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It is proving to be increasingly difficult not to criticize Trump’s overt-longing for engaging with Pakistan and Nawaz Sharif
Donald Trump recently pronounced himself to be quite keen in helping with solving out any issues that Pakistan might encounter (on a daily-basis), even going so far as to praise Nawaz Sharif and people of the country. Pakistan, in recent memory, has also been known for acting overtly hostile and interfering in Indian matters, which recently resulted in India teaming up with Afghanistan, a fellow member of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process and heavily criticizing the state. The big problem with Pakistan is it’s nation’s army, which likes to project an anti-India sentiment but India is working on countering this by showcasing Pakistan’s weakness in the region.
After falling out of financial favours with the United States, Afghanistan and India saw in each other as a natural ally, to counter Pakistan’s growing complex in South Asia. It’s not just that because Pakistan is linked to the Mumbai attacks of 2008 and also as Afghanistan would like to point out, Pakistan horrifically gives sanctuary to the Taliban. In the midst of this level of regional trouble spurred on by one isolated (and pre-dominantly Muslim) Pakistan, it is hard to figure out what Donald Trump wants to gain from his keen interactions with Nawaz Sharif. Aside from taking a diplomatic stance, Trump has already crossed out helping India and Pakistan sort out the two states’ Kashmir dispute, unless the President-elect of the United States is personally asked to do so.
Trump and his administration seem to show no understanding whatsoever of South Asian politics because relations with Pakistan is always a cautious subject for India (and Bangladesh). However, in Pakistan the phone call between Trump and Sharif have been received well because it is being looked upon as a warming of relations between United States and Pakistan, despite Sharif’s deep distrust of the US. In spite of being interested in how the free-world works, United States is perhaps influencing Trump to be a bigger leader for specific alliances the state has, one of which includes Pakistan.
It is a rather eternally hopeful message Trump is sending out to Pakistan, and the message has also been viewed as a welcome move in Pakistan. Trump is anticipating a good relationship with Sharif over the next four years, but that seems like a challenging prospect: Nawaz Sharif has already faced a very politically hurtful corruption scandal, and even suffered a military coup but he never hesitated to forge alliances with Benazir Bhutto, or Zardari, if it can serve his own political needs in Pakistan.
As former-cricketer-turned-politician, and founder of one of the three biggest political parties in Pakistan, Imran Khan pointed out (laced with criticism), Sharif might be politically critical towards Zardari’s political party in Pakistani politics sometimes but he is still an amicable critic there. There is absolutely no other way to look at Sharif except that he likes to participate in self-serving Pakistani politics, but as far as the Trump and Sharif relationship goes, it is worth observing and hoping that President-elect Donald Trump has the United States’ best interests at heart all the time.