Surrounded by the crises

877

SIKANDAR NOORANI

RECURRENCE ofterrorist attacksin Quetta, Rawalpindi and Peshawar with a short in terval have sent aloudmessagethat enemies are determined to destabilize Pakistan by targeting the common masses and LEAs. Deadly attack on the mosquein Quetta was acclaimed by ISIS which sufficiently proves that the masterminds are operating from Afghan soil. Such disturbing attacks, claimed by untraceable spokespersons, are frequently taking place in Afghanistan as well. Amid ongoing US-Taliban dialogue sessions, deadly attacks on either sides of Pak-Afghan border are detrimental to already bleak peace probabilities. Political chaos has further increased in Afghanistan after presidential elections which seem less credible due to rigging allegations and low polling percentage. Though, Ashraf Ghani has been declared victor but he could only bag less than two per cent votes. Losers of presidential race, includingAbdullahAbdullah and Gulbadin Hikamatyar, have raised objections against unfair conduct of polling process. Extra delay in initial counting and result compilation process coupled with rigging complaints have further weakened the status ofAfghan government which always faced a credibility crisis while negotiating with the Taliban in the past. Apparently, US will intervene, just like the past, to settle the electoral disputes. This likely arrangement logically compels Afghan Taliban to develop a doubt about the ruling regime that how an obliged president can accord preference to the interests of his countrymen over his guardian, the USA? While demanding immediate departure of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban, always avoided formal dialogue with Afghan government on the plea that ruling regime is illegitimate and absolutely lacks authority. Obviously, such probable arrangements are likely to hinder any expeditious solution of Afghan crisis. This uncertainty on political canvas of Afghanistan and appearance of more hurdles in dialogue process is not a good development for Pakistan. Astable and peacefulAfghanistan will logically enable Pakistan to focus on its economic recovery and repair of internal disorder. Additional pressure on military muscles of Pakistan at western border can only be reduced by rapidly improving the bilateral relations withAfghanistan. This desirable bilateral chemistry cannot be built without eliminating the multiple terrorist groups, that at the moment are, freely operating from Afghan soil against Pakistan. Surviving in present complex scenario is highly tricky and challenging affair. Fluctuating stances and short term policies must be avoided by Islamabad. Conflict of interests, among global and regional players, will never let Pakistan to sail smoothly by taking absolute positions, either in favour or against any stakeholder. India, being traditional adversary, is all set to damage Pakistan for multiple [unjustifiable] reasons including the Kashmir issue. Our growing bondage with China is a permanent source of strategic unrest for USA. This unrest has given birth to Indo-US partnership in South Asian region which is more active in covert means as compared to overt actions. Sane minds will never make a mistake of undermining or ignoring the least talked about effects of Iranian factor on Afghan dynamics. There has been a thin but very covert and rare convergence of interests between Iran and USA in Afghanistan. Many top Afghan leaders have remained in close contact of Iranian hierarchy including Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, the successor of Mullah Umar, who was killed in a drone attack by USA at Pak territory while en-route from Iran to Afghanistan. Russia, the foe from past, joined hands with Afghan Taliban to combat the threat of ISIS which mysteriously appeared in Afghan arena with much probable American support. Major powers, like USA and Russia, always avoid direct military conflict with each other and prefer to strike at each other’s allies by selecting a battleground much away from their main heartlands. A peacefulAfghanistan, free of American troops, is something like granting a free walk to China which is obviously pursuing grand global economic goals. It is difficult to either provoke or directly strike China. Bleeding China indirectly by persistently stabbing, the important South Asian ally, Pakistan is the most probable move from opponent camp. Conflicts spread over regional canvas, having deep involvement of our neighbours, warrant deliberate assessment to avoid deeper damages. Under existing cut throat environment, it is difficult for Pakistan to differentiate between foe and friend. Powers masquerading as allies may hit as an enemy, just to pursue their interests.While being non-strategic ally of the US, Pakistan had to face the embarrassing anguish of Salala attack and 11/11 Abbottabad operation. These embarrassments landed on our head with multiple allegations and diplomatic deceits. Mysterious and meaningful activism of PTM, revolving around linguistic prejudices and hateful propagation against armed forces, has an obvious support from those quarters who are striving hard to destabilize Pakistan. Enemies are striking at Pakistan with weapons of terrorism, linguistic prejudice, anti-army propaganda and sectarian polarization. It is joint responsibility of government and opposition to establish consensus on sensitive national issues as polarization will only serve the purpose of our foes. —The writer is a freelancer who often contributes in national papers