America’s another betrayal
RICHARD Olson, US Special Representative for Afghani stan and Pakistan and Dr Peter Lavoy, Senior Adviser and Director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council called on Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry in Islamabad on Friday. Reportedly, they held discussions on bilateral relations, regional security situation and the Afghan peace process. Some analysts opined that it was a damage limitation exercise after Pak-US relations became strained in the wake of May 21 drone strike in Balochistan that killed Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour. Sartaj Aziz conveyed a strong message to the United States that the strike was not only a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty but also breach of the principles of the United Nation’s Charter. The delegation had reminded Pakistan of safe havens for militants in Pakistan. Thus the blame game continues.
The same day, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, in a meeting with the American delegation led by Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General John Nicholson of the United States Army at GHQ the other day, raised the demand of targeting Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants and their chief Mullah Fazlullah in their hideouts in Afghanistan. He also told the mem- bers of the delegation that action needed to be taken against Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Afghan intelligence agency National Directorate of Security (NDS) and members of other terrorist organisations. On May 18, 2011, exactly 18 days after the Navy Seals had attacked Abbottabad compound and killed Osama bin Laden, Senator John Kerry had visited Pakistan. He seemed to have been assigned with the task of damage-limitation control after the relations between Pakistan the America became strained due to violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Though a section of the press had reported in a manner as if he had come to convey President Obama’s strong message, but it sounded as an effort to keep Pakistan on board by reassuring that no unilateral action would be taken in future. After Raymond Davis episode, relations between Pakistan and the US became strained, but America’s unilateral action had brought the relations between the two countries at the lowest ebb. Pakistan reminds the US off and on that it has always honored its commitments viz-a-viz defence pacts or bilateral agreements, but America has always ditched Pakistan after achieving its objectives every time. President Obama has once again supported India to make it member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and asked other members to support India’s membership of the group.
To make things worse, Pakistan has been asked to take action against those involved in Mumbai attacks and Pathankot terror attack in a joint statement after the meeting between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For quite some time, American government and media have been painting Pakistan in the most ignoble colors and its military in the most humiliating shades. However, it is not just their hubristic arrogance that sets the blood boiling; it is their outpourings’ imperialistic tone that hurts in soul and mind. They talk as if we are their vassal state, where they are the masters and we are the slaves. They do not want Pakistan’s cooperation but total submission and compliance of their orders. But what else one can expect when nation’s elites have over the years been genuflecting before the American adventurists.
Almost all our hierarchs surrendered all their dignity and self-respect to Washington in the past and kept mum over American betrayals. But not the people of this country, as they remember having at least once a close brush of being bombed back into Stone Age by an enraged Soviet Union in early 1960s after its military downed an American U-2 reconnaissance plane flying on its Central Asian Republics. After shooting down the plane, the Soviets encircled Peshawar in bold red and threatened Pakistan of severe consequences. And what we got in return from the US for imperiling our security for their sake? A snap embargo on all US military supplies including spare parts for our military predominantly equipped with the American weaponry, the moment Indo-Pak war broke out in 1965. Verily, people of Pakistan know their American friends more for betrayal than for any fidelity.
A list of betrayals while already very long is now lengthening spectacularly. However, America’s dubious role of propping India through civil nuclear agreement and its refusal to sign similar agreement with Pakistan had irked Pakistan. Since joining the defence pacts with the West and bilateral agreement with the US in 1950s, Pakistan military and Pentagon had developed special relationship, which had continued till 1990s despite differences that emerged during Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Yet, America has been unfair throughout its relations with Pakistan. After using Pakistan as a pawn in their triumphant proxy war against the Soviet invaders in Afghanistan, the Americans repaid us – their much trumpeted strategic partners by slapping all nuclear-related sanctions and bequeathing on us the tinderbox of religious fanaticism. And of course stridency out of which we are desperately struggling to get out. Once again they had coerced Pakistan into joining the war on terror and made it a frontline state.
They had also elevated Pakistan as a Non-NATO ally, but despite all cooperation and sacrifices, Americans distrust Pakistan, and are out to weaken it. Pakistan should not have been blamed for Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbotabad, as he was the CIA’s find and America’s friend. He was inspired along with thousands others to come to Pakistan to participate in Afghan jihad. In fact, that was the first violation of our sovereignty, admittedly due to the flawed policies of inept rulers. Anyhow, more than 140000 US and NATO allies could not rein in the Taliban, and for their failures they continued to accuse Pakistan of supporting the Taliban. In fact, when US and its allies bombed Afghanistan flat and overthrew Taliban government, they declared that they have won the war. But even today, the Taliban have control over large swathes of Afghanistan. —The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.