Mohammad Ali Baig
WAS Pak Military’s ‘Security Paradigm Shift’ temporary or permanent? Does the real threat to the sovereign status of Pakistan still emerge from the East? What makes Pakistan to believe that its Western borders are safe due to adjacent ‘Muslim’ countries i.e. Afghanistan and Iran? Why Tehran is being fearful of the Islamic Military Alliance and how Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav entered Pakistan via Iran? These are among the many questions arising in the minds of the Pakistani people who have been pretty much tired of the bicker and squabble of its neighbours, particularly the Western ones. The Government of Pakistan, its military and people have always rendered their unmatched courteous behaviour towards their neighbours especially to Afghanistan and Iran. But it is quite the irony that Afghanistan, Iran and India are maintaining cordial relations among themselves while at the same instance seem absolutely busy in hurting the national interests of Pakistan.
Ostensibly, there exists an unofficial ‘Tripartite Pact’ among India, Iran and Afghanistan. There are two possible solutions for Pakistan to tackle with the perceived and potential anti-Pakistan alliance. First, is to deal in such a pragmatic manner while breaking the cohesion among the three neighbours by engaging these three separately at the same time to conclude economic, social and security problems. In this approach Pakistan may use China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a bargaining chip. Second, is to adopt a highly strict approach to use military forces for coercing the neighbours to abandon their ambitions. In this approach Pakistan would have to mobilize and deploy forces in the border areas to ensure a sealed border to eliminate the cross-border infiltrations. It would also suppress the illegal-immigrants, smuggling of weapons and narcotics, sabotage activities, especially on the Western Front.
While talking about the Pak Military’s ‘Security Paradigm Shift’ – it is evident that this is temporary as well as permanent, since the three immediate neighbours of Pakistan have been busy in destabilizing it internally as well as externally. India is inciting and enticing Afghanistan and Iran to isolate Pakistan regionally and is developing Chabahar Port in Iran and working extensively on the Dilaram-Zaranj Road in Afghanistan.
The Islamic Military Alliance led by Saudi Arabia is the real bone of contention that is spoiling Pak-Iran relations. The Islamic NATO is being commanded by former COAS Army Gen Raheel Sharif. It met heavy criticism within Pakistan but it would establish Pakistan’s decisive role in eliminating terrorism and its supremacy over the rest of Islamic world. It is purely aimed to cut down terrorism and to destroy terrorist elements. It is also speculated by many that this alliance is actually formed for safety and security of Saudi Arabia alone.
On the other hand, Iran seems pretty much fearful of the Islamic Military Alliance. Isn’t it the fact that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) or in other words the centre of gravity of Iranian politics and security apparatus; is fuelling the non-state actors such as Hezbollah with arms, logistic supplies and training? Consequently these Iranian-backed terror organizations are responsible for destabilizing the Middle East. It is a historical fact that before the 1979 Iranian Revolution and IRGC, South Asia was free from sectarian-violence. The December 1979 Siege of Makkah was in fact carried out by the IRGC inspired and motivated university students. It is a reality that U.S. President Jimmy Carter failed to react in response to the Iranian Revolution and the removal of the Shah Dynasty. The violence and bloodshed carried out by IRGC is still remembered as a black era in modern Iranian history.
It is an open secret that India is using Iran and Afghanistan as mules to conduct sabotage, terrorism and violence in Pakistan and they have been acting as vehicles to propagate and execute New Delhi’s terror filled operations. Islamabad has never harboured Jandullah or any other militant organization but the brutal tactics of IRGC have caused its own people to rebel against the theocratic state. The Kulbhusan episode makes it clear that Iran is collaborating with India to destabilize Pakistan, especially in Baluchistan to fake and fade the Gwadar Port in favour of its Chabahar Port which is jointly developed by India and Iran. The venom-filled Afghan leadership will continue to harm the interests of Pakistan since perhaps President Ghani and CEO Abdullah have been in a secret alliance with India. They have forgotten that Pakistan rendered them hospitality, fought the war for the survival of Afghanistan and is still harbouring Afghan refugees for almost half a century.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Pakistan have to break the Tehran-Kabul-New Delhi legion, since these countries are fearful of the growing regional and international influence of Pakistan. These countries have been doing such things out of their desperation and anxiety. According to a journal Foreign Policy, Pakistan is winning its war against terrorism in a remarkable manner and it can be deduced that this huge success is perhaps indigestible for the virulent neighbours of Pakistan. Islamabad has tremendously sustained the wounds of terrorism and is determined to move forward despite numerous problems. The Muslim brethren of Pakistan acting against it – exhibits that realpolitik and Machiavellian ideas are actually dominating international relations.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.