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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2705

Double game of our adversaries

By Asif Haroon Raja

Today the sole super power finds itself stuck in the quagmires of Iraq and Afghanistan from where it cannot exit. Had USA been able to subdue any of the occupied countries, Syria might have been axed by now. This is notwithstanding that Iran remains US-Israeli most sought prey. Although USA has for all practical purposes lost the war but egoism refrains Bush to admit it. He and his team of neo-cons are too proud of US military might and still believes that everything is achievable through use of force. While they are putting up a brave front and continue to live in world of fancy that USA is winning the war on terror and express their resolve to taking it to its logical end, the ground realty speaks otherwise. Having spent huge amounts and used massive force killing millions, it has utterly failed to subdue the few thousand ragtag Muslim militants fighting under colossal logistical, technical and operational constraints for the last seven years.

The Republican regime led by Bush has come under extreme censure of the Americans since their falsehood to justify Iraq invasion has been fully exposed. Despite using massive force and killing about million Iraqis, injuring another million and displacing millions the country has not been tamed. Over 4000 American soldiers have lost their lives and 30,000 wounded and their prestige shattered. The army has got afflicted with physiological and mental ailments and incidents of suicide are rising. Americans want US troop withdrawal from Iraq at the earliest. Suffering from acute frustration and humiliation, the US leadership is in a terrible mood. To cover up their failing, crisis in Lebanon were created which to their bad luck backfired and the Israeli forces had to suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of Hizbollah. Iranian nuclear threat was then blown out of all proportions as yet another distracting maneuver to deflect the attention of the home audience from its failings in countries of occupation.

Failure to apprehend Osama, Zahawari and Mullah Omar despite world wide hunt organised by CIA has exasperated the American leadership. Time for Bush led Republicans is fast running out and barely three months are left for elections. Republican regime has not been able to show any notable achievement in its second term, be it economy, war on terror or foreign policy and has earned a bad name. Having almost lost war in Iraq, it is seriously thinking of withdrawing its forces and consolidating its front in Afghanistan where the security situation is far from satisfactory. However, the Republicans are desperate to show some good work to be able to swing the polls results in favour of its candidate McCain. It would upturn their fortunes if they succeed in getting hold of Osama, or denuclearising Pakistan without resorting to invasion. It is in this context that America has focussed its entire attention towards FATA which under a calculated media campaign has been projected as the breeding ground for terrorists from where terrorists and suicide bombers are trained and launched. It has also been declared as a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban including its top leadership.

Pakistan which has taken the main burden of war on terror and is the chief victim of terrorism has been picked up as a whipping boy. Pakistan has a history of receiving whips without a whimper. India, Afghanistan and America have banded together to deliver lashes to hapless Pakistan jointly and in a coordinated manner. The trio duly aided by Israel never finds itself short of excuses to bash Pakistan. The tools to beat with vary and range from human rights, women rights, child labor, nuclear proliferation, state terrorism, drug peddling, religious extremism, cross border terrorism, linkage with terrorists, rogue elements within the army, lack of democracy etc. Besides the instruments of coercion in its armory, USA also has several carrots in the form of IMF, World Bank and other financial institutions. These are means to neo-colonize third world countries by lending interest based debt. Pakistan too was lured to receive debt from IMF in eighties as a result of which it is now shackled in a debt trap of over $45 billion which it is unable to repay. It even finds hard to pay the annual debt servicing which runs into millions of dollars.

Although Pakistan has all along maintained friendly relations with USA and at one time was seen as the most allied ally of USA, yet it has been put under US sanctions more than any other country in the world. It was put under sanctions during 1965 war, then in mid 1971, in 1979, in October 1990, in May 1998, in October 1999 and in November 2007. A very heavy price was extracted from Pakistan whenever US assistance was provided. USA has a history of leaving Pakistan in a lurch whenever its support was needed the most. After 9/11 when Bush extended a hand of friendship, he assured Musharraf that USA would not ditch Pakistan and would strive to build people to people mutually sustaining lasting friendship. However, in actuality it continued to build strategic relationship with India at the cost of Pakistan. It inked ten-year defence deal and tens of lucrative economic agreements including a civilian nuclear deal with India but extended no such facility to Pakistan.

