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Pakistan: America’s Only Hope For The Region

January 11, 2010

The US can upturn its image in Pakistan if it stops drone attacks in FATA and provide civilian nuclear deal to Pakistan similar to the one provided to India. It can boost its image if it forcefully forbids India to carryout covert operations against Pakistan using Afghan soil and restrains it from stealing Pakistan water. Other steps that can help build trust and confidence are construction of hydel power projects and provision of greater access to US and EU markets for Pakistani products. Pakistanis will become pro-America and be a willing partner to safeguard US interests from a position of respect and honour if the US helps Pakistan in easing the debt burden and plays a pro-active role to solve longstanding Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris and UN Resolutions. These two acts would go a long way in dispelling misgivings and mistrust harboured by people of Pakistan and in building mutually sustaining and durable strategic partnership premised on mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual trust.
 

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan-US relations that had soured after 1990, warmed up after 9/11 when Pakistan agreed to fight US coined war on terror as a frontline state. Their relations are apparently still friendly but clouded in suspicions and mistrust. Whatever steps taken by government of Pakistan for the benefit of US interests and at the cost of earning displeasure of the people of Pakistan are received with mixed feelings. No sooner Pakistan’s actions are applauded by some US officials; these are promptly washed off by other officials or US media through censures and ‘do more mantra’. Barring few, there is general consensus in Pakistan that it has suffered immensely because of its purported friendship with USA. It has lost much more and gained very little. Indian factor has played a prominent role in coloring the perceptions of US officials and widening trust deficit. Indian lobbyists are feverishly burning midnight oil to further widen this gulf and to turn USA hostile against Pakistan. They would have succeeded in their designs if the US military had achieved some of the objectives of war on terror and had gained an upper edge in Afghanistan and US economy had remained stable.

The US had to reconsider its policies in the wake of continuously deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, which forced Obama Administration to rush in 21000 additional troops from Iraq in 2009 to stabilize the situation. US-UK joint operation in Helmand turned into a fiasco and ISAF suffered heavy casualties. When no improvement could be affected another heavy reinforcement of 30000 is being dispatched. This is in spite of US claim that not more than 100 Al-Qaeda operatives are operating in Afghanistan. At the same time, Washington has decided to start pulling out its troops from Afghanistan by July 2011 onwards and has also stepped up its efforts to win over Taliban. Its futile endeavour is however to break linkage between Al-Qaeda and Taliban and to invest in alternative leadership of Taliban that can stand up against Mulla Omar. It has not made breakthrough on any front. Death of seven CIA agents at US base in Khost is the latest debacle and an indication that Taliban-Al-Qaeda nexus is intact.
 
Looking around, one finds obtaining situation in Central Asian Republics (CAR) where US economic interests reside unfavourably disposed towards USA. This is because of resurgence of Russia and its increasing grip over CAR, growing military and economic power of China and defiance of nuclear North Korea. Nuclearization of Iran and its anti-Israel and anti-US policies are a pain in the neck both for USA and Israel. And so is Iraq where the US having shed river of blood and spent colossal amounts has failed to stabilize it. Shia elements aligned with Iran are ruling the roost. Hamas in Gaza and Hizbollah in Lebanon refuse to get cowed down by Israeli belligerence and remain in a fighting mood. Turkey which had refused use of its airspace and territory to US troops for invasion of Iraq from the north in 2003 retains its Islamic identity and independence of thought and action. Syria too maintains its warrior spirit against USA and Israel. It had fiercely reacted to a single drone attack on a border village last year which restrained USA from making another attempt. Whole of impoverished Africa is in ferment because of western looters policy of divide and rule and wanton plunder of their wealth.
 
Al-Qaeda has grown in size and strength. Apart from its bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has bases in Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and North Africa. While Yemen has heated up, in Somalia, Al-Shabaab linked with al-Qaeda has gained control over more than 90% of Somali territory. Al-Qaeda is linked with all Islamic movements like Afghan Taliban, Chechnya movement, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Islamic movements in certain Far Eastern Asian countries. US ambassador in Islamabad has admitted that the US has credible information that large number of terrorists are homing towards Yemen and Somalia. Till recent the flow from Africa and Iraq was in the opposite direction. This reversal of tide has occurred because of brilliant successes achieved by Pak Army in Swat, South Waziristan and other troubled spots in the northwest. Pro-active and aggressive posture adopted by Pak army together with planned troop surge in Afghanistan has shrunk space for the militants forcing them to flee to safer havens elsewhere.
 
