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Apathetic role of our rulers encourage others to twist our arm

Pakistan

By Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan continues to remain target of international and internal conspiracies. It is caught up in a vortex of American imposed war on terror for the last nine years which has claimed thousands of lives, wrecked national economy, jolted the social fabric and created deep-seated insecurity. FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are worst affected by terrorism, although Punjab has also got its share. Flames of war have now crept into major cities of Punjab . While Quetta has become a ghost town because of unabated target killings of settlers by BLA, BRA, BLUF, all aided by RAW, resulting in exodus of over 10,000 non-locals from Balochistan, situation in Karachi is explosive where target killings are going on since January. In second half of July 50 persons were killed by unidentified assassins. ANP workers and Pashtuns residing in Karachi have borne the maximum brunt because of which ANP-MQM animosity has heightened. While ANP holds activists of MQM responsible for killings and has dubbed the party as a terrorist outfit, the MQM alleges that ANP supports land and drug mafia and gives shelter to runaway Taliban from FATA and Swat. ANP replies angrily that it is fighting Taliban tooth and nail in KP and has suffered the most at their hands, so how could they be patronizing Taliban in Karachi .  

ANP has threatened to quit Sindh coalition government while chief minister Sindh and governor look on helplessly. Matter came to a pass on 2 August when MQM MPA Raza Haider and his body guard were gunned down. Interior Minister Rehman Malik without blinking his eyes made banned Sipah-e-Sahaba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi responsible for the killing. It has catapulted the situation to a boiling point; MQM activists have resorted to large scale vandalism and killings to express their anger. 50 people lost their lives after the incident. In case ANP and MQM part ways with PPP, it will in turn make latter’s position in the federal government very delicate since it would lose simple majority. It will have to seek political support of PML-N or PML-Q to be able to complete its five-year tenure. Another worrying thing for PPP is that sizeable numbers of law makers in national and provincial assemblies are holders of fake degrees. In case PPP’s six legislators holding fake degrees are disqualified, it will get deprived of its simple majority resulting in collapse of PPP government.              

Externally the overall situation is equally grim. Foreign forces of 44 countries based in Afghanistan are getting restive. Uncontrollable turbulence in Afghanistan is having a direct impact on Pakistan . USA is holding Pakistan responsible for its failure in defeating Taliban. As the time for their departure is drawing nearer, it is getting more and more panicky and irksome and its attitude towards Pakistan is becoming menacing. In concert with India , it is applying variety of methods to coerce Pakistani leadership to do its bidding without caring for Pakistan ’s national interests. In disregard of huge sacrifices rendered, US leaders continue to push Pakistan to do more.

Apparently, the US wants Pakistan to break its ties with Haqqani network and with Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT), and to clear North Waziristan (NW) of the presence of all militant groups that are anti-US and engaged in fighting coalition troops in Afghanistan . It forgets that Pakistan has been relentlessly fighting the militants in all the seven tribal agencies of FATA as well as Malakand Division and Swat since 2002. After numerous see-saw battles, sometimes winning and at times suffering reverses, Pak Army finally managed to win critical battles in Malakand, Swat, South Waziristan (SW) and Bajaur last year in one-to-one clashes. Scuffles are routinely taking place in Khyber, Orakzai and Mohmand Agencies, both sides drawing blood. Even Swat and SW are not quiet where the displaced militants keep attacking weak spots randomly.

150,000 security forces are heavily engaged in keeping the initiative in their hands and the militants on the run. Since the supply lines from across porous Pak-Afghan border are still open and militants are continuing to receive arms, explosives and funds from their sponsors, enabling TTP leaders to pay monthly salary to their fighters and heavy package to suicide bombers, the militants are not giving up. In NW, where over one division force is stationed, despite the peace deal with Hafiz Gul Bahadur, frequent collisions are taking place because of presence of several RAW created groups. Drones are contributing towards growth of terrorism.

