What is US up to?

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Ak­bar Jan Mar­wat Email:mar­wat.ak­bar­jan@gmail.com

(MTCR) also gives great ad­van­tage to In­dia in terms of im­port­ing mis­sile tech­nol­ogy form other mem­bers of the Group. Pak­istan’s Ad­vi­sor on For­eign Af­fairs Mr. Sar­taj Aziz ex­pres­sively cau­tioned the US that by ex­pand­ing its co­op­er­a­tion with In­dia, it would up­set the South Asian strate­gic sta­bil­ity. The Ad­vi­sor told a me­dia brief­ing at the For­eign Of­fice that in­creas­ing de­fence co­op­er­a­tion be­tween In­dia and US will dis­turb the re­gional bal­ance in both the con­ven­tional and strate­gic sense.

The Amer­i­can Congress’s re­fusal to al­low the US govt to sell F-16 planes on sub­sidised rates to Pak­istan was also quite grat­ing for Pak­istan. The lat­est prover­bial, last straw on the camels back in present low be­tween the two coun­tries, was dron­ing of Mul­lah Man­soor the Chief of Afghan Tal­iban as he was ap­par­ently in Pak­istani Balochis­tan en-route from Iran.The killing of Mul­lah Man­soor was par­tic­u­larly para­dox­i­cal, as on the one hand the US and Afghan gov­ern­ment wants to ne­go­ti­ate peace with Afghan Tal­iban, and on other hand, they con­tinue to fol­low the pol­icy of killing their lead­ers, which only ex­ac­er­bates the ag­gres­sion of the Afghan Tal­iban.

US is con­tin­u­ously push­ing Pak­istan for tak­ing mil­i­tary ac­tion against the Haqqa­nis. It would be fare to say that dur­ing op­er­a­tion Zarb-e-Azb, the Pak Army took in­dis­crim­i­nate ac­tion against all Tal­iban groups, and as a re­sult all th­ese groups in­clud­ing the Haqqa­nis re­lo­cated across the Du­rand line to Afghanistan. But to es­pe­cially take on the strong­est of the Afghan groups just to please the US and Afghanistan, may not be in the na­tional in­ter­est of Pak­istan. It must be said that the US and Afghanistan in spite of US troops and re­sources, could not do much about the Haqqani group in all th­ese years. The dron­ing of Mul­lah Man­soor on Pak­istani ter­ri­tory seems to be a mea­sure of em­bar­rass­ing and iso­lat­ing Pak­istan by pro­ject­ing it as a sup­porter of ter­ror­ist groups.

Even in the US, some sig­nif­i­cant sec­tions of press are against this US pol­icy, as they fear, that th­ese uni­lat­eral con­ces­sions to In­dia will up­set the strate­gic bal­ance in South Asia. Sen­a­tor Ed Marke and some other con­gress­men are also op­posed to the US grant­ing uni­lat­eral favours to In­dia. It is al­most far­ci­cal to note, that on the one hand the US warns of a nu­clear con­flict in South Asia, but on the other hand it is ac­tively pur­su­ing a nu­clear im­bal­ance by uni­lat­er­ally sup­port­ing In­dia by help­ing it be­come a mem­ber of NSG.

Re­al­iz­ing its un­abashed par­ti­san­ship, per­haps, US sent a high power del­e­ga­tion to Pak­istan only a cou­ple of days ago The del­e­ga­tion com­prised of Dr. Peter Lavoy the Direc­tor of Pak­istan and Afghanistan at the US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, Richard Ol­son Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Afghanistan and Pak­istan and Gen­eral John Ni­chol­son Com­man­der of the res­o­lute sup­port mis­sion in Afghanistan. The del­e­ga­tion first met the Ad­vi­sor of For­eign Af­fairs Mr. Sar­taj Aziz and his team, and later on called on Gen­eral Ra­heel Sharif in GHQ.

It seems that the Pak­istani sides, both civil­ians and mil­i­tary, showed some real as­sertive­ness, per­haps, for the first time while deal­ing with the Amer­i­cans. The Amer­i­cans typ­i­cal grouse was that Pak­istan was not do­ing enough against the Haqqani net­work, and was let­ting Tal­iban lead­ers roam freely on Pak­istan’s soil, as was the case with Mul­lah Akhter Man­soor. The Pak­istani side led by Mr. Sar­taj Aziz very clearly told the Amer­i­can side that by tar­get­ing Man­soor the US not only vi­o­lated Pak­istani sovereignty and United Na­tions’ char­ter, but also dealt a very dam­ag­ing blow to the Afghan Peace talks re­cently be­ing held un­der the aus­pices of QCG.

Gen­eral Ra­heel Sharif told the Amer­i­can del­e­ga­tion that ‘cen­sur­ing Pak­istan for Afghanistan’s se­cu­rity woes was wrong’. He asked that a com­pre­hen­sive view of the sit­u­a­tion should be taken, tak­ing into ac­count the ‘por­ous bor­der, in­ter-tribal link­ages and decades old pres­ence of over 3 mil­lion Afghan refugees in Pak­istan’. Gen­eral Ra­heel fur­ther asked the US del­e­ga­tion, to take ac­tion against TTP and es­pe­cially its com­man­der Mul­lah Fa­zlul­lah.

The real rea­son for the Amer­i­can pique with Pak­istan may be Pak­istan’s en­thu­si­as­tic part­ner­ship in CPEC, with China. The US, some­how, feels threat­ened and in­se­cure by the Pak-China Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor.

But the very in­tractable Afghan crises are not likely to be solved by such shenani­gans. A sin­cere ef­fort by Pak­istan, Afghanistan, USA and the re­gional pow­ers like China, In­dia and Iran is re­quired to curb this men­ace of re­li­gious ex­trem­ism turned into rad­i­cal­iza­tion. If men­ace is not stopped in its tracks, it will not knock at Pak­istan and Afghanistan’s door only, but would en­gulf whole re­gion. — The writer is author, cit­i­zen jour­nal­ist and en­tre­pre­neur based in Islamabad.

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