Instead of feeling grateful for the services rendered by our army in making the task of US-Nato troops in Afghanistan easier, Bush Administration began to express its unhappiness over army’s performance and kept pushing Musharraf to do more. It wanted the army to go berserk and eliminate all militants unmindful of casualties and sufferings of the peaceful citizens of FATA. Controlled operations followed by peace deals were scoffed at and it was said that the army didn’t have heart to confront the militants. The purpose behind it was to make the army inextricably involved in the cauldron of FATA and create permanent enmity between the tribals and army.

While urging the army to do more, CIA and RAW on the quiet kept playing a dual game by supporting and stoking anti-army elements in FATA. Missiles fired by predators were aimed at disrupting peace deals with the militants. To further foment trouble, RAW began to train, equip and launch terrorists into Baluchistan, Fata and settled districts of NWFP from training camps established in Afghanistan in a big way. Several nationalist groups were instigated in Gilgit to seek an independent state. CIA and FBI elements already present in Pakistan since late 2001 helped RAW agents to find their way and cultivate dissidents from within the troubled spots. Military bases provided to US troops in Baluchistan and along our coastal belt were made use of to destabilize Iran and Baluchistan. RAW had earlier on played this game from 1968 to 1971 against former East Pakistan and then from 1980 to 1990 against Pakistan in alliance with KGB and KHAD. This time RAM, Mossad and MI-6 is providing backup support.

After pasting charges of religious extremism, cross border terrorism, human rights violations in Baluchistan and nuclear proliferation, the army and Frontier Corps were maligned under a well planned agenda. It was alleged that certain elements within these organizations had a soft corner for the militants and were in league with them. After exerting pressure, Musharraf was forced by USA to purge the ISI and our nuclear set ups of all conservative elements and those involved in Afghan and Kashmir Jihad so that penetration into sensitive organisations was made easier. The latest in the firing line is ISI which has been accused of maintaining secret links with Afghan and local Taliban and playing a double game. It was alleged that the ISI train and launch militants across the border to destabilize Afghanistan. It was accused of having a hand in 7 July suicide attack on Indian embassy in Kabul. Admiral Mullen and Stephen Kappes on their visit to Islamabad on 12 July revealed ISI’s links with Jalaluddin Haqqani based in Khost. They impressed upon the CJSC and COAS to take immediate remedial steps to control ISI or else suffer the consequences.

This harsh message which was delivered at a time when Gilani was preparing for his maiden visit to Washington put the regime in a spin. None noted as to why such a sudden change of heart about ISI took place with which the CIA had maintained exceptionally close relations for a very long time. The change occurred after power shifted from presidency to the parliament and ISI came under the PM and new COAS. It appears that the ISI of late has started to take preventive measures after learning about CIA’s deep involvement in Baluchistan, FATA and Swat which has vexed the plot makers. Having hatched a gory plan to destabilize and denuclearize Pakistan, our adversaries’ want the sheep put on the chopping block not to thwart their designs or to even bleat.

The new government however has its own weaknesses since its top leadership is tied to NRO brokered by USA. In his bid to defuse the tense situation Gilani blurted out some statements in quick succession. He reiterated Bush’s apprehensions that 9/11 like incident could recur from FATA. He also reconfirmed presence of foreign terrorists in the tribal belt as had been alleged by USA. He resolved to keep fighting the militants and added that war on terror was “Pakistan’s own war”. He pledged not to negotiate with militants who refused to surrender arms. As a follow up of his verbal assurances, he gave a go ahead to launch military operations in Hangu, Swat and Bajaur in stages soon after finishing one in Khyber Agency. Failing to appease the fuming US leadership, a notification was hurriedly issued on 26 July placing ISI and IB under Ministry of Interior.

As a chosen democratic leader of the nation, it was not expected of Gilani to become apologetic and go out of the way to appease Americans. He was expected to shun Musharraf’s submissiveness and forthrightly tell Bush of the perverse role played by CIA-RAW-RAM-Mossad combine to destabilize Pakistan. He should have expressed his serious concern over the US drone attack in FATA on the day he was to meet Bush and should have informed his host that in future violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty would no more be tolerated and that he should stop lending his ears to baseless accusations leveled by its chief protagonist India and must not blackmail Pakistan. Concerning hackneyed “do more mantra”, he should have told him the army was already performing more than enough, and that it was NATO led ISAF that needed to do more in Afghanistan where things have gone haywire.