The situation along the eastern front is fraught with risks because of Indian military capability, its hostile intentions and dangerous designs against Pakistan . India is feverishly building up its military might under the false pretext that it is preparing for two-front war against Pakistan and China . On ground, 70% of its military is poised towards Pakistan . All its strike formations had been offensively deployed along Pakistan ’s eastern border in 2002 and again in 2009 for a considerable length of time. Indian former Army Chief Kapoor had on several occasions talked of waging a limited war against Pakistan based on Cold Start doctrine and under nuclear overhang. India is still refusing to restart composite dialogue and is insisting on confining future talks to terrorism alone. Rather than reigning in the chief culprit RAW from inciting terrorism in the region in general and Pakistan in particular, Indian leaders have started to accuse ISI for its alleged linkage with LeT.  

Afghanistan under Karzai is hostile towards Pakistan and friendly to India . Both have aggressive intentions to pose two-directional threat to Pakistan . India ’s strong influence in Afghanistan , which it wants to retain at all costs together with rapid expansion and modernization of ANA by US military, would pose a credible threat from western border in any future Indo-Pak conflict. 

Besides the physical threats to security of Pakistan emanating from multiple directions, Pakistan has to contend with never-ending vicious propaganda campaign launched by Indo-US-western-Israeli-Afghan nexus to demean Pakistan and its premier institutions. The onslaughts have now become more piercing. Till recent, allegations made against Pakistan were ascribed to media’s irresponsibility, or covered up by saying that remarks of officials were twisted by media. The US , British, Indian and Afghan officials are now hurling anti-Pakistan statements without any compunctions. Their tone has become intimidating. This was evident from the abrasive statements given by visiting Hillary Clinton, Holbrooke and Mike Mullen in July.

Mullen came here on 24th and during his interaction with media, he leveled a blatant accusation without furnishing any proof that Al-Qaeda’s head Osama was in Pakistan . This was in line with what Hillary had said. He portrayed LeT as a global threat to world peace and then commanded that Haqqani network should be dealt with sternly. From his body language and threatening tone it looked as if he was visiting US colony and delivering on spot orders to the enslaved. Our rulers listening to him with rapt attention and with folded hands didn’t even notice the hidden intent behind his invective and took it lightly.  

Richard Haass, Chairman of US Council of Foreign Relations after joining anti-Pakistan club, alleged that Pakistan manipulates Afghanistan in its designs against India . Ground realities speak otherwise since it is India which is increasing its influence in Afghanistan and manipulating it for its own vested interests against Pakistan since 2004.

It is now an established fact that today Pakistan faces greater threat to its security from USA than from India . Latter was a greater threat as long as Pakistan was tied to peace treaty. Mumbai episode came as a blessing in disguise since it exposed India ’s real face and its evil intent. It had been constantly stabbing Pakistan in the back under the guise of friendship and we took the jibes uncomplainingly under our skewed policy of appeasement. Although India has inflicted heavy damage, we have now become cautious. Liberals in Pakistan and Aman ki Asha campaigners however, still see things differently and they want Pakistan to again fall into Indian trap.

America ’s so-called friendship poses the real dilemma since under this guise it makes our rulers do what they are not supposed to do. Whenever, the US intends to extract some concession, it first pushes Pakistan in a tight corner by pasting a fabricated allegation and then builds up pressure. It was under US pressure that Pakistan unquestioningly signed Pak-Afghan trade agreement in Kabul without a fuss. Hillary and Holbrooke triumphantly oversaw heavy-eyed sluggish Amin Fahim. He signed the highly damaging document without properly reading and comprehending its contents thereby paving the way for India to transport goods to and from Afghanistan through Wagah. India materialized its long awaited wish in a jiffy without giving anything in return. It is feared that this agreement in the long run will have negative impact on our already dwindling economy. 

While Pakistan was still mulling over Mullen’s haughtiness that it was hit by another bombshell in the form of WikiLeak disclosure. Brushing aside large part of the 92000 documents related to Afghan war and role of US and coalition forces as unsubstantiated and worthless, western media brought the spotlight on very small portion of 180 source reports in which role of ISI has been highlighted negatively. The US, UK , Afghanistan and India drew strength from this report to further grind Pakistan.

