Dr Muhammad Khan
According to 2017 report of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI), there has been remarkable
decline in the incidents of terrorism-related violence in Pakistan. The report clearly reflects that, “Pakistan also recorded a decrease in the number of people killed by terrorism with a 12% reduction to 956 deaths. This is the lowest number of deaths since 2006.” This has been done owing to military operations ever since 2010 and particularly after Operation Zarb e Azb. Global Terrorism Index has been collecting and disseminating global trends in terrorism since 2001.
As per factsheet, issued by Pakistan towards end of 2017, approximately 74,000 people were killed from 2003 to 2017, during counterterrorism operations by Pakistani security forces. Besides this human loss, there have been huge economic losses amounting to $123 billion apart from sizable reduction in foreign direct investment.
Despite this universal acceptability and recognition of Pakistani sacrifices, if United States is asking for more, then there is something wrong with White House and Pentagon. While US ask Pakistan to do more, the Pentagon and CIA have this factsheet of Pakistani sufferings and sacrifices. But, all is done for building pressure on Pakistan, forcing it to submit in front of US demands and Indian desires. For this purpose, India is spending billions of USDs for lobbing against Pakistan and convincing US authorities to mount pressure on Pakistan. In this campaign of defaming Pakistan, U.S and India join hands at all level; regional as well as at global level. They even hire literate people of Pakistani origin in US like Hussain Haqqani.
In this connection, on such conference was organised in London in October 2017 under the banner of South Asians Against Terrorism and for Human Rights (SAATH). It was co-hosted by former Pakistani Ambassodar to US Hussain Haqqani and Dr Mohammad Taqi, a US based columnist. Entitled as, ‘Pakistan: The Way Forward’ the conference participants included; ‘prominent liberal, progressive and nationalist intellectuals, human rights and social media activists and public figures from Pakistan and elsewhere.’ This conference was second in this series (first was arranged in 2016) under the coverage of SAATH.
The main theme, which remained the focus of conference was, “ The widening circle of repression of critical, dissenting voices to the state’s narrative have led to shrinking space for liberal, secular, progressive ideas and pluralism” in Pakistan. Furthermore, it also focused on the issues like; threats to democracy, threats to the sub-nationalists in various provinces, primarily the Province of Balochistan. In the conference, there was showing of vehemence that, there is a victimisation of human right activists and NGO working on various projects. While developing this theme, the architects of the conference had chosen areas which were saleable to international community without any evidence.
Hussain Haqqani is known for his anti-Pakistan and anti-military campaigns in US and west. He proudly take the credit of writing US South Asian Policy (Afghan policy), announced by President Trump on August 21, 2017. The policy was nothing else but promoting Indian interests and its hegemony in South Asia and keeping Pakistan under pressure. Practically, Pakistan is a liberal state with a moderate and secular character.
Except the militants and terrorists groups which constitutes less than 0.5 % of its population, may have a radical mind set. The Government machinery and the masses have extreme soft and accommodating culture. Therefore, grilling Pakistan for the above mentioned indicators is unfounded. This speaks of biases towards Pakistan at Washington and other western capitals.
Like other states in the international system, the State of Pakistan is a reality. Since all states pursue and safeguard their interests, therefore, Pakistan has to ensure its sovereignty and integrity without allowing anti-state forces to overwhelm the state and its apparatus. Should Pakistan allow few hundred people in Balochistan to disintegrate Pakistan? Should it allow the NGOs to promote their own narratives which generally run against the state and society of Pakistan? Which state in the world allows such activities in its territory?
Democracy is the future of Pakistan; therefore, there is an open space for the democratic forces to play a part. However, there has to be democracy with in the political parties, allowing all to be its part. Dictatorship or authoritarian class within political parties, in fact stops growth of democratic culture in Pakistan. Under the current political set up, all political parties are owned and controlled by few families and individuals. There is no democratic culture in Pakistan. Then, an inept and a corrupt lot of politicians are at the dictating terms.
Indeed, the waves of terrorism and radicalism, Pakistan experienced in last two decades is not home-grown, but has been the outcome of international power play, started with Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The net beneficiary has the US and West, after defeating the USSR. The sufferer has been Pakistan. Today, Pakistani Armed forces have defeated the terrorist forces and consolidating the gains through operations like Raad ul Fassad.
The propaganda campaign like the SAATH is indeed aim at defaming and discrediting Pakistan and its military. People like Hussain Haqqani are acting as tools, where Washington and New Delhi understand that if such people are not loyal to their parent country, how they can be loyal to US and India. In order to counter such propaganda, there is a need for proactive diplomacy by huge diplomatic corps of Pakistan, deployed in all international capitals, using huge sums of tax payers’ money. After all, Hussain Haqqani was also a diplomat.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.