Dr Huma Baqai
THE Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a leading British think tank, has titled Pakistan’s push back to the United States as the “Bajwa Doctrine.” In fact, it says, the doctrine is biting back hard against threats issued by the American Administration. It also says Pakistan appears far more confident than it was in the past. The observations made by many, were confirmed by RUSI, saying that the American policy towards Pakistan is just a repetition of what was initiated during George W. Bush times and revolves around making the same kind of threats. Pakistan, after a long time, has very categorically stated that it has done its best and its time the world did more. Pakistan is also now adamant that time for American threats and directives is over. It is prepared to face cuts in the US military aid and counter potential threats of cross border incursions by American forces.
The thrust of the doctrine is that the effort Pakistan military has put in since 2001 to counter terrorism on its soil and in the region must be both appreciated and recognized. The repute of Pakistan is not at stake anymore, it has changed for the better and Pakistan military has worked very hard and given a lot of sacrifice to make it happen. 2018, America needs Pakistan and not the other way round. The American establishment knows US forces cannot survive in the land locked Afghanistan, without Pakistan’s active support. The myth of Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation is challenged, with Turkish, Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers public support for Pakistan’s counter terrorism efforts. Pakistan has supported US for seven decades, the relationship has swung between being the most sanctioned ally to a non-NATO ally. Post 9/11, Pakistan helped US more than any of its NATO allies. The reward unfortunately is public humiliation now and then. President Trump’s tweak was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The new thinking in Pakistan is, it’s time to change the equation. The message from Pakistan is loud and clear. The army has restored Pakistan’s stability. Afghanistan’s stability is the responsibility of Afghan government and US forces.
Seventeen US intelligence have warned congress that Pakistan will continue to slip out of American influence and into China’s Orbit in 2019, and will become a threat to US interest in the South Asian region. The review is part of an annual report that Director of US National Intelligence Daniel R. Coats presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The agencies that jointly produced this report include Central Intelligence Agency, Defence Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency.
The report is frozen in time, it continues to harp on the themes of nuclear weapons, ties to militants, Pakistan drawing closer to China and tensions with India compounded with Pakistan’s economic vulnerability. It seems US is incapable of digesting the change Pakistan is undergoing. The latest is US resolution to place Pakistan on a global terrorist-financing watch list by the Financial Action Task Force, a measure that Pakistan fears could hurt its economy. The Bajwa Doctrine will not come without cost. More recently, General Qamar Bajwa in the Munich Security Conference, Germany, gave a soldier view of what Pakistan has done, which includes Pakistan defeating al-Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban and other outlawed militant groups, and he also said that no organized militant camps exist on Pakistani soil today. More than 35,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives in the war against terrorism and over 48,000 are critically wounded or disabled whereas the financial cost is exceeding US $250 billion which is shared fractionally by the global partners. Interestingly, out of the last 131 terrorist attacks in the border areas of Pakistan, in 2017, 123 were conceived, planned and executed from Afghanistan. 89 percent of Pakistanis in a recent Pew global opinion poll said that violence against civilians in the name of Islam was never justified. This is the new Pakistan. There are positive changes taking place in Pakistan that need to be recognized and embraced. US attitude and policy towards Pakistan is not responsive to the new changes taking place on the ground which include Pakistan’s desire to be a geo-economic state.
This, in itself, is a major paradigm shift. The economic objective that Pakistan has set for itself has direct stakes for peace and stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan, improved relations with Iran and Russia, in fact even India. Pakistan is fast becoming a country investing in the politics of economy of growth, regional integration and peace. Pakistan energies are now geared towards neutralising all conflicts inside its territory and improving relations with its neighbors to cultivate the atmosphere of peace. Pakistan exercises restrain in its response to US, India and Afghanistan, the resolve to exercise this restrain is tested every day.
— The writer is Associate Professor, Dept of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts at IBA Karachi.
Dr Huma Baqai