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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2492

Policy of appeasement and our so-called nuclear deterrence

By Asif Haroon Raja

The two gruesome incidents in Karachi wherein the robbers were subjected to “mob justice” stunned all and sundry. On each occasion the culprits were caught red handed by the people and before the police arrived, they were lynched and torched to death. The wardens of law and order were shocked and condemned the incidents in severest words. They termed the incidents as dangerous and barbaric which in their view must be arrested.

They felt that in the presence of state institutions assigned to deal with criminal activities, resorting to such heinous methods was unacceptable. While the power wielders swore not to allow anyone to take law in his own hands, they do not feel slightest remorse or shame when they bend laws or defy laws with impunity. They have no qualms of conscience that after having bled the nation white and stolen billions from the national kitty they get themselves absolved and once again capture power.

Reportedly the notorious couple stole Rs ninety billion from national kitty and the plunder was pardoned. The fascist party in Karachi which has terrorised the city through its high handed tactics and has promoted the culture of gunny bags has also been let off through NRO. They were not horrified when series of highly tragic suicide cases took place in recent past because of extreme poverty. 40% people living below poverty line does not appal them. It makes one laugh to hear the dual faced affluent class and wardens of law enforcing agencies giving such sermons to those who have got fed up of decayed system in vogue which has utterly failed to protect their honour and lives.

Fed up of ever growing street crimes and listlessness and inertia of police and judiciary, the ones seeking justice ultimately decided to take law in their own hands. There have been many incidents in the past where the victims of vandalism shot dead the accused within the premises of law court or police station after having patiently waited for years and finally concluding that there was no hope of receiving justice. Societal angst having reached a breaking point we are fast reaching the level of anarchy prevalent in Nigeria and Rwanda where it has become a norm for the citizens to deliver mob justice because of jungle law and survival of the fittest. The trend of getting justice in their own way is increasing. A similar incident occurred in Lahore as well. In FATA, the Taliban are dealing with wrongdoers under Islamic laws by either beheading them or stoning them to death. That day may not be far when the wrath of the people falls upon the robber barons sitting in legislatures and high offices who have robbed the nation with both hands and got away with it. They are totally oblivious of the miseries of the downtrodden whose money they have stolen to fatten their purses.

When the American military based in Afghanistan defy international norms and strikes civilian targets inside Pakistan’s territory on mere suspicion and without the information of our government and kill innocent citizens at will, its violations do not evoke any protest from our government. Our leaders either deny the incident or ask the army to take it upon itself or feign ignorance or at best launch a meek protest and then forget about it. USA not only brazenly acknowledges its offensive actions and violation of sovereignty of an independent state but pledge to do it again on availability of actionable intelligence. Similar is the response of our leaders to RAW sponsored acts of sabotage and subversion or for that matter Afghanistan’s RAM involvement in Baluchistan and FATA. They do not even pick up courage to name the perpetrator of crime and hush it up by saying that the possibility of foreign hand cannot be ruled out.

On the contrary any act of sabotage taking place in India or in IHK is promptly lumped on Pakistan before even carrying out preliminary investigations. Likewise all terrorist acts taking place in Afghanistan are pasted on Pakistan based militants. Our leaders instead of contesting their charge promptly acknowledge their allegations and assure them of nabbing the faceless terrorists. Our leaders have also forgotten the conversion of paradise on earth Kashmir having got converted into hell by Indian security forces where over one lackh Kashmiri freedom fighters have been martyred. Ever since we have inked peace accord with India, our leaders have stopped condemning India’s abuse of human rights in occupied Kashmir or communal violence against Indian Muslims in India.

There is no denying the fact that the impotence of our leaders have encouraged outside powers to play about with the integrity of Pakistan. Why is USA not firing Hellfire missiles from its drones based in Iraq in Iran knowing full well that it is providing assistance to Shia resistance groups based in southern Iraq and is maintaining a defiant stance against USA and Israel? Why US troops based in South Korea are not taking any offensive action against North Korea which carried on with its nuclear program despite severe warnings and threats till Washington agreed to accept its demands? Will USA dare fire a missile against a high value target based in China if it receives an actionable intelligence? Would it have dared invade Afghanistan or Iraq if it was in possession of nuclear weapons?

The irony is that Pakistan was much stronger when it was a non-nuclear state but has now become one of the most enfeebled states after acquiring nuclear capability. It maintained its nuclear deterrence as long as Nawaz Sharif was in power or till Musharraf submitted to US pressure after 9/11. Pakistan’s sovereignty was bartered away by making Pakistan a frontline state in US led coalition to fight US war on terror. Under the garb of friendship and doling out economic and military assistance, Americans have neo-colonised Pakistan. They get miffed when ever any peace agreement is signed with the militants but feel happy when we enter into peace agreement with our arch rival India which is stabbing us in the back. They want us to establish normal relations with Israel but do not want us to have any links with our own people which they perceive as terrorists.

We appear to be quite confident that our minimum nuclear deterrence is still credible. We have also stated that there is no need to increase our fighting strength. Notwithstanding that nuclearisation has minimised the chances of war with India and development of cruise missiles have enhanced our strike capability , however, we cannot shut our eyes to India’s continuously increasing defence budget ($35 billion), acquisition of state-of-the-art weapon systems, and also having become a part of US BMD system and a recognised nuclear power. India has now declared that by 2010 it will acquire indigenous anti-nuclear missile capability.

Once India acquires this wherewithal, it is bound to erode our deterrence value. Israel is helping India in acquiring this capability which will seriously undermine our ability to launch our missiles against intended targets in India in case of a conflict. It must also be remembered that it is not the gun but the man behind the gun which matters. Do our NRO washed and American supported leaders have the desired political will and resilience to take the crucial decision of pressing the button when the chips are down? Some say that the nuclear codes had been passed on to Pentagon during 2002 military standoff with India.

Our vulnerability of being dependent on US and European satellites for strategic communication and imagery does not bother us. We are unmindful of the nexus between USA, India, Afghanistan and Israel working against the interests of Pakistan from Kabul. In case of a grand alignment taking place against Pakistan, do we have any means to counter the capability of our adversaries to jam our electronic communication system at a crucial time during war?

Would USA not be providing intimate information about our strategic forces and installations to India? Have our leaders ever thought of the ultimate designs of India as to why it is feverishly building water dams on rivers flowing into Pakistan and in violation of Indus Basin Treaty? It does not worry them that India has made a long-term plan to take control of water flowing into our rivers. Our energy resources are getting scarce and Kalabagh Dam has become absolutely essential for Pakistan’s survival but this vital project has been put away on the plea that its construction would antagonise smaller provinces. Wastage of billions of rupees spent on its technical feasibility does not concern them. Instead of protecting our sovereignty and national interests our leaders are protecting the infamous NRO to hide their ill gotten wealth.

Instead of getting worried about the external threats, our leaders myopically say that there is no threat from outside but the real threat is from inside. We consider our traditional foes as our friends and our own people as enemies. The security forces instead of defending the frontiers have been employed in a futile war on terror and are killing own people since 2003. It not only resulted in lowering the esteem of the army but also inflamed militancy far and wide and today the militants in the north are threatening to takeover the Frontier province. Even now our myopic leaders want to follow US dictated policy of negotiating with pro-government tribals only and have launched a military operation in Bara to earn pats from Washington.

Asif Haroon Raja, is a retired Brig and a defence and political analyst.

- Asian Tribune -

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