US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson (Pic: Pakistan Link)
US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson has Akhtar Mahmoud Faruqui of the Los Angeles-based Pakistan Link newspaper that her country is "beginning to have a discussion with the Pakistan government" on its quest for nuclear energy.
She acknowledged that America’s "non-proliferation concerns were quite severe" but "I think we are beginning to pass those and this is a scenario that we are going to explore."
Somewhere along the line the Obama administration might be reasoning, and perhaps rightly so, that speeding up energy and other economic infrastructure development can arrest the march of millions of malcontents, many of whom end up as jihadists.
The Link report said, “She added the US was acutely conscious of the precarious energy situation in Pakistan, of people "sweating in 120 degree" without electricity, and would play its due role in raising installed generating capacity and making up for the present shortfall. US companies will be persuaded to invest in the power sector in Pakistan. “I have been telling businesses the investment would be a good deal ” she informed . "We have to get the message out ."”
“In this regard she spotlighted some purposive initiatives that the US has already taken to restore the original capacity of large dams by way of commissioning new turbines. Tarbela, Mangla, Jamshoro have lots of capacity that has been allowed to dissipate. Once refurbished, the dams would produce more electricity than what they are currently generating,” the paper reported.
I have no quarrel with this policy other than contrasting it with the way the US is responding to Iran’s quest for nuclear energy/weapons. If Iran had done what Pakistan has in terms of nuclear proliferation and incubating and launching jihadi startups the US would have responded very differently.
We all want a stable Pakistan where young people, especially the hot-headed young men, are not “sweating in 120 degree”.