Emerging threats to security of Pakistan
By Asif Haroon Raja
War on terror was conceived by USA and its strategic allies to pitch non-Pashtun Afghan security forces against the Afghan Pashtuns including Taliban and create permanent divisions on ethnic lines; create space for India to increase its influence and to constrict Pakistan’s space in Afghanistan; pitch Iraqi national militia together with Kurds and Iraqi Shias against Saddam loyalists and al-Qaida to divide Iraq on ethnic and sectarian basis. In Pakistan, Pak security forces were to be made to fight the radicals in FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa so as to impel the tribesmen to turn their guns from Afghanistan towards Pakistan. The underlying strategy was to keep providing oxygen to both sides so that they could bleed each other to death, entangle sizeable number of combat troops in troubled regions at the cost of weakening the eastern front, fatigue, demoralize and defame the military and render it incapable of employing its offensive contingencies against India in case of war. At the same time, destabilize Pakistan through covert war in northwestern regions and Balochistan and later in Karachi and other major cities to incapacitate its economy.
After achieving initial objectives during Gen Musharraf regime, the US installed a compromised, corrupt and inefficient government to speed up the destruction of state institutions, facilitate induction of Blackwater and also to accelerate drone war. Purpose of drones was not to curb terrorism but to fuel terrorism in Pakistan. Secret entry of hundreds of Raymond Davis type CIA agents into Pakistan and establishment of huge CIA network in 2010 were made possible by the conniving dual nationality and power hungry government functionaries and quislings. The chosen puppets beholden to their patrons instead of taking steps to save Pakistan from the designs of real enemies treat them as saviors and friends and have picked up cudgels against the judiciary. Instead of alleviating the sufferings of the people who elected them, they are consuming all their energies on how to fill up their coffers and how to complete their five-year tenure.
The so-called friends of Pakistan have a definite hand in all high profile attacks on sensitive military targets such as POF Wah, Hamza camp, GHQ, Mehran naval base and Kamra airbase. These were designed to lower the image of the armed forces in the eyes of the public, to demoralize the military and weaken their resolve to fight as well as to incapacitate sea/air surveillance capability. The symbolic attacks were meant to lionize the prowess of the militants, magnify the threat, undermine Pak armed forces and thus keep Pakistan under constant pressure to do more. Other than these objectives, these attacks whether successful or failing in accomplishing the assigned tasks were aimed at giving a message to the world that Pak security forces were incapable of guarding their strategic assets including the nuclear arsenal and thus prepare grounds for the UN intervention or military intervention.
The US SEAL stealth attack in Abbottabad on 2 May 2011 to get OBL could not have materialized without a wink from within our corridors of power and without the active role played by home-based CIA and local agents like Dr. Afridi. The US and its toadies in Pakistan had common objective of discrediting the leadership of Army, air force and ISI and creating conditions for replacing the entire security team with like-minded officers towing American agenda. Treacherous role of the insiders was exposed by the judicial Memo Commission in which Hussein Haqqani was named and indicted. ‘Get Geronimo’ venture proved costly for the US since its fallout effect was more harmful to the US than to Pakistan.
Declaring Haqqani network (HN) as a ‘veritable arm’ of ISI by Admiral Mike Mullen was an act of frustration and yet another attempt to compel Pakistan to launch an operation in North Waziristan. HN has now been designated as a foreign terrorist group, which could be a prelude to declare Pakistan a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’. Attack on Salala on 26 November was the outcome of heightening bitterness on account of defiance of the GHQ. Pak-US relations reaching a breaking point in the aftermath of Salala tragedy delighted the Indian leadership and it kept striving hard to convert Pak-US friendship into permanent enmity. It is not only the US which is getting irritated over Pak Army’s refusal to launch a dictated military operation in NW but India seems more concerned and is constantly egging on Washington to keep pressing Pakistan. Although almost three corps force is tied down in the northwestern region, India is still feeling jittery and wants another corps to be moved before it can think of activating the eastern front.
With eyes on abundant mineral resources of Balochistan and failing to rid the geo-strategic and geo-economic important Gawadar Port of the influence of China and also failing to quash Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, the US and its allies have stepped up covert war in Balochistan. While Pak-China friendship has remained an eyesore for the US and India, recent developments pointing towards thawing of Pak-Russia relations have compounded their fears. Under no circumstances the US can afford to lose Pakistan and that too to its chief rivals and at a critical juncture when endgame in Afghanistan has begun. Behind the scenes Indian lobby succeeded in convincing Vladimir Putin to cancel his scheduled visit to Pakistan. Both USA and India dread the possible bloc formed by Russia-China-Pakistan-Iran backed by other SCO members.
