by Sajjad Shaukat
An article by Khaled Ahmed under the caption, “General Kayani’s War”, published in The Express Tribune on August 26, 2012 is no more than a fictitious story against Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
While showing illogical approach, the writer has tried to prove as if war against terrorism is Gen. Kayani’s personal war, being fought on behalf of the US. He rejected Gen. Kayani’s statement that war against terrorism was “Pakistan’s war…and Pakistan’s trouble was internal.”
By distorting facts, Khaled Ahmed presumed that in the country, people think that it is America’s war “in which Pakistan was playing a self-damaging ancillary role.” According to him, “most TV anchors reacted angrily, stubbornly clinging to the narrative made current by General Kayani’s own subordinates in the ISI.”
Confused in his own thoughts, the writer has ignored the principles of realpolitik and background of the war on terror. The fact of the matter is that after 9/11, a number of small states such as Uzbekistan, Philippines, Yemen, and most of the Arab states decided to support the US war against terrorism because they were less powerful as compared to the United States. By acting upon realistic approach, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf also decided to join this war because Pakistan was facing acute economic and financial crises including hostile factor of India. In case of refusal, the then Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had threatened to take Pakistan back to the Stone Age.
Perhaps, Khaled Ahmed does not know that we are living in an unequal world order. In this regard, unlike the small countries, the US-led major western countries have the decision-making power in the UN Security Council, IMF and World Bank. In these terms, these developed states have a favourable bargaining leverage vis-à-vis the weak countries. Even with or without the assent of the Security Council, these western countries can attack any country or can impose sanctions on less developed nations. Invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq and military action against Libya including economic sanctions against Iran can be cited as an example in this respect.
Although during the Mushrraf era, being a developing country, having weak bargaining leverage Islamabad joined this ‘different war’ against militancy after 9/11, yet the writer Khaled has indicated baseless approach by mentioning that even at present Gen. Pervaz Kayani is fighting America’s war.
In the past few months, Pakistan’s TV channels are continuously engaged in conducting controversial debate regarding the NRO judgment implementation case, being heard by The Supreme Court of Pakistan. Now, this debate has intensified in the electronic media.
Quite contrary to the concocted story of the writer, TV anchors and any official of the ISI did not blame that Gen. Kayani is waging America’s war.
In his irrational approach, the writer, Khaled Ahmed has neglected the ground realities in his article. In this respect, he must know that while playing a double game, the US has entangled Pakistan in this new style war. In this context, American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have established their spy-network in Afghanistan from where well-trained militants are being sent to Pakistan to conduct subversive acts in various cities of the country, assaults on Pakistan’s security check posts and in the province of Balochistan where they also assist separatist elements.
Posing themselves as Pakistani Taliban, especially, RAW-backed Indian Muslims have joined the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other extremist outfits. These are the elements which have been conducting suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeting killings, sectarian violence and assaults on the security forces in order to destabilise Pakistan as it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. Besides other recent subversive activities, TTP also claimed responsibility for attack on Kamra Base, which was foiled by the valiant personnel of Pakistan Air Force and Special Service Group (SSG) of Commandoes of Pak Army. Such sorts of terror attacks are arranged by the hostile agencies to target Pakistan’s strategic interests.
While targeting Gen. Kayani, the writer misperceived that Kayani once told that he was “wedded to the doctrine of strategic depth in Afghanistan to better confront India in case of conflict.” In fact, Gen. Kayani never issued such a statement. In his recent meeting with the ISAF commander Gen. John Allen in Rawalpindi, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani only pointed out that peace and stability in Afghanistan were crucial to Islamabad’s long-term interests. However, Khaled is silent about the fact that India which has got strategic depth against Pakistan is further strengthening its grip in Afghanistan.
Citing a number of developments in Pakistan, such as release of Raymond Davis, closure and opening of NATO supply routes, prospective military operations in North Waziristan and so on, Khaled Ahmed has misguided the general public that all the decisions are made by the civil government under the dictates of army. And “General Kayani is thus the most powerful man in the country.”
Reality is that all these decisions were made by the civil authorities. It could be judged from the recent statement of Gen. Kayani in relation to the operation in North Waziristan. After his meeting with Gen. James N. Mattis, Commander US CENTCOM, on August 17, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani categorically dispelled the speculative reporting in foreign media, regarding joint operations in North Waziristan. He reiterated, “We might, if necessary, undertake operations in NWA, in the timeframe of our choosing…when directed by the civil government”, and “it will never be a result of any outside pressure.”
In his unjustified hostility against army chief and ISI, the writer also set aside the facts about the memogate case, saying, that going to the Supreme Court in this respect was a mistake. In this connection, it is brought to the knowledge of Khaled Ahmed that on June 12, this year, the memo judicial commission’s report submitted in the Supreme Court, found out the truth about seeking American intervention to pre-empt a military coup after the May 2-kill Osama raid. The report established that the memorandum was authentic and Pakistan’s former ambassador to United States, Husain Haqqani was its originator and architect. Now, reality behind memogate case has been proved as mentioned in the reply of Gen. Kayani and former DG ISI Gen. Shuja Ahmed Pasha, submitted to the apex court.
The writer seems ignorant that when the crisis deepened between the civil and military leaders in relation to the memogate issue, some political parties and media anchors were spreading rumours that martial law could be imposed in the country. But no such attempt was made by Gen. Kayani.
Notably, on March 6, 2008, Gen. Kayani had clearly remarked, “The army would stay out of the political process.” He is still acting upon the principle of non-interference in political affairs.
While taking note of critical situation in the country, and stressing upon national unity, Gen. Kayani especially stated on June 9, 2011, “Any effort to create division among important institutions of the country is not in national interest…the people of Pakistan whose support the army has always considered vital for its operations against terrorists.”
The writer has totally neglected the services of Army performed during earthquakes, floods etc. and sacrifices of its personnel during Swat and Malakand military operations. Still, Army is coping with militants in some tribal areas so as to protect the lives of the people by sacrificing its soldiers.
There is no doubt it is nation’s war against terrorism which Pak Army is fighting against the foreign supported terrorists. While fulfilling the designs of external elements, the writer, Khaled Ahmad who has created a fictitious story in his article to tarnish the image of Gen. Kayani, and ISI is definitely an agent of CIA or RAW.
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