WASHINGTON: In the 117th Congress, a Republican senator pushed a bill aiming to strip Pakistan of its status as the United States’ major non-Nato partner.
The US media, however, pointed out that “after four years of tumultuous relations in the Trump era, the legislation comes at a moment of uncertainty about the incoming Biden administration’s stance towards Pakistan.”
“Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, there was no indication that the bill would have momentum,” The Washington Times newspaper observed when reporting on the move.
The senator, Congressman Andy Biggs, although a popular Arizona Republican, is not a member of the body.
But relations have shown some signs of change in the last two years of the outgoing government, when, with Pakistan’s support, it launched a peace process with the Afghan Taliban. The mechanism lead to a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban, but the desired outcome of a full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan could not be accomplished.
While not as keen on a military withdrawal as President Trump has been, the incoming Biden administration still intends to reduce the military presence of America in Afghanistan. And foreign policy analysts in Washington suggest that the new administration does not want to launch its term with a significant rupture with Pakistan, as peace efforts in Afghanistan may be more complicated.
As Democrats are a plurality in the House of Representatives, the bill would require approval from the Democratic Party of President-elect Joe Biden to pass.
The Washington Times also pointed out that on Sunday, the first day of the 117th Congress, the bill “drew little US media notice but caused headlines in India, which… has long been critical of relations between the US and Pakistan.”