Af­ter­math of Mul­lah Man­sour’s demise

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Mo­ham­mad Jamil Email: mjamil1938@hot­

the Tal­iban leader, with sui­cide and bomb at­tacks”. The state­ment that Mul­lah Man­sour was against peace talks is ab­surd. Fact of the mat­ter is that it was Mul­lah Man­sour who had sent his team to par­tic­i­pate in Mur­ree talks, in which it was de­cided that sub­stan­tive talks would take place in the next round. But that was not to take place.

The peace process was sab­o­taged by Na­tional Direc­torate of Se­cu­rity (NDS), which has many pro-In­dian el­e­ments who were in­ducted dur­ing pres­i­dent Karzai era, by leak­ing the news of Mul­lah Omar’s demise. Another ob­jec­tive was to cre­ate fis­sures in the Tal­iban dur­ing power strug­gle and nam­ing the new leader. Tal­iban com­man­ders who were against peace talks were an­gry, and to ap­pease them and to es­tab­lish his cred­i­bil­ity Mul­lah Man­sour had to halt the peace process. There is a per­cep­tion that the US tar­geted him in Pak­istan in­stead of Iran or Afghanistan or in Dubai or Bahrain. His family re­port­edly re­sides in Iran and he has been fre­quently vis­it­ing Iran. The US also tried to con­vey the im­pres­sion that Pak­istan was on board with a view to cre­at­ing doubts in the minds of the Tal­iban about Pak­istan.

Last but not the least, another ob­jec­tive was to show to the world that Pak­istan pro­vides safe haven to Tal­iban lead­ers. The US is play­ing a dan­ger­ous game in li­ai­son with In­dia and north­ern al­liance el­e­ments, who do not wish to see peace in for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Se­condly, the US wants to keep the pot boil­ing to main­tain pres­ence of its forces in Afghanistan. Finally, North­ern Al­liance lead­ers have over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity in Afghan gov­ern­ment, and they do not wish to share power with the Tal­iban. On the other hand, the US and Afghanistan have been push­ing Pak­istan to do more, de­spite the fact Pak­istan mil­i­tary con­ducted op­er­a­tions in South Waziris­tan and more re­cently in North Waziris­tan and dis­man­tled ter­ror­ist’s in­fra­struc­ture and net­works. They had pinned high hopes on Pak­istan that it would bring the Tal­iban to the ne­go­ti­at­ing table on their con­di­tions.

Pak­istan has been telling them that it does not have the lever­age to force the Tal­iban to ac­cept Afghan gov­ern­ment’s terms and con­di­tions. In fact, even be­fore Pak­istan an­nounced its sup­port for the US-led mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in Afghanistan, Is­lam­abad’s re­la­tions with the Tal­iban gov­ern­ment were strained be­cause of its re­fusal to hand over sev­eral wanted mem­bers of Lashkare-Jhangvi. Dur­ing Mushar­raf era, then Pak­istan’s in­te­rior min­is­ter Gen­eral ® Moeenud­din Haider had gone to Kandahar and re­quested Mul­lah Omer to hand over Riaz Basra to Pak­istan who was al­legedly in­volved in killings of hun­dreds of Shias, in­clud­ing Shia doc­tors, po­lice­men, lawyers, and in killing Ira­nian diplo­mat Sadiq Ganji in 1990, and a deadly at­tack on a gath­er­ing at a Shia ceme­tery in 1998. He was ar­rested in 1992 and sen­tenced to death for killing Ganji, but es­caped from prison in 1994, and later crossed over to Afghanistan.

At the time of in­de­pen­dence, Afghanistan was the only coun­try that voted against Pak­istan’s en­try into the UN. Al­most gov­ern­ments were not will­ing to ac­cept the Du­rand Line as a per­ma­nent bor­der be­tween Pak­istan and Afghanistan; and even Tal­iban gov­ern­ment had taken the same po­si­tion. Any­how, In­dian RAW and Afghanistan’s NDS con­tinue with their pro­pa­ganda cam­paign against Pak­istan. They are con­coct­ing sto­ries to den­i­grate Pak­istan mil­i­tary. One can imag­ine from the news story prompted by Afghan in­tel­li­gence which was aired on “1TV Afghanistan” last month that “Pak­istani Gen­eral was killed in North Afghanistan while fight­ing along with Tal­iban.” Afghanistan’s Na­tional Direc­torate of Se­cu­rity (NDS) staffers do not seem to be aware of the role of a gen­eral in the army. Can any­one in his right sense even imag­ine that a gen­eral of any army, es­pe­cially Pak­istan Army which is sixth largest in the world, would fight on the fore­front in the bat­tle­field?

From the above, one can un­der­stand the level of NDS, RAW and even CIA per­son­nel who are out to de­fame Pak­istan by hook or by crook. From ar­ti­cles and trea­tises by Amer­i­can and west­ern au­thors and opin­ion mak­ers, it is not dif­fi­cult to con­clude that the ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive of the US is to com­pletely neu­tralise Pak­istan’s nu­clear and mis­sile pro­gram with a view to mak­ing Pak­istan sub­servient to In­dia. Pak­istan’s nu­clear as­sets are sub­jected to hos­tile pro­pa­ganda link­ing them with psy­cho­log­i­cally pre­med­i­tated threats to project them un­safe and per­ilous for the re­gion. Pak­istani nu­clear as­sets, of course are un­der safe hands, and any pro­pa­ganda against Pak­istani nukes is based on ill-in­ten­tion and per­ni­cious de­signs. Any­how, Pak­istan’s de­ci­sion to de­velop short-rangelow yield (SRLY) nu­clear weapons is a mea­sured re­ac­tion to In­dian adop­tion of dan­ger­ous nu­clear doc­trine to fight a limited war. —The writer is a se­nior jour­nal­ist based in Lahore.

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