Why only Pak­istan?

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - — The writer works for Pak­istan In­sti­tute for Con­flict and Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, a think- tank based in Islamabad. Reema Shaukat Email: reema. asim81@ gmail. com

UN­DOUBT­EDLY, Pak­istan’s geo- strate­gic lo­ca­tion make it glob­ally sig­nif­i­cant na­tion. Since its in­de­pen­dence it is fac­ing op­po­si­tion of its tra­di­tional ri­val In­dia which still con­tin­ues to at­tack its sovereignty through var­i­ous means. On the other front Pak­istan is fac­ing chal­lenges from Afghan soil. As a broth­erly Mus­lim state Pak­istan ex­tended its help to Afghan refugees dur­ing Rus­sian in­va­sion. Since then huge num­ber of Afghan fam­i­lies have set­tled here and are not ready to go back. One of big af­ter­math of 9/ 11 is es­ca­la­tion in ter­ror­ism. Pak­istan be­ing an Amer­i­can ally suf­fered most in this sce­nario. Not only it had in­fil­tra­tion from bor­der but in­ter­na­tional pres­sures and ques­tions on its se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion caused set­back to var­i­ous de­vel­op­men­tal projects of Pak­istan.

De­spite sup­port to Afghanistan for peace process ini­ti­a­tion in the re­gion and pro­vid­ing it Torkham bor­der, never a sign of ap­pre­ci­a­tion has come from Afghan side for Pak­istan. Rather hu­man and drug traf­fick­ing are on rise apart from easy run­way for mil­i­tants. Proofs of some high pro­file at­tacks showed that ter­ror­ists ap­proached this bor­der to make ac­cess in Pak­istan. Ev­i­dences from ar­rested ter­ror­ists have claimed that Afghan spy­ing net­work- NDS is aid­ing the TTP mil­i­tants for pro­mot­ing ter­ror­ism in Pak­istan. In fact, NDS be­ing men­tor of Tal­iban has strong con­nex­ion with RAW and both en­sure their best to dam­age Pak­istan.

Iran as a Mus­lim coun­try was ex­pected to turn out as best neigh­bour for Pak­istan but un­for­tu­nately both coun­tries have odd re­la­tion­ship. Now In­dia is cashing its busi­ness in Iran by in­vest­ing in Chaba­har Port. Re­cently Afghanistan, Iran and In­dia signed for a mu­tual trade and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment on Chaba­har Port. This trio state move show their in­se­cu­ri­ties against Pak­istan’s mega bil­lion project of CPEC with China. It shows that In­dia wants to chal­lenge its ri­vals China and Pak­istan in South and Cen­tral Asia via Chaba­har. Ar­rest of In­dian spy Kulb­hushan Yadev who was ar­rested in Pak­istani territory while com­ing from Iran shows that Indo Iran nexus is quite strong against Pak­istan. It was just one proof but re­cent killing of Tal­iban leader Mul­lah Akhtar Mansur in a drone strike by US has raised se­ri­ous con­cerns for Pak­istan. Mul­lah Mansur was also tar­geted in Balochis­tan prov­ince while he was com­ing from Iran. Ques­tions arise why USA chose Pak­istani territory to carry out drone strike as it can be car­ried out any­where else too. Se­condly why Balochis­tan has re­mained volatile and was con­sid­ered an easy to tar­get by for­eign el­e­ments. An­swer to these ques­tions is ob­vi­ously clear that there are many coun­tries which do not want Pak­istan to move to­wards pros­per­ity and US def­i­nitely has its own ap­pre­hen­sions from China. Though US sup­ported Pak­istan eco­nom­i­cally dur­ing war against ter­ror­ism but in re­turn US has of­ten acted like strangers on mat­ter of drone strikes and other mil­i­tary deals.

The US also per­ceives In­dia as much stronger wall against China and Pak­istan and be­lieves mak­ing In­dia chal­lenge for both coun­tries through eco­nomic and mil­i­tary means. Re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and US may stretch to­wards stag­na­tion be­cause of cur­rent US mind- set against Pak­istan. It seems that US is push­ing Pak­istan to­wards lone­li­ness in the re­gion to main­tain its ob­jec­tive of supremacy through other neigh­bour­ing coun­tries of Pak­istan. De­spite know­ing that Pak­istan is very se­ri­ous to­wards its ef­forts for peace in Afghanistan as they are di­rectly linked to peace in Pak­istan, USA car­ried out drone strike in Pak­istani territory and killed Tal­iban leader. With­out re­al­is­ing the im­pli­ca­tions of this drone for Paki- stan and tak­ing Pak­istan into con­fi­dence US is adopt­ing cold at­ti­tude. Pak­istan surely needs to de­velop strate­gic think­ing and es­tab­lish its re­la­tions with other South and Cen­tral Asian coun­tries to ex­cel. Solely de­pend­ing on su­per­power and China may not help re­solve its is­sues with its neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

Though Iran has of­fered Pak­istan and China to join on Chaba­har port but why not it halts spon­sor­ing Pak­istan ri­val coun­tries, if it is so sin­cere with Pak­istan. Cer­tainly, Pak­istan has to re­vise and re­for­mu­late its for­eign pol­icy to­wards re­gional and global play­ers to come up as peace hail­ing coun­try. We need to think on lines that why Pak­istan is cho­sen for any tur­bu­lence in the re­gion and cer­tainly an­swer lies in its po­ten­tial of re­source rich­ness and geo strate­gic im­por­tance. There­fore, work on CPEC must be car­ried out with ded­i­ca­tion as fu­ture of Pak­istan is associated with it and con­tro­ver­sies and acts of sab­o­tag­ing this project must be an­swered timely by au­thor­i­ties. Na­tional se­cu­rity risks and chal­lenges must not be ne­glected and ap­par­ent pol­icy of push­ing Pak­istan to­wards lone­li­ness and in­sta­bil­ity by re­gional play­ers be catered on im­me­di­ate ba­sis.

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