan the way it is. Most US perceptions of Pakistan are based on Indian input, which is often wrong, biased and misleading. Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. Many Pakistanis have lost their lives due to terrorism.

Nonetheless, sustainable and long-term relations must be based on mutual respect and respect for each other's territorial sovereignty and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

Islamabad acknowledges US aid towards development projects inside Pakistan, since the US Agency for International Development and other US agencies are doing marvelous job for the development of Pakistan. But the US needs to do more to draw down anti-Americanism in Pakistan.

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