United States Defence Secretary Leon Panetta's recent statement -- that the United States was losing patience with Pakistan for its refusal to eliminate safe havens for insurgents who attack American troops -- has created a new row between the two countries.
Panetta, during a recent visit to Kabul, said, "We are reaching the limits of our patience" about Pakistan's lack of action against the safe havens for Al Qaeda-linked militants near its border with Afghanistan.
"We have made that very clear time and again and we will continue to do that, but as I said, we are reaching the limits of our patience," Panetta said.
Pakistan has strongly rejected Panetta's statement. On Saturday, the Foreign Office issued a statement saying the defence secretary was oversimplifying some very complex issues that Pakistan was dealing with in its efforts against extremism and terrorism. These issues needed to be seen in the context of overall peace and stability in Afghanistan and the broader region.
"Pakistan has repeatedly said that it will not allow its territory to be used against any country, nor will it allow any safe heavens on its territory. We are fighting terrorism and extremism in our own national interest and nobody should doubt our resolve and determination in this regard. Our sacrifices remain unparalleled and our resolve unshakable," said the statement.
Pakistan warned that such statements are misplaced and unhelpful in bringing about peace and stability in the region.
Reacting to Panetta's statement, The Nation wrote in its editorial, "It is because its (America's) patience is running out, not because of the attack on a US base in eastern Afghanistan, which is blamed on the Haqqani Network. The network has become an Afghan government tool to explain away its failures of governance to the American, and, in turn, the Americans use it to blame Pakistan for their own failures."
Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman has also termed Panetta's statement as "unhelpful" and said, "This kind of public messaging from a senior member of the US administration is taken very seriously in Pakistan, and reduces the space for narrowing our bilateral differences at a critical time in the negotiations."
She said, "It adds an unhelpful twist to the process and leaves little oxygen for those of us seeking to break a stalemate."
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence and Defence Production Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed also believes that such statements reflect the US's failure in Afghanistan.
"Losing patience with Pakistan and blaming Pakistan for the US's failure in Afghanistan was a reflection of imperial arrogance as well as failure to accept responsibility for Washington's own mistakes," he told reporters in Islamabad.
He added that the Muslim world had also "lost its patience" with the US for its policy of flexing its military might. Since 9/11, the United States had spent over $3 trillion in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in which an estimated 2,25,000 people had been killed and almost 8 million displaced, according to figures provided by an American university.
"It is, therefore, not surprising that the Muslim world has lost patience with the United States due to its policies based on military might destabilising the entire region", said Mushahid.
Responding to Panetta's statement, head of Jamaat e Islami Syed Munawwar Hasan said it is a tactic to make Pakistan surrender to US's demand of reopening of NATO supplies.
"The US and its allies are furious because the NATO supply lines have not been reopened so far. They were playing the carrot and stick policy," he said.
Pakistan had shut off the supply line for NATO troops in Afghanistan after an air-strike at the Salala check-post killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year. The US administration has expressed regret over the incident but refused to issue a formal apology so far.