Dr Muhammad Khan
Two significant statements about the Pak-US relationship have surfaced from US this week. The future Pentagon boss; US Defence Secretary-designate, General (retd) James Mattis, promised incentivising Pakistan, provided Pakistan follow the American dictates; do more for the security of Afghanistan and safeguard the US national interests in the region. He said while responding the questions from Senate Committee, that, “If confirmed, I will work with the State Department and the Congress to incentivise Pakistan’s cooperation on issues critical to our national interests and the region’s security, with focus on Pakistan’s need to expel or neutralise externally-focused militant groups that operate within its borders.” Indeed, the statement of US Defence Secretary-designate clearly points towards the future American strategy, in fact a revival of the ‘carrot and stick policy’
While the procedure for the confirmation of the Defence Secretary was conducted, the US State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, endorsed the allegations; Kabul had levelled against Pakistan, after Afghanistan was targeted through multiple attacks. After the attacks, Kabul blamed Islamabad that, “the existence of safe havens in FATA allowed terrorists to carry out attacks inside Afghanistan whenever they want.” Whereas, the Kabul regime was direct and blunt in accusing Pakistan, the State Department spokesman was very tactful, while making accusation against Islamabad.
It was through an indirect approach, the US apportions the blame on Pakistan and included some positive words too, about the Pakistani achievements. He said that, though Pakistan “had made some progress and had taken some steps to address these safe havens, but clearly the problem persists.” In a way, it was negation of what Pakistani military has achieved over the years against the menace of terrorism, which US along with forty-eight countries collation could not achieve in one and half decade and withdrew its forces, without meeting a slightest success. Even US and NATO drawdown (leaving 10,000 US Special Forces behind on nine strategic bases) was fully supported by Pak Army, otherwise Taliban would have butchered them, as they did with former Soviet Army in late 1980s.
US military commanders and civilian leadership like John Kerry were full of praise for Pakistan Army, once it supported and cover US and NATO forces drawdown. Then, they were quite appreciative of the major military operations against, Pak Army undertook in almost all agencies of FATA. What has gone wrong now that, there is a restart of the blame game and demand for do more?
In all military operations, Pak Army has operated against the militants indiscriminately, without any biases. Indeed, neither Afghan Taliban nor Haqqani network has any acceptability in Pakistan. They have never served the Pakistani interests, thus, there is no place for any of them. Therefore, Mark Toner’s statement that, “United States continues to urge Pakistan to act against all terrorist groups without any discrimination” is based on ill will and just to second the allegations from Afghanistan, whose leadership is acting as US and Indian puppet. Washington and Kabul should not expect Pakistani security forces fight against militants inside Afghanistan.
If there are bomb blasts and attacks within Afghanistan, how can Pakistan be blamed. Is it not the responsibility of Afghan Security forces to secure Afghan land? Definitely, the “remoteness of the area along Pak Afghan border is an issue, but, Pakistani security forces have proved that, it can tackle any threat and combat any danger through its Grand Military Operation, “Zarb –e- Azb. This operation has proved the worth of Pak Army and there has returned the peace and stability in entire country after the successes of this and related military operations all over the country.
Yes, If there is a problem along Pak-Afghan border, it is on the Afghan side, where RAW and NDS are collectively training, arming and harbouring the militants against Pakistan. These militants of TTP are hiding in safe heveans in Nuristan and other bordering provinces of Ahjnistan and operate against Pakistan, as per dictates of RAW and NDS, which have the backings of their respective Governments. Why cannot General Mattis and Mark Toner see that aspect? He has been Commander of US central Command and commander of US forces in Afghanistan. This mean whatever Afghanistan and India do against Pakistan through their spying networks has acceptability for Pentagon and State Department and Pakistan can be blamed even after doing so much against terrorism and for the global peace. This is unjustified and indeed a discriminatory policy of United States towards Pakistan.
The Foreign Office spokesman of Pakistan, Mr Nafees Zakaria has strongly rejected these US and Afghan allegations. Indeed, Pakistan does not allow usage of its soil against any other country, which is a very clear state policy. In fact, Afghanistan is home of terrorism and extremism and housing all sort of terrorist organizations; the Taliban, The TTP, The Al-Qaeda, Daesh (ISIS) and host of others. How can Pakistan or any other country fight these terrorist outfits within Afghanistan? Mr Zakria said that it is “not appropriate to blame others for the adversities due to the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. The oft repeated claims regarding safe havens are, therefore, more of rhetoric than anything else.” Furthermore, “The activities of Indian spy agency – Research and Analysis Wing – and its nexus with Afghan agency – NDS – remain a matter of deep concern for Pakistan.”
The revival of Carrot and Stick policy of the US should be rejected right from the outset. Pakistan had enough from US in its last seven decades history. Let us not be dictated by U.S anymore and have a relationship based on equality and mutual respect.US has always used Pakistan for the promotion of its national interests, which mostly run counter to national interests of Pakistan. Owing to strong footed Pak-China relationship, US is on defensive and trying to realign with a new strategy, which Pakistani government should not forget is a revival of its old game. Let us not be trapped again. Pakistan has lost over 65,000 people in this global war on terror, besides, suffering over 119 billion USD on economic grounds. Besides, let us talk clearly with Afghanistan on the bilateral issues, the NDS-RAW nexus and about its blame game, which must be stopped now.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.
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