Sovereignty comes with self-respect

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Zaheer Bhatti

THROUGH SURA Alhajr Aayet No.5, God Almighty has clearly said that “before decimating any human clan, he has always given a grace period to mend their ways.” It appears to me that the so ordained period for my Country is fast coming to a close if our rulers continue on the path of self-destruction and myopic personal gains in the name of national reconciliation continually ignoring unequal treatment to smaller entities of the Federation. It was ZA Bhutto, who instead of being chastened by the East Pakistan debacle, mounted a military campaign against what he termed insurgency in Balochistan. Zia ul Haq’s attempt at presenting an olive branch to the waylaid was nullified by Musharraf’s murder of Akbar Bugti, providing Pakistan’s adversaries with an opportunity to aid, abet and inflame more vulnerable among them.
One has yet to come to terms with the shameful let off and safe passage to the infamous CIA Intelligence sleuth Raymond Davis fashioned as a security contractor, on the pretext of pardon by the survivors of the two youth shot dead in broad daylight in Lahore, the heart of Pakistan’s populous Punjab Province, while all entities and institutions of the country which matter acted like in a banana Republic in the Osama episode and have a lot to answer to the nation. It is rank impropriety if not facelessness that both the Foreign Office and the Information Minister should have termed the Osama episode as a thing of the past rather than explain Govt’s abject failure to guard its sovereignty besides clearing itself of any insinuated collusion in safe-housing Bin Laden in Abbotabad.
With CIA, RAW and now NDS having a field day in Pakistan making inroads at will, it is laughable to see Pakistani leadership holding out warnings and reiterating Pakistan’s resolve not to allow or tolerate any incursions into its territory. In the case of Raymond Davis, the let off was stage-managed despite the international press providing abundant testimony to the dubious task assigned to the American conman, the likes of whom still abound the Pakistani landmass. To cap it, Cameron Munter, another CIA operative in his capacity as America’s Ambassador had the cheek to ask Pakistan to decide whether it was with the US against terrorism, while concurrently meddling directly in Pakistani Balochistan by voicing its concern over human rights violations in the Province.
Looking itself in the mirror, the US needs to mend fences with Pakistan by first making good over 120 billion dollars opportunity loss as a consequence of its destabilized economy due to a forced war on non-existent terror in the region until then. It also needs to pay damages to the survivors for its Salalah check-post unprovoked intrusion slaying 24 Pakistani soldiers, and not merely suffice in admitting it as a mistake. But did Pakistan formally lodge a protest against violation of its sovereignty and summoned the US Ambassador and sought apology under the relevant diplomatic provisions? The answer is a sad ‘NO.’ Next; why did it not lodge a written protest with UN Secretary General against violation of its borders by foreign troops?
As for Osama Bin Laden, if the Americans actually got him in Abbotabad, the common question why despite being unarmed was he not taken alive, and what was the hurry in consigning him to the deep sea before letting the world see and testify rather than leave no evidence for the remains of such a high profile target to be cross-checked remains unanswered. Or is it that the Iranian Intelligence Chief’s assertion that Osama had died long before due to illness, or the US declaration soon after Bush’s return to office that Osama had been killed during the Tora Bora bombardment, was the real fact.
But the more one looks into this apparently abominable and yet unbelievable security lapse in the Osama episode, it raises huge question marks on the ability of Pakistan’s Defence Establishment at that time besides the Memogate issue, and now the Dawn Leaks, which have all sought to put Pakistani Army and ISI on the spot. The end game for the US in this region after a decade long misadventure leaving it badly bruised is not to pack up from the region but to prevent further losses by staging a face saving exit and leaving behind Indian proxy in Afghanistan as a counterweight to Chinese and Pakistani influence. This is why the US during the present impasse, rather than doing anything to allay Pakistani reservations, has re-emphasized that Pakistan work together with India.
With the Pakistani political leadership gamely pliant to its wishes and edicts, the US has found the Armed Forces of Pakistan and its intelligence Wing the ISI increasingly resistant to the fulfillment of their designs, particularly since the Raymond Davis Episode where the quid pro quo to his release, was to be immediate reduction in the number of CIA operatives in Pakistan, logging of the remainder along with their job and mission in the country, and trial of Raymond back in the US that John Kerry had publicly committed. Except for a few CIA operatives nominally repatriated, nothing of substance has since happened. No action was ever pursued against Raymond Davis who instead is believed to have resumed his covert activities in full force, while US expresses ignorance of whereabouts of most of CIA operatives who were reported missing.
And as soon as Pakistan’s then Army Chief declared that Pakistan would not compromise on its dignity and self-respect over promises of monetary assistance, pat came the American response in the shape of the Osama escapade staged within 24 hours of the warning. Make what you wish of this, but sovereignty is a commodity not achieved by mere rhetoric but with meaningful response as being presently delivered back to India over its fiddling within Pakistan, over the LoC and recognized borders.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.
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