DG ISI’s visit: Perceptions & realities
Since 2nd May incident of violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by US Navy Seals at Abbottabad Compound and some subsequent events, Pak-US ties had come to the lowest ebb. However, Pakistan’s strategic decision to open Ground Lines of Communications led to DG ISI’s visit to Washington, which eventually resulted in significant thaw in Pak-US relations. The visit frustrated the detractors of Pakistan who with their gimmicks and wicked schemes wanted to create a negative impact about the outcome of the visit. Some media analysts (both domestic and abroad) negatively speculated regarding the outcome of the visit that it would hardly produce any good results for Pakistan. Such media speculations had created misperceptions among the masses. Some domestic media men, analysts and commentriat had presaged that the visit was likely to result into a stalemate, or the visit would end up with conceding all US demands.
At least one American newspaper had reported that a deal has been struck with US/CIA for undertaking a Joint Operation codenamed “Tight Screw” in which American boots on grounds would be allowed. There were concocted stories and rumors that Pakistani demand on the core issue of drone attacks in FATA has been rejected by US counterpart and that Pakistan has not been able to convince US authorities to end drone bombings, or transfer drone technology to Pakistan or share target intelligence with Pakistan for engaging through PAF assets. Some analysts went on to describe ongoing targeted action in North Waziristan by giving a spin that Pakistan would launch a major operation under US duress. As all speculations came from international or American media, there was a need to correct perceptions on DG ISI’s visit to Washington, counter the disinformation and dispel the rumors. But in the absence of any comment from the ISPR or military spokesman, it was not possible to counter the propaganda against Pakistan.
Now there is news in the local press quoting military sources that there is going to be no operation in North Waziristan (NW) against Haqqani Network, and speculations about Joint Operation by Pakistani and US led NATO forces are totally incorrect. The spokesman has categorically stated that there is no deal between Pakistan and US to undertake operation codenamed “Tight Screw” against Haqqani Network in North Waziristan, and stated that no foreign boots on ground would be accepted by Pakistan to operate inside Pakistan. It has now transpired that DG ISI during his visit to Washington maintained that Pakistan has offered numerous sacrifices in fighting the war on terrorism and those sacrifices must be acknowledged. He also demanded that drone attacks in FATA should be stopped or drone technology be handed over to Pakistan, as drone attacks have proved counter-productive stirring anti-US feelings in FATA/Pakistan. As regards allegations that Pakistan supports Haqqani Network for their operations inside Afghanistan, these have been rejected and Pakistan has always denied using Haqqanis against US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan. Although Pakistan has been trying to stem the movements of the militants, yet it should give its message loud and clear that it would not allow anybody to use its soil against Afghanistan or any other country for that matter. Afghanistan, on its part, should also ensure that they do not allow any militant organization to cross the border and attack Pakistani citizens and security personnel. There was incontrovertible evidence that Afghanistan is recruiting Pakistanis from Chitral and other areas in its vicinity for induction in Afghan army. They should stop recruiting Pakistanis from Chitral for Afghan army, and Afghan government should ensure that TTP elements in Afghanistan stop launching attacks inside Pakistan.
Interior minister Rehman Malik has recently revealed that fugitive Swati thug Fazlullah is being backed by some Afghan government elements. His alien props were indeed more than evident as he surfaced abruptly in Swat, after years-long mysterious sojourn in Afghanistan, to challenge the state writ. The worldly-wise knew that he was a proxy of alien powers, but official hierarchy in Pakistan had kept quiet then and had not spoken out the homely truths about this operative wearing the deceptive cloak of a cleric. In the run-up to the invasion of Afghanistan by the US-led invaders, a master-dupe Sufi Mohammad, the father-in-law of this chairlift operator, seduced some ten thousands of wretched Swati young greenhorns to fight on the side of the Afghan Taliban. Sufi put Fazlullah in command of this literally gun-fodder. And the two together led (rather misled) those unsuspecting Swati youths into Afghanistan. Nonetheless, the moment the US-led invasion of Afghanistan ensued, Sufi abandoned Swato youths and fled back to Pakistan, where he begged the Pakistani authorities to take him into protective custody, fearing being lynched by the kith and kin of the innocent Swati youths, whom he had betrayed and left behind to be killed or to end up in the private jails of Afghan warlords.
Hence, instead of beating about the bush, the Pakistani establishment must ask for Fazlullah’s repatriation, and the handing over of hundreds of his brigands holed up along with him in the Afghan safe havens. They all are fugitives, who have not only committed sedition against the state but also the crimes of murders, rapes, and gross human rights violations against our people. No leniency can be shown to them all. On the other hand, the US and Afghanistan have to realize that since joining the war on terror Pakistan has suffered immensely in human life and treasury. In fact, Afghan war that started after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and the West had joined hands, and the jihadis from all over the world were inspired through international media and facilitated to come and join jihad. It was in this backdrop that Commander James Mattis of the Central Command of the US in a Congressional hearing convened by the Senate Armed Services Committee last year had admitted: “Part of the reason these groups exist is that together with Pakistan we helped create some of them”. This vindicates Pakistan’s position.