WASHINGTON: Pakistan has submitted a wish list to Washington ahead of high-level talks this week, asking for pilotless drones and helicopters as well as economic and other aid, said US and Pakistani officials on Tuesday. (Dawn.com)
According Dawn.com, the Pakistani delegation to the United States has submitted a 56 paged document to the US state department as a sort of wish list ahead of the week-long talks. Included in this list are both short-term and long-term demands. The short-term demands/requests obviously deal with enhancing Pakistani anti-terrorist capabilities, while the long-term requests are focused on an understanding between the two nations for the need of US assistance in energy and agricultural sector.
I am heartened to know that the Pakistani government has stopped being simply a puppet and is now forcing this relationship to be more democratic, even-handed, and transparent. Pakistan need not to be just a puppet regime. We are no longer a dictatorship that can be manipulated by powers that be in the best interests of the dictators. Weak as the government might be, there is, at least, some sense of accountability to its people and this is very obvious in the nature of Pakistani demands.
But Pakistan, I believe, should go much beyond asking for gunships and fighter planes. Pakistan should also ask for easy access to the US market for its goods and should also demand that the visa restrictions for Pakistani students to the US universities be relaxed. A larger number of Pakistanis studying in the US would help enhance the people-to-people relationship between the two countries while also enabling Pakistan to develop its human capital.
For the US the choice is very clear: would the US government support a democratically elected government and develop a long-term sustainable relationship based in mutual respect, or would they choose a short term relationship with a client state. I sincerely hope that this time both nations would go for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.