Somali coast off Indian Ocean has become another hotspot where pirates have posed a serious challenge to western commercial interests. From 2008 onwards, several daring raids have been carried out by Somali sea pirates to seize foreign ships for ransom. This practice is still continuing despite formation of joint counter-piracy force by Asian-Western countries. All these militant activities in various parts of Muslim world indicate that Al-Qaeda that was confined to Afghanistan till September 2001 has spread its tentacles far and wide and has now become an international organization. Aiman al-Zahawari based in Iraq has emerged as a strong and influential leader and like Osama bin Laden has successfully evaded worldwide hunt against him.
 
War on terror instead of getting curbed has become uncontrollable. It has not only made the lives of Americans highly insecure but has also made the world as a whole unsafe. Lots of hopes were pinned on Barack Obama to undo wrongful policies of George W. Bush and to promote peace and harmony in the world. He has proved to be huge disappointment. Instead of calling off senseless war on terror he is stoking it further. Resurgence of Taliban power in Afghanistan has deflated his fervour to some extent but not his resolve since he feels that he somehow would lose next election if he adopts defensive strategy. He has however been forced to revise his Pakistan specific Af-Pak policy in which the two countries were integrated into a single battle zone and India given a key role in Afghan affairs. It has belatedly dawned upon his team that what to talk of turning defeat into victory, exit from Afghanistan would become impossible without Pakistan support. This realization has compelled Washington to keep Pakistan on board with a heavy heart and it is these days trying to show its soft face.
 
Not only about 80% of Afghan territory has come under the influence of Taliban, rigged presidential election has made the position of unpopular Karzai more fragile. Performance of Afghan security forces predominated by non-Pashtuns is below average. The US is spending huge amount to expand and upgrade the quality of National Army and the police so that frontline duties could be assigned to them within next two years. There is however little hope for tangible improvement without the induction of Pashtuns. Likewise, Afghan regime will be unable to gain credibility as long as Pashtuns are denied their rightful share in power.
 
Rumbling within NATO countries based in Afghanistan is getting louder since they can see the writing on the wall. So is the case with American public which no more supports war on terror and wants its soldiers to return home. The US has so far spent over $38 billions but anti-Americanism among the Afghans has multiplied since they want them to leave. Anti-Americanism in Pakistan too has peaked because of biased and discriminatory policies pursued by Washington. Latest provocative step is the new discriminatory law framed to screen visiting Pakistanis on American ports while excusing India.
 
The US can upturn its image in Pakistan if it stops drone attacks in FATA and provide civilian nuclear deal to Pakistan similar to the one provided to India. It can boost its image if it forcefully forbids India to carryout covert operations against Pakistan using Afghan soil and restrains it from stealing Pakistan water. Other steps that can help build trust and confidence are construction of hydel power projects and provision of greater access to US and EU markets for Pakistani products. Pakistanis will become pro-America and be a willing partner to safeguard US interests from a position of respect and honour if the US helps Pakistan in easing the debt burden and plays a pro-active role to solve longstanding Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris and UN Resolutions. These two acts would go a long way in dispelling misgivings and mistrust harboured by people of Pakistan and in building mutually sustaining and durable strategic partnership premised on mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual trust.
 
Practically, such an occurrence is far-fetched and a pipedream since Indo-Israeli lobbies enjoying strong influence over policy makers in USA would never allow it to happen. In 2010, distrust and antagonism would accelerate rather than de-escalate since the security situation in Afghanistan would keep spinning out of control. It would leave politically weakened Obama Administration with no choice other than to continue following Indo-Israel dictated dual faced policies of harming Pakistan under the garb of friendship. While making Pakistan more dependent upon IMF and US aid, tunnel-vision US leaders would release aid miserly, keep on blaming Pakistan for US failures and intensifying pressure to commence operation against Maulvi Nazir, Gul Bahadur and Haqqani network and intensifying as well as widening scope of drones. At the same time, it would keep expanding its presence in Pakistan to be able to hunt Pak nukes. Such hypocritical recourse would give short term benefits to India and Israel and a sadistic pleasure to USA but in the long run all will be losers. Those wishing for mutually beneficial relationship are living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

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8 comments

  1. I don’t really understand why people demand a nuclear deal from America for Pakistan similar to the one offered to India. Americans used that deal to court India into their dragnet and time will show that Indians will simply bite the dust rather than getting any civil nuclear technology. Americans are gaining a huge leverage on Indian policy making process. Indians have already started towing American dictates on crucial policy matters. Indians opting out of Iranian gas pipeline, for example, has been the first victim of Indian fall into American lap. India has backstabbed Iran twice by voting against Iran at a global nuclear body. Indians have lost Iran as a sympathetic ally in the region. Indians have been kicked out of a military base in Tajikistan despite some heavy Indian investment. And they will soon be kicked out of Afghanistan too. Their selfish rouge behavior in the neighborhood and their mischievous alliance with extra-regional powers to the determinant of regional interests is getting them in trouble everywhere. India is turning out to be the only loser in this whole affair. We Pakistanis are already trying to free ourselves from the clutches of Western imperialism, which has only nurtured corruption, interfered in our internal matters and installed criminals as our rulers, and tried their best to block the implementation of Islamic Shariah in Pakistan. China on the other hand, has helped Pakistan with technology transfers in strategic projects. Chinese civil nuclear technology is advancing at a surprising pace. We need to plan for getting that technology from China rather than exploitive western companies.


