Drone Strikes Proved Conspiracy against Pakistan
By Sajjad Shaukat
Since the Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by the US drone strikes on November 1, this year, leaders of the ruling and opposition parties including prominent figures and Unlmas (Religious scholars) have stared taking the event as a conspiracy against Pakistan.
In this regard, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ahmad Khan said on November 1 that killing of the TTP leader, Hakimullah Mehsud in the US drone strikes is a conspiracy to sabotage process of peace talk with the Taliban. He pointed out that it had been decided by the government that a delegation would be sent on November 2 to initiate the process of dialogue with the Taliban, and the US ambassador had assured him that drone attacks would not be carried out during the peace talks. He explained that if the US was to kill Hakimullah then there were number of occasions in the past but they did not do it. He added that the entire perspective of Pakistan-US relations and cooperation would be reviewed.
However, majority of the political leaders like Munawar Hassan of Jamaat-e-Islami, opposition leader Khursheed Shah and Imran Khan of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have termed drone strikes which targeted Hakimullah Mehsud as a conspiracy to thwart peace dialogue with the militants. It is mentionable that by setting aside the parliament resolution, the trip of Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam to America, rallies and processions of Pakistan’s political and religious parties—even opinion of the experts of international law that these drone attacks are illegal, unethical and violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty as well as the UN Charter, while ignoring the recent report of Amnesty International, decision of the All Parties Conference (APC), and the Pak-US new rapprochement, these strikes have kept on going on FATA.
While, many political analysts see strikes by the CIA-pilotless aircraft in Pakistan in isolation, but, there is a co-relationship of other subversive activities which have perennially been taking place in various regions as part of the US secret strategy against the country. When in the past, the former government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had signed the peace agreement with the TTP; US had opposed it, and had accelerated attacks by the unmanned aircraft so as to castigate it. Owing to the American policy, Pakistan faced dire consequences because TTP suspended peace agreement, and also occupied Swat, Dir, Buner and other adjoining areas. When Pakistan’s armed forces successfully ejected the TTP militants out of these areas, the leader of the TTP Maulvi Fazlullah who had close connections with Pakistan-based TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, had run to Afghanistan. Based in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, his insurgents intensified subversive activities in Pakistan by sending suicide bombers and heavily-equipped militants in the country. Pakistan’s civil and military leadership lodged a strong protest with their counterparts in Afghanistan, but no action was taken against these terrorists.
In fact, in order to fulfill collective covert designs of India, Israel and US, TTP has been given a free hand by these countries to continue acts of sabotage in Pakistan because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. In this regard, Pak-China strategic ties and Pak-Iranian close friendship also irritate them.
Such American duplicity contains a number of clandestine aims. In the recent months, the fresh wave of strikes by the spy planes has thwarted the offer of Taliban for peace talks with the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. And, the TTP accelerated subversive activities in the country.
Now, by killing the TTP leader, US has not only caused suspension of peace process, but also provided a pretext to the Taliban outfit to conduct more terror-attacks in the country, which has almost started. In this context, blaming the Pakistan government for the killing of Hakimullah Mehsud in the US drone attack, the TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid announced on November 3 that they would not hold any peace negotiations with the government and threatened to avenge the killing of their leader.
Besides increasing recruitment of insurgents, these latest strikes are likely to unite the various Taliban factions, inciting them against Pakistan’s security forces whose checkposts have been targeted by these insurgents from time to time. Another aim of these aerial strikes is to create a rift among Pakistan’s armed forces, political and religious parties including general masses. In this context, central government of PML (N) does not want to stop NATO supply to Afghanistan; while the PTI Chief Imran Khan threatened on November 4 to cut the NATO supply lines en-route Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) after November 20, if drone attacks continued. The KP assembly also passed a similar resolution. Some religious segments and majority of general masses have also favoured Imran’s stand. These differences could be judged from the statement of the PPP leader and, former Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani who said on November 3 that the present government was confused over drone strikes and relations with America—reminding that his government blocked NATO supply in reaction over Salala check post attack.
The strikes by the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which continued on Pakistan’s tribal areas since 2004 have intensified under the Obama era, resulting into killing of thousands of innocent persons than a few militant commanders. Particularly, a report of the New America Foundation indicated, while killing 10 militants, the US has murdered more than 1400 Pakistanis, not involved in any terrorist activities. Could it not imply that it gave birth to another 1400 militants?”
Notably, in the recent past, US State Department had stated that Wali-ur-Rehman, the TTP second-in-command was killed in a drone attack on a tip off provided by an informer from Hakimullah Mehsud group. This has been a grave blow to Wali-ur-Rehman’s faction of TTP, while, the late Hakimullah Mehsud succeeded in eliminating his major opponent in TTP. The Khan Saeed alias Sajna hailing from Mehsud tribe must realise that their leader has been eliminated by Hakimullah Mehsud group to get the award of $5million from US. However, TTP has lost the visionary leader who had supported negotiations with the elected government of Pakistan to reach a peace accord and bring peace in the country.
Nevertheless, some other sinister designs are also part of the similar plot against Pakistan. In this respect, recently, tension arose between New Delhi and Islamabad when Indian military conducted a series of unprovoked firings at the Line of Control (LoC), and international border, killing a number of soldiers of Pak Army and innocent civilians in wake of war-like diplomacy.
And, while talking about the twin terrorist attacks in the Indian Occupied Kashmir which killed 14 personal of army and police, India’s Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid almost wrecked the Nawaz-Manmohan talks, held on the sidelines of the annual UN summit, when he blamed Pakistan’s ISI and the army in this respect. On the other hand, quite opposite to his earlier statement, Indian PM Manmohan Singh remarked that such attacks by the non-state actors would not be allowed to derail efforts to find solutions of all problems through peaceful dialogue. In fact, these terrorist acts were engineered by the Indian fundamentalist opposition party, BJP to refrain PM Singh from continuing peace process with Pakistan.
But, Indian military high command failed in producing dead bodies of alleged terrorists who had crossed the LoC from Pakistan to Indian-occupied Kashmir. The ground realities proved that it was just propaganda against ISI and Pak Army. Meanwhile, on September 29, 2013, Hindustan Times published an article both in its print and web editions that an upcoming TV channel “The BOL channel network” was about to be launched, which has a unique backer–Dawood Ibrahim and was allegedly supported by ISI. The legal notice issued to the Hindustan Times resulted into an internal investigation by the management and removal of offended article from the website. The entire allegation fired back uncovering the real face of Indian propagandists.
Moreover, in another event, Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi in his zealous speech blamed that ISI was providing financial support to Indian students. He was too shameless to feel any embarrassment on such a baseless allegation when chased by the BJP to provide the list of students getting financial support from ISI, but he had none. Besides, Indian scholar Jug Suraiya in her article titled “States & Estates: India should offer to buy Azad Kashmir from Pakistan,” published in The Times of India on October 29, 2013 awkwardly wrote that she believed that 1000 tons of gold is buried in Unnao, UP, India, as revealed in the dreams of Sadhu Shobhan Sarkar. Thus, he suggested to the Indian government to make payment to Pakistan through tons of gold for purchasing Azad Kashmir. So, who can change Indian thoughts and belief system which carry deep seated animosity against Muslims, Pakistan, Pak Army and ISI? The world opinion builders must see the collective double game of the US and India which talk in tone of peace, but in practice, they leave no stone unturned in destabilizing Pakistan.
Returning to our earlier discussion, death of Hakimullah Mehsud in the drone strikes clearly proved conspiracy against Pakistan.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org