Still reeling under the invectives of Indian leaders, Hillary, Holbrooke and Mullen and feeling the heat of WikiLeak, British PM David Cameron suddenly jumped on the centre stage and started throwing pointed arrows at Pakistan on 28 July while in India . He leveled allegations that Pakistan was exporting terrorism while publicly it was working for stability of the region and that it could not be permitted to look both ways. His remarks appropriately fitted India as it is exactly what India does as a state policy.

Cameron reconfirmed Britain ’s traditional hostility and bias towards Pakistan and its undiminished friendship with India since pre-partition days. Occupied Kashmir which has turned into a bleeding wound was gifted to India by Mountbatten in 1947 for which suffering Kashmiris and Pakistanis have never forgiven him. Cameron delivered blows below the belt and felt no remorse in playing foul as long as he made the Indians happy. Unrepentant Cameron has been taken to task by many in Britain . Pakistani public has taken a serious note of his aberrant remarks and urged President Zardari to cancel his scheduled visit to London as a sign of protest. Some wise heads suggested that expenditure incurred on his visit should be spent on flood victims. The latter however doesn’t want to break his record of disappointing them each time.   

Seeing that the iron was hot and Pakistan had turned into a punching bag, Karzai didn’t want to be left out. Karzai after showing some friendly overtures is now urging USA to strike at alleged sanctuaries of militants in Pakistan . By joining the bandwagon he vainly tried to prove that he too is a horse and not an ass and lifted his feet to get shoed. Pakistan had started counting on him after he continuously sung songs of brotherhood and unbreakable bonds and extended assurances of everlasting friendship. Pakistan responded to his overtures in good faith thinking that his declining fortunes had compelled him to change his posture. Few realized that it was a put up show to get Mullah Baradar held in custody of Pakistan released. Once Baradar outlived his utility and loya jirga didn’t deliver as he had hoped for, he reverted to his old track and like an obedient puppet fired a round to please USA and India , not appreciating that prosperity and well being of Afghanistan was tied to Pakistan and not others. Robert Gates has hinted that US operations could spill over to both sides of the border. It is an indication that Karzai could not have given the statement without prompting from Washington .       

In the face of highly turbulent security, economic and political situation, the only way to effectively deal with internal and external conspiracies and thwart sinister designs of our adversaries is to have a competent, sagacious and visionary leadership together with national cohesion and unified front. It is however unfortunate that the PPP led government has adopted an apathetic approach. Rulers are defying apex court orders and refusing to part with their ill-gotten money or to mend their ways. Executive-judicial tussle is assuming dangerous proportions since rulers are not prepared to abide by rule of law or to honor jurisdiction of higher courts. Corruption has scaled new heights while nepotism, cronyism, favoritism, immoral practices and poor governance by incompetent law makers have made the people despondent.

People are groaning under the weight of sky rocketing price hike, unemployment, load shedding and dearth of daily commodities. Electricity, gas and petrol prices are increased arbitrarily and quite frequently. For the first time it has become difficult for a low income worker to earn one-time meal for his family. Suicide cases are on the increase because of growing poverty and discontentment among the masses is growing alarmingly. They are caught between the hard rock and the sea, on one side are the terrorists killing them and on the other are the looting ruling class failing to provide them their basic needs and justice.

In the wake of immoral practices of our rulers and their insensitivity to deteriorating internal and external situation, Nature also expressed its displeasure in the form of crash of airbus on 28 July in which all the 152 passengers and aircrew died. May God bless their soul! While the affected people were still sobbing over the loss of dear ones, heavy rains followed by heavy floods inundated KP, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and parts of Punjab . Nowshera virtually submerged in water. 1600 people got washed away while tens of thousands got marooned, their homes, cattle and agricultural lands destroyed. India played the devil’s role by opening the valves of dams and letting greater discharge of water to flow into Chenab , Jhelum and Indus rivers.

Irrespective of manmade and natural crisis befalling upon Pakistan in quick succession, the politicians are squabbling among each other and indulging in intrigues and conspiracies. With so many character failings the rulers have no heart to get offended by high handed tactics and offensive language used by USA and others. They quietly let their arms twisted without a whimper in the hope of receiving next installment of aid so that they can continue with their merrymaking.       

– The writer is a freelance columnist, a historian and a defence analyst. Email: [email protected]

View the original article at Veterans Today

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