By Sajjad Shaukat
Today Pakistan stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing internal and external threats to its national security. Even a layman can note in wake of the present multiple crises that our country is in mess and it looks as if there is a “war of all against all” in the sense of ‘Hobbesian state of nature.’
Besides facing multi-faceted economic crises such as hike prices, load-shedding, unemployment etc., Pakistan and its security forces are coping with suicide attacks, bomb blasts, sectarian violence and targeted-killings including sporadic battles with the militants in the tribal areas. Besides 30,000 innocent persons, more than 5000 soldiers and several police men have become martyrs in this different war in maintaining the integrity of the federation.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by a US military raid in Pakistan on May 2, terror-incident at Pakistan Navy’s airbase on May 22 and intermittent subversive events in the country coupled with attack of more than 500 heavily armed and well-trained militants who entered Pakistan’s Upper Dir area from Afghanistan on May 22, and again infiltrated in Bajaur Agency’s Mohmand tehsil on June 16 in wake of continued wave of drone attacks and threats of high-value targets by the US on Pakistan clearly indicate that some opportunist elements like the US, India and Israel are in collusion as part of a conspiracy to ‘destabilize’ Pakistan for their common strategic interests. For this sinister aim, American CIA, Indian secret agency RAW and Israeli Mossad including Blackwater which have been sending armed militants to our country so as to commit various terror-events have also rapidly established their collective network in Pakistan. All these anti-Pakistan developments have coincided with the American pressure to ‘do more’ against the Al Qaeda-related militants.
Pakistan’s military leadership has repeatedly been revealing that RAW, Mossad and other foreign agencies are involved in supporting insurgency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and separatism in Balochistan including acts of terrorism in other cities of Pakistan.
It is of particular attention that the US-led NATO troops are likely to withdraw from Afghanistan in accordance with the announced schedule. So, they are determined to shift Afghan war in Pakistan because it is the lonely ‘nuclearised’ country in the Islamic World.
In this regard, on June 7, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad disclosed that there was “accurate information…Americans are to sabotage Pakistan’s nuclear facilities to find dominance over the country.” While also saying Zionist regime behind the conspiracy, he elaborated that for this purpose, the US can also use “the United Nations Security Council and some other international organisations as tools to exercise pressure on Pakistan and weaken its national integrity.”
At present, trust deficit and strained relations exist between Islamabad and Washington as the latter is playing a double game with the former. After understanding US duplicity, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has refused to act upon American undue demands. It could be judged from the fact that the US CIA Chief Leon Panetta who met Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Head Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha on June 11, left Islamabad without meeting President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Reliable sources suggest that Gen. Kayani and Gen. Pasha insisted on Panetta for joint operations and intelligence sharing, but not independent operations. They also refused for some CIA operatives to be given visas, enabling them to enter Pakistan and work independently.
However, while taking cognisance of the ongoing anti-Pakistan developments and economic problems, on June 9, Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Kayani proposed that billions of dollars in US aid meant for the military’s fight against terror should be diverted to bolster the economy and help ordinary Pakistanis. According to an ISPR press release, the meeting of the top military commanders was given a briefing with special reference to internal security, terrorism, role of media, society and all organs of the state to comprehensively address the ongoing challenges. Regarding US pressure to start military operation in North Waziristan, Kayani also made it clear, “a well thought out campaign is under no pressure to carry out operations at a particular time…future operations, as and when undertaken, will be with political consensus.”
By stressing upon national unity, Kayani especially elaborated, “any effort to create divisions between important institutions of the country was not in national interest…this is an effort to drive a wedge between the army, different organs of the state and more seriously, the people of Pakistan whose support the army has always considered vital for its operations against terrorists.”
It is regrettable that on the one hand, country’s multiple crises reflect that Pakistan is rapidly advancing towards a ‘failed state’ owing to the sinister designs of the external elements, while on the other, our media, particularly most of the TV channels conduct controversial debate between politicians and commentators, contesting internal politics. Like the foreign enemies by ignoring the sacrifices of Pakistan’s security forces against terrorism, they malign Pak Army and intelligence agency, ISI. In this respect, some of our media anchors and politicians or political experts pay no attention on national unity and cohesion among various civil and military institutes of the country. At this critical juncture, while situation demands selfless unity, both our media and some politicians manipulate every terror-incident or negative development against Pakistan. On renowned TV channels, our politicians oppose their rivals for the sake of opposition. In this context, they opine as to what the people want, but conceal as to what the people actually need? Especially, it seems that a majority of Pakistan’s media anchors are on the payroll of the external enemies.
Nevertheless, drastic implications of the ongoing precarious situation cannot be grasped by the general masses at large, who abruptly change their opinion without reason. Hence, they become easy prey to the internal exploiters, unintentionally benefiting the external conspirators who want to weaken Pakistan by creating a rift between our general masses led by politicians, and the security forces. Apart from it, foreign agents misguide the disgruntled elements that national institutions are not made to develop the backward areas, and policies formulated at Islamabad are not congenial to other provinces except Punjab.
No doubt, at this critical hour, Pakistan’s survival lies in selfless unity. For this purpose, in order to castigate the conspiracy of the external elements against the integrity of the country, our political leaders must avoid exploiting any crisis not only against one another but also against the security forces and ISI whose image are deliberately being tarnished by the external plotters.
In this connection, Pakistan’s media, particularly TV channels can play a key role. First of all, owners of these channels should detect some anchors who are working on the payroll of foreign enemies. Then they must terminate their services. Notably, our media should give a matching response to malicious propaganda of the US-led some western countries including India and Israel which are leaving no stone unturned in distorting the image of Pakistan, its army and ISI abroad. As unlike the print media, electronic media attract more viewers, so our TV commentators must point out the collective collusion of CIA, RAW and Mossad in relation to their support to subversive acts inside our country and against Pak nukes.
Although since its inception, Pakistan has been facing ethnic, linguistic and communal problems, yet survival of the country needs that all segments of the society must unite against the foreign enemies. And our national, provincial and regional leaders must stop manipulating various crises and disparities at the cost of federation, indicating hostility for the sake of hostility—which have been hindering the path of national cohesiveness. In this connection, a blind dedication to one’s own race, tribe and creed should not be allowed to create hatred in one group against the other.
Nonetheless, the present adverse circumstances have surrounded the country from all sides, either we gauge in political or economic terms. This demands sacrifices of individual selfish interests. So, Pakistan’s survival requires a strong sense of unity among the general public, politicians, religious leaders and the security forces not only to resolve the ongoing problems, but also to cope with the foreign enemies.
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