    • well said! India has lost it’s independent foreign policy after the Nuclear Deal and is merely dancing to the American Tunes. The Americans are using India at the time of need only, turning a blind eye on some of the International Affairs just to let India have it’s way in the region without foreign intervention. American style corporate controlled politics are also gaining root in India. It’ll just be a matter of time when the oppressed in India will be stronger than ever and rise against new imperialistic setup!
      Pakistan should really take China’s helping hand & stop looking towards the U.S. Pakistan should also improve it’s relations with Iran. It is time we tell the so called allies that we no longer can trust them or look forward to engaging in more partnerships with them in the name of Terror!
      It is time that Pakistan should be in pursuit of it’s independent foreign policy…


  2. @ Asif Haroon Raja,

    The Americans are not in a popularity contest in Pakistan, and it could not care less about its image.

    “…Pakistanis will become pro-America and be a willing partner to safeguard US interests from a position of respect and honour if the US helps Pakistan in easing the debt burden and plays a pro-active role to solve longstanding Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris and UN Resolutions.”

    – too many “ifs”….. reality is, Pakistan has no choice but to meet all American demands, and you may forget about getting anything in return.

    – be in the bliss of denial and keep dreaming….. !


    • Son, you have some time to enjoy your life putting silly comments here and there. Your older dad, USSR, vanished in Afghanistan, and the step-father, Russia, refused to entertain you. Your newly found dad, USA, will soon be abandoning you because it will be hard for that dad to hold you as a liability. Mujahideen will start visiting barracks and division headquarters of occupation Indian butchers in J&K. No one, including the your other bastard brother Israel, will be able to help you in your bad times. A sane person would plan now for safety during that time. But a stupid like you will surely keep boasting till he gets a kick in his butts.


    • Aaah the typical Indian paranoia speaks for itself when it constantly underestimates things in the name of Pakistan. Keep it coming…

      Great movie hun ? 🙂


  3. civil nuclear deal with america should be distrouse.by this we have sign ctbt npt.its not in the favor of pakistan and i dont know why they are demanding it.if indians get a deal it good for pakistan.by this they cant able to increase their stock pile and further nuclear test.go ahead india its best for u.


  4. India has very limited resources of natural uranium. Indians can not even feed their nuclear power plants with domestic uranium. That is why they beg for it before France, America, Russia, or even their so-called No. 1 enemy, Chine. By having the nuclear deal, they hoped to get the technology, uninterrupted supply of uranium, and exclusive control over the spent fuel (for extracting plutonium to increase their stockpile of nuclear bombs) as if the Europeans and Americans are all fools willing to supply every thing to Hindus free of cost. On the other side, Americans and Europeans wanted to sell only the electricity to Indians and make money with no real technology transfer and without boosting India’s bomb making capacity. That means, power plants will be installed and operated by foreigners and nuclear fuel will be directly supplied to the operating authority under a foolproof supervisory mechanism to deter any diversion. The spent fuel will be shipped back (without letting Indians even touch it) to foreign countries for further processing. Indians probably deliberately kept some of these issues unaddressed during the talks thinking to make fools out of westerners at the last moment. It, however, proved to be the other way around. Indians were fooled into this trap while making sure that the deal aims at selling only the electricity (and not the bombs) to Indians. The strings attached with the deal are huge and serious. Indians have effectively tied their hands by accepting not to have further nuclear testing. That is a significant undertaking in view of the Indian fizzles in May 1998. Indians are probably thinking to have the plants first installed (bearing heavy investment on part of the foreigners) before becoming a rouge and eventually do the testing. In such a case, the deal would come to an abrupt end and Indians would suffer. Given the heavy investments and sudden collapse of running business, the foreigners would hurt more, the Indians would hope. Again the westerners are no fools. The investment would come in only after they make 100% sure that India does not become rouge (as it did in 1974) without paying unbearable price. The convergence of the two goals is not probable. Therefore, the chances of any significant investment in India under 123 Deal are next to zero, a big jiro.


  5. The Pak posters here are right.

    India should open its arms to the ever-peaceful, friendly, Pak brothers.

    Wonderful chaps they are.



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