Pakistan’s sacrifices not recognized
Asif Haroon Raja
US-NATO continue to reiterate the old allegation that the ISI is ‘intimately involved’ with the insurgency in Afghanistan and is secretly aiding Haqqani network. Although the allegation is frivolous, even for argument sake it is hypothesized that the ISI is involved, what is so strange about it and why should it surprise NATO or the US? Why should it cause so much anguish since all the intelligence agencies of strategic partners housed in Kabul are exactly involved in same kind of racket against Pakistan since 2002? While Afghan Taliban have a superior cause of freeing their homeland from the clutches of invaders, the US have no moral and legal justification to invade, destroy and occupy a sovereign country. The US and its allies are playing a double game with Pakistan which they all declare as their strategic ally. While claiming to be friends fighting a common war with common objective of defeating terrorism, they have been repeatedly stabbing Pakistan to make it powerless. While the US has forbidden Pakistan to maintain any sort of contact with Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, it is itself striving hard to make Afghan Taliban agree to talk. It has allowed Afghan regime, India, Germany, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to forge ties with the Taliban and bring them to the negotiating table. To make them agree for preliminary talks and to open an office in Doha without any set agenda, Washington agreed to release high profile five Taliban leaders detained in Guantanamo Bay since 2002. The secret talks have stalled because the US didn’t live up to its promise.
The US forgets that it forced Pakistan to betray its friendly Muslim neighbor by ditching it and becoming a coalition member of aggressors. It is ISAF and ANA that are fighting the Taliban since October 2001; while Pak Army is fighting CIA-RAW-RAAM created and supported TTP in the northwest. Pakistan has sufficient evidence to prove involvement of foreign agencies in FATA, Swat and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Up stuck from their main base in South Waziristan in 2009, the militants couldn’t have put up such determined fights without intimate support of foreign agencies.
Central Kurram Agency, Upper Orakzai Agency and Khyber Agency are hot areas where frequent skirmishes are taking place between Hakimullah Mehsud led Taliban and security forces. Chitral, Upper and Lower Dir, Mehmand and Bajaur are being targeted by Maulana Fazlullah led runaway militants. They operate from safe havens in Kunar and Nuristan provinces, where they have been provided houses and monthly rations. They receive funds, training and motivational talks by CIA, RAW, RAAM and instigated to launch cross border attacks and add to the problems of Pakistan.
Pakistan also has enough proofs of involvement of foreign agencies in Balochistan, deeply involved in fomenting Baloch insurgency. Separatist Baloch leaders like Brahamdagh Bugti, Harbyar Marri, Daood Suleiman and Dr Wahid Baloch are residing abroad duly patronized by agencies inimical to Pakistan. BLA, BRA, BLUF are creations of these agencies. Brahamdagh is now residing in Kandahar, while Harbyar and Suleiman are living in London and Wahid is based in Washington. The banned groups have been blowing up gas pipelines, electric grid stations, pylons, railway lines and attacking security check posts, military convoys, passenger trains and buses. They are involved in kidnappings for ransom and target killings. Non-locals particularly Punjabis, Hazara community and pro-government elements are their favorite targets. Frontier Corps and Frontier Constabulary are targeted by these banned terrorist groups. All attacks on security forces are proudly claimed by BLA or BRA. Retaliatory actions by law enforcers’ are vociferously censured by the US, West, India, NGOs, HRW and section of local media.
RAW and CIA are also actively involved in Karachi where the heinous practice of target killings is going on for the last three years. Purpose is to bring the economic activity in the economic hub center to a complete standstill. RAW has a hand in Gilgit-Baltistan sectarian tensions as well.
Despite having learnt that the US was insincere and duplicitous and was heavily leaning towards India, Pakistan has been providing full support to it. It had placed its seaport, airports, four airbases and supply routes at the disposal of ISAF without charging any fee. Pak security forces are fighting the US dictated global war on terror (GWOT) against their own people relentlessly. Pakistan has offered numerous sacrifices to fight the menace of war. It suffered exceptionally serious losses in terms of human resource victims, devastation of valuable property, impulsive political instability, bursting social disorder, divisive mindset, and poor law and order situation leading to creation of threatening environment filled with sense of fear and uncertainty in the country.
More than 40,000 innocent people lost their lives, while many were incapacitated or rendered disabled. Security forces of Pakistan were made the direct target of terrorism and their capacity to prevail upon the militants was frequently challenged by its own citizens. Nearly 5000 fatalities and 15000 injuries sustained by security forces is a clear proof that Pakistan played its part with honesty and sincerity. Its economy has become bankrupt while social trauma is incalculable. Instead of recognizing Pakistan’s sacrifices and sufferings it underwent and eulogizing the constructive role it played in trying to cleanse the ugly mess created by the sponsors of GWOT, Pakistan has been maligned, distrusted and given a raw deal. Pak Army and ISI have been subjected to unsubstantiated baseless allegations, taunts and snubs by US officials, NATO, Afghan regime and India.
Despite all this Pakistan remained committed to the cause of fighting the menace of terrorism and participated actively in war on terror to eliminate the terrorists. Pak Army has continued to shed blood in the face of vile propaganda by US print and electronic media. But for the shocking events in 2011, Pakistan would have continued to do more without a whimper. Revelations which came to light after the arrest of double murderer CIA agent Raymond Davis were enough to jolt the security apparatus. Had he been allowed to be grilled by ISI, he would have exposed the whole game plan of CIA. Whatever little information garnered was too frightening. CIA with the help of bought over quislings had succeeded in establishing a vast network in all major communication centres of Pakistan. Our former Ambassador in Washington Hussein Haqqani and Interior Minister Malik facilitated the establishment of CIA network as well as Blackwater.
This network instead of hunting the terrorists including the most wanted man OBL, it directed all its energies towards weakening and discrediting Pak Army and ISI and trying to achieve its principle goal of extracting the nuclear teeth of Pakistan and thus making it a docile state at the mercy of India. Primary purpose of conducting stealth attack in Abbottabad on 2 May last year to get OBL was to damage the high reputation of Pak Army/ISI and to create misgivings between the government and the Army. But for outstanding feats of the Army/ISI in breaking the back of al-Qaeda aligned with TTP, the former would have hit back viciously to avenge the death of its spiritual leader OBL.
As if 2 May stab was not enough, the US callously demeaned Pakistan. After knifing it on 26 November at Salala, it behaved as if nothing unusual had happened. It didn’t apologize nor gave an assurance that Pakistan’s sovereignty will not be violated again. It is not ready to cease drone attacks. It wants Pakistan to continue fighting the war unremittingly and to keep American interests supreme. With such crass, unjust and rigid attitude, and showing disregard to Pakistan’s sacrifices, there is little hope for Pak-US relations getting back to normal. After their second victory, the Democrats under Obama are likely to become more supercilious towards Pakistan. The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org