Pakistan needs to put its own house in order, said a daily, pointing out that the country's primary interest, regardless of whether ties with the US improve or deteriorate, ought to be to "ensure domestic stability security-wise, economically and politically".
An editorial in the Dawn Monday said the first step in a "carefully choreographed two-step has been pulled off with diplomatic dexterity" with a team led by US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, completing their two-day visit to Islamabad without any fireworks.
The next step is foreign minister Hina Khar’s visit to Washington later this week "where it is hoped that a whittled-down and more focused framework for ties between the two countries will be formalised", said the daily.
The editorial, however, noted: "...much bad blood and mistrust characterise a relationship that neither side really wants to be in but cannot afford to break off entirely either."
"Confused - and confusing to the outsider - as the official Pakistani approach may be to its relationship with the US, there is also an unmistakable sense that the Americans themselves are unsure about how to proceed with Pakistan," it observed.
The White House is focused on a re-election campaign in which foreign policy, particularly Pakistan, barely figures.
"...And the US Congress has many hostile elements and no real friends of Pakistan. All those disparate elements have yet to be brought together in terms of a coherent and focused approach on Pakistan; in the near term, it seems virtually impossible that it will happen," it added.
It went on to say that in this country, "at least one good option is still available: put our own house in order for Pakistan’s sake".
"For regardless of whether ties with the US improve or deteriorate, regardless of whether Afghanistan emerges fairly stable or slips back into chaos, Pakistan’s primary interest ought to be to ensure domestic stability security-wise, economically and politically.
"A zero-tolerance approach to militancy is the starting point for an internally secure Pakistan that would ensure that regional and international relationships are engaged in from a position of strength," the daily added.