Obama’s Future Lies In Pak Help: MushahidMarch 17, 2010
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Muslim League (Q) Secretary General, Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Tuesday said that Pakistan should not repeat its mistakes and must not have any favourite in Afghanistan.
The US needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs the US; therefore, Pakistan should play its cards intelligently, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed stated this while speaking at a seminar on ‘Pakistan’s Geo-strategic Challenges and Response’, which was organised by the NUST Business School of the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST). It was held in connection with a series of the talks to celebrate Pakistan Day.
Speaking on the subject, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed stated that Pakistan had been facing crisis for the last three decades. He identified five major developments that took place in the region over the last three decades, which influenced the geo-strategic environment of Pakistan. Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan made Pakistan a central point for the international diplomacy.
Revolution in Iran where the monarchy was overthrown and anti-US sentiment took a new turn, he added. For the first time, the West took Islam as a threat to it.
The establishment of the Rapid Deployment Force, which gave birth to Central Command of the US Army in July 1979, brought the US forces in the region, he observed. The modernisation of China totally transformed it from rural-agrarian to a modern industrial nation. Today, according to Mushahid Hussain, it is not G7 or G20; it is only G2 (US and China), which matters in the international relations. Lastly, after the invasion of Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the arms and ammunition worth $5.2 billion provided by the West and Arabs to Mujahideen to fight against Soviets in Afghanistan. Pakistan played a pivotal role in defeating Soviet Union, he continued.
Senator Mushahid Hussain said that after the withdrawal of Soviets from Afghanistan, the US totally abandoned Pakistan. Senator Mushahid stated that Pakistan was in fact penalised by the US, as Pakistan became one of the highly sanctioned countries in the world. The US imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Pakistan’s economic and political spheres. Perhaps this was the reward given to Pakistan by the US for its support to Afghan war, said Mushahid Hussain.
He said that God had provided yet another opportunity to Pakistan after three decades. The new US President Obama has unveiled his two priorities that include rebuilding of the US economy and getting out of Afghanistan. As far as re-building of the US economy is concerned, the US is dependent upon China. On exit from Afghanistan, the US is dependent upon Pakistan’s support, he observed. In fact, Obama’s political future depends on the safe exit from Afghanistan and only Pakistan is in a position to provide such support to the US, Mushahid Hussain further added.
Mushahid Hussain said that both the NATO and the US would not be in Afghanistan in the next few years, therefore, Pakistan would have, once again, to play a pivotal role in stabilising Afghanistan. At that time, Pakistan should not repeat its mistakes and must not have any favourites in Afghanistan. Mushahid urged the US to invest in the FATA and make the Reconstruction and Opportunity Zones a reality sooner than later.
Speaking on the subject, former ambassador Riaz Khokhar stated that a country’s foreign policy was not designed in vacuum. It has a symbiotic relationship with the domestic policy. In fact, the foreign policy is an extension of the domestic policy, he further added.
He identified six challenges, which Pakistan was facing on the geo-strategic front. Internal instability arising out of bad governance has put the country in a real mess. “We need to bring our internal house in order and strengthen our economy on a priority basis,” said former ambassador Khokhar. “The way we manage and conduct our relations with India is another challenge,” he added. He said that the relationship could only be built on the basis of equality, dignity and fairness and all these ingredients were missing in the ties with India. Building of the economy and bringing internal stability before strengthening relations with India on equality, dignity and fairness was the message given by Khokhar.
The development in Afghanistan is the third challenge, which Pakistan is facing. The US is going to leave Afghanistan soon; therefore, Pakistan should play its cards wisely. He emphatically argued that India had no role, whatsoever, to play in Afghanistan after the US/NATO withdrawal. He urged the Government to persuade the US, EU and the Arab World that India should not be given any role in Afghanistan.
The fourth challenge for Pakistan is keeping and managing the relations with US, said Riaz Khokhar. He said that the rulers should know that road to Islamabad did not pass through Washington. Pakistan should take the forthcoming strategic dialogue with the US as an opportunity to explain its position firmly. The fifth and sixth challenges are to maintain and manage the relations with China and Iran, respectively. He argued that China is the close friend but Pakistan should not put heavy burden on the china.