NO doctrine or claim gains currency in tumbled world of international relations until backed by force. The ideals of morality, compassion, fair play and reciprocity fall on deaf ears because power has its own preferences as once said by former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger “ empires have no interest in operating within an international system, they aspire to be the international system”. In contemporary times, US is its most stubborn epitome and it is up against us once again albeit it remains our friend. With announcement of new US South Asia policy, it has added more iron to fires of violence, conflict and instability in region. Inevitably, Pakistan had to change tack which the world is describing a Bajwa doctrine. In words of a leading British think tank, Royal United Services Institute “Pakistan Army under Bajwa doctrine is biting back hard against threats issued by the American administration”. Though it is a deserving compliment however, by no mean leave Pakistan in comfort to gloat over because it is a long drawn tug and pull. It would not come true without cost. It entails heavy expenditure in effort and substance. Luckily, man in charge, General Bajwa knows it well because his actions appears to be compatible with dire imperatives of challenges at hand internally as well as externally. It is an all-encompassing doctrine.
To start with, there is a realization that US friendship is of superficial nature with very little concrete content. It often falls at tangent to an extent of mistrust, animosity and confrontation. In context of CPEC, it is likely to remain a constant migraine. US aid is of less gain than pain it causes. The self-reliance and self-assurance about own geo strategic importance, strength, leverages and contributions made for cause of international peace and security at own colossal cost. Probably it does not require US certification provided marketed astutely. It speaks volume. Laxity is on part. Policy drawn on fear would lead us nowhere rather, would invariably subject to do more mantra, insults, self ruination and repentance. Diplomacy begins at home. Internal strength is a bedrock of national sovereignty, freedom and autonomy. On this account, Pakistan is in dire straits. The prime reasons include disoriented/self-seeking leadership and dysfunctional state apparatus. Pakistan has never been a case of failed state. It is the leadership which doomed it to failure. Whenever and wherever, it had leadership worth its name, it blossomed greatly. This bundle of realization seems to be a guiding force behind the doctrine if seen in right perspective.
National response to US highhandedness and insensitivity is highly unusual to which US is equally unaccustomed to. Pakistan does not require US assistance because Pakistan has never fought for money. It wants trust, respect, cooperation and sharing in spirit of mutual understanding. No scapegoating or arm twisting could do the trick. Pakistan has done more than enough. It is Pakistan which has helped to fight militancy more than any other NATO country. It is time for others to do more. Pakistan has restored stability in Pakistan. The stability in Afghanistan is responsibility of Afghan and US forces. Pakistan has not relent in its effort to uproot terrorism. It is no phony claim. The Operation Radd-ul- Fasaad is its substantiation.
Consequent upon above, Pakistan military has geared up fully to coup with military and treasure cuts in US aid and potential threats of boot on ground. It has accelerated its self-reliance efforts, collaboration with China and diversification for provision of military hardware. General Bajwa has reached out to China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arab to enhance diplomatic resourcefulness. All stood with Pakistan when US started showing its teeth to brow beat Pakistan. It definitely induced some measure of sanity in its hot head. A dithering of some sort at FATA conference by our friends may only be a tactical pause. Besides, notable address of General Bajwa at Munich Security Conference was a useful step to lobby the cause of Pakistan. The Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi is also doing a good job at UN to show mirror to those who try to malign Pakistan maliciously to achieve their ends.
Domestically the plate of Army is also full. Apart from guarding territorial frontiers of Pakistan, ungrudgingly it is engaged in numerous and enormous tasks of greater national importance, far other than its designation because democratic setups are at nascent stage and institutions are weak/dysfunctional. It is an earnest of concern not because of compulsions of anachronism or abhorrent to military rule in world. Underlying purpose is to afford time to fledgling democracy to get mature. The weak governmental performance is understandable however, we have problems when our ministers subscribe more to point of view of nemeses to pressurize the establishment. More or less, non-stop mudslinging is another awful dimension to an extent of blatant provocations. On other side, a palpable effort was afoot to divert them from the path nevertheless, they remained steadfast. They vow to stand by constitution only. The criticism of ruling elite is unwarranted. Our Armed Forces have shouldered the responsibility, not sought the authority. Nation knows this, trust them and stands back to back with them. With no fear of contradiction, as a nation we are moving forward. Rule of law is making a strong comeback.
— The writer, retired Lt Col, is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.