By Sajjad Shaukat
Despite tough statements of the US high officials, showing a paradoxical approach of Washington against Islamabad in connection with Osama Bin Laden who was killed in a US military raid at Abbottabad in Pakistan, America wants to continue its relationship with Pakistan which is a frontline state of war on terror.
On May 18, this year, some US Senators and law-makers urged the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates to review the security assistance of Pakistan, while some suggested cutting off the aid of the former, saying that some of its intelligence agencies were aware of the hideout of Bin Laden. But on May 19, Defence Secretary Gates and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen stated that there was no evidence that leaders in Islamabad knew the whereabouts of the Al Qaeda chief before a US raid. They also advised against cutting off aid to Pakistan for its failure to go after terrorist leaders, while indicating that Washington had important interests at stake and that Islamabad had already been “humiliated” by the raid.
Meanwhile in wake of trust deficit and strained relations between Islamabad and Washington, the visit of the US Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry to Islamabad was of great significance. While showing previous contradictory approach of America towards Pakistan, on May I6, John Kerry pointed out that future relations of the United States with Islamabad would be determined by “its actions, not words,” emphasizing to ‘do more’ against the militants by ignoring the sacrifices of Pak Army and intelligence agencies—especially ISI regarding war against terrorism. However, having resolved some of the puzzles, lingering since Bin Laden’s death in Abbottabad, Pakistan and the US agreed to work together in any future actions against high-value targets in Pakistan.
Senator Kerry also remarked that the US respects Pakistan’s national interest and sovereignty. But his words coincided with the CIA-operated two drone attacks which killed more than ten people in Miranshah. At the same time, Pakistani ground troops opened fire on two NATO helicopters that crossed into Pakistan’s airspace from Afghanistan and targeted a security check post of our country. Afterwards, attacks by the US predators continued intermittently, killing a number of innocent persons on Pakistan’s soil.
While on May 15, during his trip to Afghanistan, John Kerry had clearly revealed that the US will consider “all options” including high-value targets in Pakistan, if it has intelligence that the elusive Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar is hiding in Pakistan. The statement of Kerry was verified by the US President Obama who made it clear in a BBC interview on May 22 that he would “approve a new incursion into Pakistan, if the United States found another leading militant there.”
Nevertheless, America’s such an ambivalent policy is not without some hidden agenda. In this context, under the pretext of “high-value targets” in Pakistan, cross-border-terrorism in relation to Afghanistan, blame game against Pakistan’s spy agency ISI and allegation about other Al Qaeda leaders’ presence in Pakistan—the US which is in collusion with India and Israel, wants to ‘denuclearize’ Pakistan as the latter is the only Islamic country, possessing nuclear weapons. In this regard, secret agencies such as American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are collectively destabilizing Pakistan by supporting various subversive acts like bomb blasts, suicide attacks and targeted killings.
It is mentionable that on September 3, 2008, American Special Operations forces attacked a Pakistani village, Angoor Ada, conducting a ground raid on Pakistani soil, which killed more than 60 innocent people. Notably, since the announcement of the US new strategy to “include targeting Pakistan’s tribal areas” as disclosed by the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen on September 10, 2008, US drone strikes on Pakistan’s tribal areas have intensified, while May 2 raid at Abbottabad including American intentions to conduct more high-value targets in Pakistan are clear indications that the US wants to make Pakistan insecure.
In fact, due to its failed adventure in coping with the Afghan Taliban, America has already made itself insecure as ambush assaults and suicide attacks continue on the Afghans and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Now by ignoring the dangers of its new strategy to directly strike Pakistan’s tribal regions—violation of the sovereignty of an independent state, without caring for the reaction of the elected government as well as the people of the country, Washington is challenging the security of our country, thus making itself more insecure in turn.
This is of particular attention that renowned power-theorists, Morgenthau, Waltz and Kissinger see international relations as constituting a search for security in the world where there is no super agency to impose law, and where maximization of power is the only route to state security. This is because of this reason that America and its allies of war on terror want security only for themselves, and seek to guarantee it through lethal force. Intermittently, heavy aerial bombardment and ground shelling by their forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and inside Pakistani border, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilians might be cited as an example. A similar pattern of state terrorism could be noted in case of Palestine, Kashmir, Somalia etc.
On the other side, Muslim militants, fighting against the imperialist powers through ambush rocket attacks and suicide bombers have broken the myth of old model of power-based security which only safeguards the interest of the US-led western countries at the cost of the small states. In this regard, particularly Pakistan has already been facing multifaceted crises owing to its support to Washington. In this respect, a perennial wave of suicide attacks in the country, targeting law-enforcement agencies coupled with a continuous battle with the militants in the Frontier Province could be noted as an instance. As violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty show that America does not care for any internal backlash in Pakistan, so it is determined to create insecurity in the country.
Nonetheless, US war-mongering hidden strategy against Pakistan will further expedite extremism among the young men, turning them into suicide bombers, radicalizing a vast region from Pakistan to Syria, ultimately making America insecure—besides endangering the world peace. In Pakistan, it will certainly result into more unity among the elected government, security forces, the general masses and even the Pakistani religious organisations, consequently massive hostility and resistance against Americans. In such a scenario, Islamabad could be compelled to stop NATO supply to Afghanistan as public in the country is already protesting against the NATO containers which pass through Pakistan.
In the present era of globalization, there is a direct relationship between internal and external security. If America intends to convert Pakistan into a “failed state” by causing instability, it is, in fact, creating external insecurity which is likely to further harm America’s larger geo-political and economic interests on regional and global level.
In the aftermath of 9/11, western thinktanks have recognized inter-relationship between economics, politics and terrorism. Now, they agree in light of the US failed strategy, prolonged war against terrorism and defeatism in Afghanistan that religious fanaticism and stiff resistance of the Islamic militants are linked to political and economic injustices. Taking cognizance of this fact, the US must abandon its revised military strategy which entails Pakistan as the former still depends upon old power factor which has already failed. Instead, America should increase its economic and security aid to Pakistan and must make practical efforts for the development of infrastructure in FATA. In this context, Washington should also favour peace deals with the militants not only in Pakistan but also in Afghanistan where more lawlessness is causing more terrorism.
As regards the question of Pak-US security, perhaps Washington has failed to recognize that security is a two-way traffic. If America needs security, Pakistan also wants the same. Security cannot be obtained by endangering the security of our country. In these, terms, Pakistan’s insecurity means US insecurity.
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