Rather than wooing Pakistan to keep it within its fold, the US cannot refrain itself from applying coercive tactics to force Pakistan to keep dancing to its tunes. Among host of pressures it has been applying since the start of war on terror, Balochistan pressure has become the most ominous. The foreign supported insurgency fuelled in 2005 has been transformed into a separatist movement. Sub-nationalists and insurgents like BLA, BRA and BLF backed by CIA, MI-6 and RAW have been waging a war against the state and have forced thousands of youth and tribal people to migrate to Afghanistan or join the insurgency. Baluchistan has been turned into a death zone for all those patriots who protect and defend Pakistan.
Using Afghan soil RAW in connivance with RAAM and Afghan National Directorate of Security is playing a key role in destabilizing Balochistan and is trying to equate it with occupied Kashmir by feeding the idea of right of self determination to the separatists. In former East Pakistan, Indian agencies had given six-point program to Sheikh Mujibur Rehman which was the route to separation. The insurgency was fully supported by the Indian military. India transformed the refugee issue into the biggest issue to gain sympathies of the world and the small Army garrison in East Pakistan desperately trying to re-establish the writ of the government and to save the integrity of the country was painted as butchers and rapists. Taking a leaf out of its successful venture in 1971, India has in all probability launched Akhtar Mengal with six points who has felt no qualm in equating them with infamous Mujib’s six points. This time, ‘missing persons and mutilated bodies’ has been made into a major issue. .
Feeling elated after its success in Libya, the US contemplates using similar tactics in Balochistan to make it independent. Apart from patronizing the dissident Baloch leaders in exile and providing funds, arms and equipment to the Baloch rebels hiding in mountains and in Afghanistan, the US think tanks and media have not only been spitting poison against Pakistan but also publishing stories and maps of Balkanized Pakistan in which Balochistan is shown as an independent state.
Baloch nationalism was given a push by projecting late Nawab Akbar Bugti as a hero. Another reason for lionizing Bugti was to portray Gen Musharraf as his killer and thus instill hatred against the Army. The Baloch while eulogizing the dead man under a false pretext that he had laid down his life for their cause seemed to have forgotten his past that he was always seen as an establishment man, he was anti-nationalists and against the development of the province and was among the most ruthless Sardars who operated private jails, tortured his opponents and exiled one of the sub-tribes of Bugtis called Kalpars..
The first serious overt move was made by USA in respect of Balochistan separatists when the US Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs chaired by Dana Rohrabacher on February 8, 2012, advocated right of self-determination for the Baloch and championed the cause of independent Balochistan. The next dangerous move has been made on missing persons. Media played a major role in creating hype about the “missing persons” and systematically drummed it up as the worst case of human rights violations. A global outcry based on made-up propaganda stories was stirred up to malign the security forces and intelligence agencies. The actual figure of missing persons is lower than 100, which is much less than the figures in all other provinces of Pakistan.
After sensationalizing the issue and blaming the FC and intelligence agencies responsible for the enforced disappearances, a UN Team of two members visited Pakistan from 10-20 September 2012 to evaluate the cases of missing persons. The visitors undertook the visit despite the fact that the Supreme Court had taken serious notice of deteriorating law and order situation in Balochistan and had also taken a tough stance on the issue of missing persons and had demanded from the FC and other law enforcement agencies to produce the missing persons or face the music. The delegation visited Quetta and held meetings with Baloch leaders including Talal Bugti who handed him a list of 650 missing persons.
The visitors pressed the government and the judiciary to fulfill their duty to thoroughly investigate the enforced disappearances and bring the perpetrators to justice. They also visited Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar. However, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the IG FC in Balochistan refused to meet them. While in Balochistan, they didn’t take cognizance of some 1800 Punjabis killed as part of ethnic cleansing, nor they noticed that over 120,000 families had migrated to Punjab and Karachi after receiving death threats from Baloch and Brahvi militants on the pay roll of CIA/RAW. The UN Group snooped in a country to prepare a premeditated case on the pattern of Libya to justify UN intervention or direct military action in Balochistan. They forgot that Pakistanis are still awaiting the UN verdict on its 1948 and 1949 resolutions on Kashmir. The people of Pakistan are surprised at the hypocrisy and duplicity of the UN and wonder as to why the UN team didn’t deem it proper to visit the open prison of Indian Occupied Kashmir where the Muslim Kashmiris are going through hell and where extra judicial killings, forced abductions, rape and torture are a norm. Even the teenage boys are not spared. They question as to why the UN doesn’t pick up courage to rein in the the kill teams of the US-NATO forces that have turned Afghanistan into a killing ground and why the UN has not taken notice of the infamous Guantanamo Bay Prison?
The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. Email:email@example.com