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ہفتہ، 28 مئی، 2011

A turning point

Al Qaeda and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan are meticulously implementing their formal declaration of war against Pakistan through a highly organised and well-planned series of attacks. Pakistan`s security forces have to match their effort and overtake them. Any laxness, lapse, lack of responsibility, mistakes and weaknesses should not be tolerated. This is life and death struggle for the soul of Pakistan. The security establishment should come out of their stupor and consider themselves in a state of war and act accordingly.

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After landing in Islamabad, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton met Pakistan’s political and military leaderships jointly, and went out to tell the media that the two countries’ relationship had reached a turning point. Yes, it has; but it can still take a turn to the positive if it is moved forward on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest, not in the mould of master-slave relationship which has been the US style in its conduct vis-à-vis Pakistan so far. If Washington has certain expectations from Islamabad, so is it with Pakistan. It too wants its interests to be taken care of and its concerns to be addressed by America. It can’t be that Washington has only to dictate and Islamabad has only to obey. There has to be a functional mutuality in the relationship, with each side respectful of the other’s interests and alive to its concerns. A one-way traffic it can’t be. Indeed, the time has come that Washington lifts the mask of self-assumed piety from its face and look at its own conduct surgically with objectivity, honesty and truthfulness. Clinton was rightly miffed at mounting anti-Americanism in Pakistan. But she was wrong if she thought it to be some Pakistani officialdom’s handiwork. She must know this public sentiment is not against the American people or against America. Rather, Pakistan’s people hold both in great esteem and America is since long and even now a covetous destination for many a Pakistani. This hostile sentiment is against official America. And no new phenomenon it is, but a deeply-ingrained feeling in the people’s minds for their persistent betrayals by the official America, at times in their crucial moments. A well-read and well-informed leader as she is, she may not be unaware of that long list of betrayals, even though she may understandably not confess to that publicly. But she certainly must be knowing full well how this country was ditched conveniently and remorselessly by the official America when it found no use of it, despite celebrating it as “America’s most allied ally in Asia”, “valued strategic partner”, “non-NATO ally” and what not when it needed it. There is no point in recounting that well known painful history of official America’s self-serving relationship with this country. It is too searing even to recall. But even now when the din of Pakistan playing double game is resounding in American and its allied western halls, it in reality is this country that has become the victim of official America’s double game. While pretending to be Pakistan’s friend, its CIA, together with Afghan CDS spy service and India’s RAW, has admittedly infested Pakistan’s tribal areas and Balochistan to this country great woe.More to the point, the official America is livid that Islamabad is loath of taking on the Afghan Taliban’s Haqqani group that it asserts is based in Pakistan’s tribal North Waziristan agency, in itself a damning commentary on the US-led invaders of Afghanistan. If the group is really there, this speaks of the invaders’ incompetence, if not outright cowardice, to take on the vanquished Taliban’s fleeing rumpus and conveniently letting them sneak into Pakistani territory. After all, there were no Taliban or al-Qaeda anywhere in Pakistan before that invasion. And, if independent reports are any guide, the entire Afghanistan’s east is still under the Haqqani group’s overwhelming sway in spite of the US troop surge, then why should the group be nestling up and operating from outside sanctuaries? But let that pass and come to the official America’s pressing demand on Pakistan to take on the “Haqqani group and their allied al-Qaeda” in North Waziristan. But this is no child’s play. It requires a pacification campaign that would necessarily entail for Pakistan army to draw forces from its eastern border with India. But can Pakistan afford this when just after the American Abbottabad adventurism the Indian army and air force chiefs went public that they too can undertake such strikes on Pakistan and need only their political leadership’s consent? Can indeed Pakistan take this risk when Indian military commanders have been parading military doctrines of two simultaneous wars against Pakistan and China under nuclear overhang, have raised a rapid deployment strike command to take on Pakistan along their Punjab-Rajasthan sector, keep the bulk of their war machine poised against Pakistan and have only recently conducted major military exercises in their Rajasthan sector in this country’s close proximity? The official America has not dissuaded India away from such provocative activities. And yet it expects Pakistan to launch a major offensive in North Waziristan, despite uncertain consequences. The official America must first clean up its own act. The official Pakistan may fall into line with its command. But the people of Pakistan would not. They would react angrily to the government’s great trouble.
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