Shouldn’t Pakistan be working to show the U.S. that it is trustworthy, and not the other way around?
“US says it is open to nuke deal with Pakistan,” by Chidanand Rajghatta for the Times of India, March 22:
WASHINGTON: Amid reports of massive 16-20 hour power outages across Pakistan causing public unrest, the Barack Obama administration has indicated it is open to Islamabad’s plea for a civilian nuclear deal akin to the US-India agreement, notwithstanding continued disquiet about Pakistan’s bonafides on the nuclear front.
The first indication of a possible policy shift by US, which had till now rejected Pakistan’s entreaties for a nuclear deal, came in an interview the US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, gave to a Pakistani-American journal in which she said the two sides were going to have “working level talks” on the subject during a strategic dialogue on March 24.
Patterson confirmed the claim of her Pakistani counterpart in Washington Hussain Haqqani, which were initially denied, that the two sides had had some initial discussions on the subject. Acknowledging that earlier US “non-proliferation concerns were quite severe”, she said attitudes in Washington were changing.
“I think we are beginning to pass those and this is a scenario that we are going to explore,” she told a LA-based Pakistani journal.
Another top US official, Af-Pak envoy Richard Holbrooke, was a little more circumspect. “We’re going to listen carefully to whatever the Pakistanis say,” he replied, when asked about Islamabad’s demand for a civilian nuclear deal….
Intimations of a change in US policy came even as new reports emerged about the extent and scope of government-backed Pakistani nuclear proliferation in a book by former weapons inspector and non-proliferation activist David Albright. Successive US administrations, in an effort to absolve Islamabad and save it from embarrassment from past misdemeanors, have suggested that the country’s nuclear mastermind A Q Khan acted on his own without permission from the Pakistani government or the military, but this assessment is strongly challenged by the non-proliferation community….
The idea that Pakistan deserves its own nuclear deal to overcome a trust deficit with the United States was first proposed by Georgetown University academic Christine Fair. “More so than conventional weapons or large sums of cash, a conditions-based civilian nuclear deal may be able to diminish Pakistani fears of US intentions while allowing Washington to leverage these gains for greater Pakistani cooperation on nuclear proliferation and terrorism,” Fair argued in a newspaper article earlier this year….