The steady deterioration of relations between these two erstwhile long-time allies is continuing with the latest political crisis between them that was sparked by the US’ decision to limit the distance that Pakistani diplomats in DC could travel outside the city.
Islamabad imposed reciprocal measures against American diplomats located anywhere in the country, and the situation has since remained frozen, but is nowhere near resolved.
While American-Pakistani relations have been worsening for the past couple of years now and especially since Trump’s aggressive New Year’s tweet against the country, they hit a low point when an American military attaché who had hit and killed a motorcyclist was originally forbidden from leaving the country aboard a US military plane that had come to retrieve him last week. A Pakistani court had ruled that he didn’t have full diplomatic immunity but he nevertheless left the country on Monday under unclear circumstances.
It was presumably the legal actions initially pursued against this diplomat that infuriated the US to the point of wanting to humiliate all Pakistani diplomats in the American capital through the imposition of new travel restrictions, but Islamabad had a good reason for broadening its own reciprocal decree to include all American diplomats anywhere in the country.
It was reported at the end of last month that the CIA failed in its secret plan to stage a jailbreak to free its local agent who was accused of cooperating with American intelligence in its quest to kill Bin Laden, and it’s well-known that US diplomats sometimes clandestinely go beyond their official duties in running spies inside their host nation. That’s probably what the Pakistanis are worried about after the news broke that the CIA was trying to organize a jailbreak, one which probably would have been violent and likely resulted in the deaths of some prison guards.
All states have the sovereign right to implement what they claim to be national security requirements, whether they really are like in the Pakistani case or are just unbelievably said to be like in the American one, but the reason why this political crisis in particular is so sensitive is because it involves the privilege of diplomatic immunity as established by the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as the respect given to other countries’ diplomats more broadly. In this instance, Pakistan was right to press for the American diplomat to be brought to justice for brazenly running a red light and killing a young man, even though he was eventually allowed to leave the country, while the US is exploiting its now-irrelevant response in order to humiliate all Pakistani diplomats in the American capital. Given the national security danger that American diplomats pose after the CIA’s failed jailbreak plans, there’s a legitimate reason why Pakistan’s reciprocal response extends to all US diplomats in the country.
Nevertheless, it can be expected that the US and its global Mainstream Media partners will reframe everything in the reverse by making the world think that the Pakistani victims are really the aggressors and that the Americans are completely innocent of any wrongdoing. This high-level intensification of the Hybrid War on Pakistan is intended to damage its target’s international reputation, but might counterproductively raise its soft power profile among its newfound multipolar partners such as Russia by proving the sincerity of the game-changing Eurasian geopolitical pivot that it’s recently commenced and which provoked the US’ rage to begin with.