Pakistani politics are leaning towards the United States again

After years of estrangement linked to the virulent anti-Americanism of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was forced to leave power in early April, Islamabad and Washington are formalizing their reunion. A strategic shift assumed by his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, and Pakistani military power, as much as a desire to reduce the country’s dependence on China.

The United States has since multiplied aid announcements for Pakistan, which is going through a deep economic crisis and historic floods. The two countries have also agreed on more confidential security clauses, a way for the American authorities to try to secure this heavyweight from South Asia in the Western camp, against the backdrop of the Ukrainian conflict.

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Last announcement dated Friday September 9, the American command for the Middle East, the CentCom, specified that it was going to send “an assessment mission to Islamabad to determine what support the US Department of Defense can provide to USAID [l’Agence américaine pour le développement international] under United States assistance. A decision taken on Thursday with the powerful chief of staff of the Pakistani army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Monsoon rains have submerged almost a third of Pakistan, claiming more than a thousand lives since June, and destroying or damaging more than 1 million homes.

Don’t offend China

Two days earlier, the Pentagon confirmed the existence of a discussion on the right track with Pakistan on the renovation of its fleet of American F-16 fighter planes. Estimated at nearly 450 million dollars (448 million euros), the current agreement has obtained the green light from the American State Department. The White House and the companies concerned have already assured that this negotiation will not result in the supply of“no new abilities, weapons or ammunition”. This sale will reinforce, says the Pentagon, “the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States”.

A meticulously chosen communication which is, no doubt, intended not to offend Beijing, Pakistan’s main strategic ally, which would have nearly 400 JF-17 fighter planes, manufactured with the help of the Chinese, but judged, by the experts , less reliable than the American F-16s. Nevertheless, according to a Western diplomat stationed in Islamabad, “The fact that the new Pakistani Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, made his first official visit to the United States on May 18 is a real sign”.

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