Lukewarm diplomacy | By Zaheer Bhatti


Lukewarm diplomacy

US withdrawal from Afghanistan was only meant to save any further losses to its boots on the ground and cut its costs.

Going by the past American record be it Vietnam, Iraq or Syria where targeted destruction has continued even after apparent pullout of US forces, it was highly unlikely that the US would completely wash its hands out of Afghanistan.

After a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban who the Allied might put together could not defeat or dislodge in 20 years, the Jehadists pledged and honoured their commitment not to attack withdrawing NATO troops.

The Americans ought to have reciprocated by remaining neutral and encouraged the native Afghans to iron out an Afghan-led Afghan-owned peace process; a position continually taken by Pakistan which was the principal stake-holder for peace in Afghanistan sharing thousands of kilometre-border with Muslim neighbour.

Unfortunately in bombing the same Afghan Taliban, the US has dishonoured its part of the commitment, clearly suggesting that it was not a neutral tender and would continue supporting its puppet minority regime against the Taliban; keeping Afghanistan in turmoil and serving its principal proxy India which under cover of US-assigned duties of China containment, had thus far pursued its own agenda of sponsoring and launching its destabilizing manoeuvres against Pakistan from Afghanistan through Tehreek Taliban Pakistan renegades and American-propped Daesh.

While some clandestine Indian Intelligence presence in the vacated Baghram American Base operating under American wings was uncovered during dismantling of the facility, the real taste of the pudding would be if India would indeed land its troops in defence of the puppet regime on US asking, which one doubts it would risk; becoming targets of the Afghan Taliban.

But having seen the US intent, one might ask what was the logic of Pakistan playing the sucker once again costing it dearly on numerous occasions after serving American interests; allowing the US to fly its U2 from a Pakistani Base against the then USSR and antagonizing an Asian Power, breaking ice between the US and China after the Vietnam fiasco; Serving as American proxy against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan; bringing Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table not just with the US but also with their puppet rulers in Afghanistan to fashion a US face-saving exit peace deal.

Learning no lessons from history, Pakistan is seen exerting efforts in creating a favourable set-up for the US in Afghanistan and landing itself into a quad diplomatic platform announced in Tashkent on July the 16th; comprising the US, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, which looks to be at the expense of the Afghan Taliban who were the principal stakeholder in Afghanistan.

Pakistan instead ought to have firmed up a Regional Alliance with Iran, Turkey, Central Asian Republics, China and Russia to encourage native stake-holders to iron out a negotiated govt among themselves in Afghanistan, without any outside interference.

For puppets like Karzai and now Ashraf Ghani pretending ignorance of any operations against Pakistan from Afghan soil by anti-Pakistan terrorist groups sponsored jointly by Indian RAW and Afghan NDS from their safe havens in Afghanistan along the Pak-Afghan Border, and now blaming Pakistan for the volatile situation in Afghanistan, is not just travesty of truth but rank irresponsible coming from such puppets.

It is known to every discerning source that the puppet Afghan regime was acting like a robot under Indian tutelage to ensure further spoiling of Pak-Afghan relations.

Pakistan has been pointing out such instances; one reckons though not so effectively to the world and the relevant quarters, as do Indians mostly out of self-manufactured episodes and instances making them look real.

Notwithstanding all previous terror attacks; be they the Delhi Parliament, Mumbai, Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama which not just by international accounts but also by Indian own official sources, were proven to be India’s own handiwork, Pakistan has failed to take these revelations to their logical conclusion due to a very docile Interior and Foreign Affairs set-up.

Agreed that Pakistan must not prematurely point its accusing finger as the Indians do within minutes of their self-staged episode, but when facts are authentically established, you need to go on the offences and rest only after extracting the desired international response of at least condemnation of the Indian acts.

Indian RAW planned the Lahore terrorist blast and evidence including financial records pointed to direct Indian sponsorship.

Dasu Chinese workers bus blast network has been traced back to India; clearly aimed at hurting the fast growing Pak-China equation, as has been its latest spying of Pakistani key personalities including Prime Minister Imran Khan and national institutions using Israeli spyware Pegasus; role in keeping Pakistan in the FATF grey list by its own admission, and totally uncalled for Indian remarks in an attempt to frame Pakistan in the RAW-cum-Afghan NDS self-staged alleged abduction of Afghan Ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad is pathetic.

Both India and Ashraf Ghani have the cheek to blame Pakistan for instability in Afghanistan, and Pakistan as usual is found offering explanations instead of hitting back, seeking unqualified apologies from India and holding it accountable to the world.

It was disappointing to see Pakistan’s Information Minister in a Press briefing the other day, lamenting the lack of funds compared to India and giving a comparison which is no justification for not going on the counter-offensive.

Everyone tells us that Pakistan is being subjected to hybrid warfare by India which includes hacking, cyber-attacks and disinformation through social and conventional media.

What stops you from paying back in the same coin! With Americans going nowhere from Afghanistan Pakistan will have to pull up its socks and gear up its diplomatic offensive in response to actions against it by inimical enemy forces.

It needs to nail Indian hybrid warfare tactics without beating about the bush and bust their plans internationally with full political and diplomatic force. It must squarely require US to take India off its back and make its puppets behave.

—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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