Pakistanis want to live with honour

Since the day, US Special forces conducted surgical strike and violated Pakistan’s sovereignty, Pakistanis feel ashamed of the insult heaped on our nation. They are deeply hurt and are extremely angry. They do not want American aid for which the ruling elite have bartered away our sovereignty, but they want to live and die with honour. They demand of the government to stop logistics support to US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, and should stop strategic dialogue with the US.

After four days of Osama episode, statements from COAS and Foreign Secretary have been a source of some comfort for the people. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has said that more raids like the one in Abbottabad would not be tolerated. “COAS made it clear that any similar action violating the sovereignty of Pakistan will warrant a review on the level of military/intelligence cooperation with the United States,” press release said. It was also decided in a meeting that the investigation into intelligence failures to detect the world’s most wanted man on the soil would be conducted.

Simultaneously, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said that if any country tried to raid its territory would face dire consequences from Pakistan’s military. Speaking at a media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday Salman Bashir said the American allegations about intelligence agencies’ links with Al Qaeda were baseless. Our dependency syndrome owes its origin to 1950s when Pakistan started receiving economic and military aid from the US after Pakistan’s ruling elite intertwined Pakistan with the US and the West. They did help Pakistan in economic and defence fields but kept Pakistan at subsistence level, which did not allow it develop as a modern industrial state. On the other hand, American leadership was always infatuated with Indian democracy and the size of the market. It was after the collapse of the Union and end of Cold War that India tried to curry favour with the only super power. In fact, it was in Bill Clinton’s era that die was cast for strategic partnership with India. If one dispassionately evaluates the Pak-America relations, Pakistan has given more than what it got. Pakistan’s role as a frontline state against Communism and supporting jihad started by Afghans, but hijacked by the US.

It was the US that had eulogized Osama bin Laden and presented him as a symbol who had sacrificed wealth and luxurious life for the sake of jihad against infidels. After the Soviet Union disintegrated, the US left Afghanistan at the mercy of the CIA to run the affairs of the region. Osama bin Laden, however wished to advance his agenda of Arab nationalism, and demanded that Israel should vacate Palestinian land and America should withdraw its troops from Saudi Arabia. In May 1988, the USSR had started withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, and in October 1990 as soon as the Soviet forces’ withdrawal was completed, U.S. cut off aid to Pakistan under Pressler Amendment. Earlier, aid had flowed in because the US president used to certify, under Section 620-E (e) of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of Pressler Amendment made in August 1985, that Pakistan did not possess nuclear device. In February 1996, the US President signed into law the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, which included provisions that relax restrictions on economic assistance to Pakistan and permitted a one-time release of $368 million in military hardware ordered by Pakistan prior to the aid cutoff.

After Pakistan’s detonation of nuclear devices in May 1998, the US stopped all economic and military aid to Pakistan. President Bush went to the extent of signing nuclear agreement with India disregarding the limits placed by the IAEA that did not allow non-signatory to the NPT to import nuclear-related materials from Nuclear Suppliers Group. Not only that, members of Bush administration unleashed propaganda campaign against Pakistan. President Bush had passed on the baton to President Obama, who envisages an important role for India in Afghanistan. The statements about Pakistani nukes from members of Obama administration, American Generals, American think tanks and the media, could drive one to the conclusion that the US has not digested Pakistan’s nuclear capability. The US government functionaries have been casting aspersions and accusing Pakistan for either protecting the militants or for not putting wholehearted efforts in eliminating the scourge of terrorism and extremism. The then Senator Joe Biden (now vice president) in an interview with ABC News during the election campaign for president-elect Barack Obama had said: “Here, you have a country that is on the edge, called Pakistan, with nuclear weapons and missiles to carry them that can strike the entire portion of the world, the subcontinent, all the way to the Mediterranean”.

America’s spy agencies and analysts often express their concern over Pakistan’s nukes. European countries leaderships also share those sentiments but they express their views in a subtle manner. Barack Obama, during his election campaign and thereafter also expressed concern over threat from militants in Pak-Afghan border areas and said that this region posed a grave threat to the US and the West. President Obama either does not understand or does not wish to understand that when Pakistan is threatened on the eastern border, and India taking advantage of Pakistan’s preoccupation with the war on terror on the western border expects from Pakistan to forget Kashmir, how Pakistan could extend military operations to North Waziristan and other places. The question is what America and its allies have been able to achieve in Afghanistan during the last nine years, where the situation is bleak with no prospects of peace in the near future.

Only two weeks ago, Pakistani and Afghan civil and military leaders held a crucial meeting, and agreed on upgrading the joint commission to carry forward the reconciliation process. Pakistan and Afghanistan had declared to work together for peace and stability in the region. But within one week when US Special Forces killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabat, President Hamid Karzai once against lambasted Pakistan and said he was dead right that Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. What our leadership has not been able to understand the nexus between India, Afghanistan and US to destabilize Pakistan. Indian caucus in US Congress and media have been trying to create mistrust between CIA and ISI and wished to spoil relations between Pakistan and the US. American think tanks, US army generals and members of Obama administration have unleashed propaganda that the next attack on the US would come from Pakistan. A senior US military commander General James Conway, then head of the Marine Corps and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had said in an interview: “Iraq is now a rear-guard action on the part of Al Qaeda, They have changed their strategic focus not to Afghanistan but to Pakistan, because Pakistan is the closest place where you have the nexus of terrorism and nuclear weapons.”

By: Muhammad Jamil
Pakistan Observer

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