About US concerns over the ISI, he should have been told that if other spy agencies are leaving no stone unturned to create chaos and anarchy in Pakistan, why should they expect the ISI to hibernate and lay eggs or perform only US dictated tasks. He should have reminded him that it is CIA which is playing a double game and not ISI. He should have conveyed the fears of Pakistanis that their nuclear weapons would be stolen by USA and not by our so-called extremist forces. He should have had the moral fiber to tell him that all charges leveled against Pakistan from time to time are in actuality applicable to USA, Israel and India. They are the biggest violators of crimes for which Pakistan is accused of. List of their crimes against humanity and their dual standards is too long to narrate.

The Tehrik-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) is on hit list of CIA and RAW because unlike dissident Baloch Sardars and their followers, it hasn’t sought their help against Pak army and is single-handedly fighting its battle on two fronts. Threat of Talibanistan (a twisted name of Islamisation) is being overplayed. It is a continuation of efforts of adversaries of Islam to divide Muslims. Fundamentalism, Islamic extremism, terrorism were coined with the same objective. Al-Qaeda was never heard of before 9/11 but now it has become the most notorious organisation the details of which are unknown. Resultantly, secular rulers of Muslim countries parrot US themes by asserting that the biggest threat posed to them is from extremist Muslims. Ironically, Baitullah and Fazlullah and several others desperately wanted by Pakistan security forces have escaped the hawk eye of USA, particularly after they have been seen giving detailed interviews to media? ISI had once given six figure coordinates of Baitullah and yet no Hellfire missile was fired on his hideout by CIA. It seems the duo is playing a double game with TTP as well.

The MQM at the behest of its foreign mentors has raised alarm bells that its exclusive domain Karachi is under threat of Talibanisation. Altaf is keen that the government should launch a clean up operation in Karachi to clear it of all religious elements. He had sought provincial support to eliminate MQM Haqiqi in end 2002 and was heeded to by his chief patron Musharraf. MQM’s crimes on 12 May 2007 and 9 April 2008 were hushed by Musharraf. He has issued directives to MQM activists to procure weapons and start combat training to confront the Taliban. It is a sinister plan to destabilize the port city. TTP spokesman has brushed aside MQM’s fears as unfounded and dubbed Altaf as an American and British agent whose track record is well known to the people. Being an old hand in the art of terrorism, the MQM is most suited to cut iron with iron and that too in its own arena. Getting panicky before even entering the arena is surprising. One reason of nervousness is Musharraf’s impeachment and his departure. It is ironical that Pakistan’s traditional enemies are feeling saddened at the prospect of their blue-eyed boy getting sacked. Having failed to keep him in power for the next five years they are now working hard to save him from impeachment and trial and to extract a safe exit for him.

Op cleanups have been launched in several tribal agencies and restive districts of NWFP as well as Peshawar. We keep hearing claims made by each side of their hits not realizing that each fatality is the collective loss of Pakistan and a gain for our adversaries. Instead of shedding blood of enemies, we are proudly shedding our own blood while fighting the futile US war on terror. The irony is that the army faithfully fighting the militants at a heavy price is being ridiculed for not performing its job well and is now accused of being in collusion with militants. This is simply preposterous and height of degradation. Instead of defending the honour of the army, our mini-mind leaders are apologetic and bending over backwards to placate them and win their favours.

We as Muslims have forgotten the Quranic injunction that Jews and Christians will be friendly to each other but unfriendly to Muslims. Despite having seen their real face and known that Hindus, Americans, Israelis and western nations have ganged up against Pakistan, our rulers continue to blindly trust them. They are deliberately bleeding Pakistan from within to facilitate our adversaries to accomplish their nefarious objectives. The trap has been woven around Pakistan and it is matter of time before the string is pulled. We must wake up and break the web before it is too late.

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig based in Rawalpindi and a defence and political analyst

- Asian Tribune -

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