NEWS & VIEWS
EViERY independent and soveregn country formulates its foreign policy keeping in view its security environment. But when two countries form a nexus or alliance against another country then it is a cause for alarm for the targeted country and India-US nexus against Pakistan is a case in point where their interests converge. The US wanted to neutralise Pakistan’s nukes, whereas India wanted to make Pakistan irrelevant in South Asia by weakening it so that it forgets about Kashmir. Anyhow, India’s foreign policy of subterfuge has been successful because it derived benefits from Soviet Union and the US by maintaining the posture of a non-aligned nation. On the other hand, Pakistan consistently remained an ally of the US and the West despite the fact that people of Pakistan opposed their policies, be it Suez crisis of 1950s, Arab-Israel war of 1960s or attack on Afghanistan or Iraq after 9/11 events.
Yet, the US presidents mollycoddled India, and gave Pakistan a rough deal. From president Clinton to president George Bush to president Obama, Pakistan was seen as a problem for Afghanistan rather than a solution to the problem. However, Trump has been harsher in his statements as compared with his predecessors. The reasons are not far to seek; as the US wants to benefit from large Indian market of more than 1200 million people. Secondly, the US intends to use India to contain China. Of course, India has developed strong lobbies in the Congress, think tanks and other institutions. But Pakistan could not effectively counter Indian propaganda due to Foreign Office’s lack of initiative and failure of the government to engage strong lobbyists.
It is because of India’s intrigues and manoeuvres and support of the US and the West that detractors of Pakistan are coming closer. Last week, Altaf Hussain, exiled leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement London, held talks with anti-Pakistan US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and exiled Baloch leader Khan of Qalat at the MQM’s International Secretariat, and vowed to work together for the ‘common cause’.
In a statement, the MQM said Altaf Hussain briefed the US lawmaker about alleged human rights violations and arrests of MQM workers in Karachi. Members of MQM’s Rabita Committee also attended the meeting. According to a national daily’s report, MQM spokesman said the US Congressman expressed his sorrow over the rights abuses and assured the MQM leader that he would take up his party’s case at the US congress and other forums. MQM-London made overtures to exiled Baloch factions and expressed its desire to work with them. Since MQM and Baloch leaders of Karachi remained at daggers drawn for over three decades; no leading Baloch group replied affirmatively.
Mehran Baloch, exiled Baloch leader who campaigns at the UN level, has said that MQM during its tenures in the government was involved in actions against Baloch living in Karachi and discriminated against them. However, MQM-London has been able to cultivate relationship with Khan of Qalat who sought asylum in the UK. The Khan of Qalat previously had interaction with Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher and Ted Poe against Pakistan and held events in London. The objective of international intriguers and anti-Pakistan elements was to destabilize the province by promoting acrimonious sense of dissent, sectarian violence and stirring sentiments of separatism. Balochistan is resource-rich province of Pakistan, and foreign elements are eying its mineral reserves including gas, coal and gold. Geopolitical location of Balochistan also makes it significant for international business and trade, thereby enticing the concerned world powers to design Balochistan-specific great game.
In the past, BLA and Khan of Kalat had planned to take the Balochistan issue to International Court of Justice (ICJ) and expected India to pay $2.4 million lawyers’ fee to contest the case in ICJ. However, India’s refusal led BLA and Khan of Kalat to approach US congressmen. In February 2012, 3 Republican Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert and Steve King tabled a bill before US Congress stating: “Balochistan is currently divided between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan with no sovereign rights of its own. In Pakistani Balochistan people are subjected to violence and extrajudicial killing. The bill favoured Baloch rights of self-determination, having a sovereign state and must be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.” Similarly hearings convened by Senator Rohrabacher and Col (R) Ralph Peters at ‘US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on extrajudicial killings and human rights violation in Baluchistan’, had shocked Pakistan.
US government had then quickly distanced itself from Congressional hearing by Rohrabacher and Peter’s testimony. The US government spokesman had said: “The US government does not subscribe to the views of the Congressmen.” In September, 2016, US lawmakers Ted Poe and Dana Rohrabacher had moved a bill in the Congress seeking designation of Pakistan as a “state that sponsors terrorism”. The bill titled ‘The Pakistan state sponsor of terrorism designation act’ termed the country an untrustworthy ally which has also aided and abetted enemies of the US for years. Senator McCain had then emphasized that the legislation should not be seen as a deterioration of the US-Pakistan relations since the sponsors of the resolution were a small minority within the Senate. Such assurances besides, one could see that despite Pakistan’s sacrifices in men and material while fighting terrorism, the US continues to ask Pakistan to do more, whereas it has all praise for India, which was obvious from President Trump’s speech at Virginia.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.
NEWS & VIEWS