By Sajjad Shaukat
The multifaceted crises of Pakistan clearly prove that being the only nuclear country in the Islamic World; it has become special target of the US-led India and Israel. In this regard, secret agencies like American CIA Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad are collectively waging a psychological warfare against Pakistan to destabilize it. In practical terms, these agencies have been sending well-trained agents and militants who attack the checkposts of Pakistan’s security forces, and also commit subversive acts in various places of Pakistan, besides supporting Baloch separatism in order to fulfill their secret agenda against this country, China and Iran.
On the other side, these foreign secret agencies have also hired the services of some Pakistani journalists and media anchors who leave no stone unturned in distorting the image of Pakistan, Pak Army and superior intelligence agency, ISI by raising false allegations. The 9/11 tragedy in the US homeland and continued resistance of the Afghan Taliban against the occupying forces, failure of the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan have provided these journalists with golden opportunity to gain the further favour especially of America by maligning Pakistan on every issue, while speaking in line of their paymasters. By implicating Islamabad and its key institutions, these internal enemies can get good coverage in the western media along with increase of their financial help. In fact, these media anchors or journalists who speak and write against their own country are not only traitors, but their services are also on sale.
Ahmed Rashid who is a Pakistani journalist—author of many books on Taliban and writers of several articles is also on sale. It is due to his anti-Pakistan approach that he has been highly appreciated by US high officials and western media. As a foreign correspondent of the Independent and Daily Telegraph, Rashid has been reporting from the region. Some renowned newspapers like ‘The New York Times’, ‘Washington Post’ etc. also quote Ahmed Rashid in their reports, while BBC has also telecast his interview.
One day before the second Bonn Conferene, an article of the Ahmed Rashid was published on the BBC website, entitled, “Afghan Peace at Stake in Bonn.” While maligning Pakistan, raising false allegations, Ahmed Rashid wrote, “whether a second Bonn conference can secure a long-term peace…the talks in Bonn were all set to reassert the commitment of the international community to helping Afghanistan after 2014 when most Western military forces will have left.” He explained, “There had been hopes for a breakthrough on reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban-until Pakistan pulled out of the Bonn gathering-the government took the decision after pressure from the army following Nato’s accidental killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border checkpost. Pakistan cut Nato supplies to Afghanistan and there was uproar across Pakistan-one that was carefully fuelled by the military.”
Rashid further pointed out, “Some still hope that a breakthrough may take place with the announcement at Bonn that the talks between all sides and Taliban can continue in a more permanent manner.”
On one side, US President Barrack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have offered their “deepest condolences” in the cross-border incident which killed 24 soldiers of Pak Army, while on the other, Ahmed Rashid did not even condemn this deliberate strikes of the US-led NATO, but in tone of some American commanders, called it accidental killing of Pakistani soldiers.
In this respect, Director General Military Operations Maj-Gen. Ishfaq Nadeem said on November 29 this year that the NATO attacks on border check posts in Mohmand Agency were deliberate because “the positions of the posts were already conveyed to the ISAF through map references and it was impossible that they did not know these to be our posts.”
As regards Pakistan’s suspension of NATO supplies to Afghanistan and boycott of the second Bonn Conference, the decisions were made in the Defence Committee of Cabinet which comprises both civil and military leadership including ministers of the cabinet. Despite Islamabad’s strong reaction, when US top officials refused to apologize on the aerial strikes, Pakistan finally boycotted the Bonn meeting. There was no pressure of army on civilian rulers in this respect.
Meanwhile, as protests against a lethal NATO aggression, all the segments society, voluntarily organized demonstrations and the rallies in major cities of the country, showing resentment against the US and solidarity with the army. In this matter, there was no backing of the military as misperceived by Ahmed Rashid. Quite contrarily to his ill-conceived thoughts, members of the Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum, the Pakistani community and all peace-loving people in Germany and from the whole world went to Boon and demonstrated against NATO incursion in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In his article, while pursuing the blame game of the US high officials, Ahmed Rashid has accused that Pakistan, “which hosts the bulk of the Taliban leadership, is critical to any settlement.” He further alleged, “All the major Afghan Taliban groups and their leaders are based in Pakistan-and can be influenced by the military to co-operate or not with international efforts to bring them to the table.” Besides he also blamed Pakistan and Iran for “interference [cross-border terrorism] in Afghanistan.”
In this connection, it is brought to the notice of Rashid that if Pak army or any of its agency has been hosting Taliban commanders as to why renowned Taliban militants and commanders were captured with the efforts of Pakistan’s security agencies especially ISI.
It is of particular attention that there are differences between the US State Department and Pentagon which also includes some law-makers of the Republican Party as the latter are against the role of Islamabad in bringing Taliban to the negotiating table, while alleging Pak army and ISI for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan. In this context, Journalist Ahmed Rashid is working for the interests of US military and CIA. In the line of Pentagon, he has also accused Pakistan army of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, also creating apprehensions that Islamabad will be influenced by its army—not bringing Taliban on the negotiating table.
Notably, Rashid does not know that during her latest trip to Islamabad, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized on Islamabad to help “Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith” including the Haqqani militants. And while reaching Washington, She stated that Afghanistan must stop militants’ safe-havens, and their infiltration in Pakistan. Question arises as to why Ahmed Rashid is silent over the fact that, in the last few months, heavily-armed insurgents from Afghanistan’s side entered Pakistan’s region intermittently, targeting the security check posts, killing more than 100 personal of Pakistan’s security forces. He is also silent over RAW’s logistic support to Baloch separatists.
While speaking in the language of the US and India, in his previous articles and new book, “Descent Into Chaos,” Ahmed Rashid has raised a number false allegations against Pakistan army and ISI. For example, while creating self-fabricated stories, he wrote, “Zardari’s government has acknowledged that elements within the ISI are sympathetic to Islamists in Pakistan and the insurgency in Afghanistan.” He also accused that November 26 terror-attacks in India were carried out with the official support of Islamabad. Ahmed Rashid has favoured the CIA-operated drone attacks on Pakistan, tarnishing the image of Pakistan, support of Pak Army and ISI to Haqqani network and bombing of the American embassy in Kabul. Knowing American shrewd diplomacy, he has also written against China and Iran so as to disrupt their cordial relationship with Islamabad.
During her fresh trip to Islamabad, Ms. Clinton said that there was no evidence that ISI was involved in the incident of the US embassy in Kabul.
On the other hand, despite the boycott of the second Bonn Conference, on December 5, Pakistan has ensured its full cooperation to the participants of the meeting in order to share security and stability in Afghanistan. In this regard, while addressing the Bonn Conference, Hillary Clinton, while praising Pakistan, said, “The entire region has a stake in Afghanistan’s future…we would of course have benefited from Pakistan…we believe that Pakistan has a crucial role to play.” she told reporters that she was encouraged by remarks of Pakistani government that it will continue cooperation including in the fight against terrorism.
Nevertheless, the main purpose of Ahmed Rashid is to create division between Pak Army and civilian rulers and misguide the general masses of Pakistan against the integrity of the country by allegedly targeting the security agencies of the country. One can note no difference between blame game of US high officials and those of India about Pakistan. In these terms, Ahmed Rashid writes and speaks in the same tone, especially protecting American interests at the cost of Pakistan. No doubt, like some other Pakistani journalists, Ahmed Rashid is on sale.
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