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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2557

Time to approach UNSC

By Asif Haroon Raja

In our bid to fight us war on terror and to make Afghanistan peaceful, we allowed the insurgency to shift from Afghanistan into FATA. Within two years the flames of militancy spread to neighbouring settled areas and then enveloped whole of Frontier province and made inroads into Punjab. The suicide bombers can reach any part of the country and hit targets even within Red Zone.

High expectations were pinned on elected leaders hoping that they would soon reverse the US centric policies of Musharraf and follow home based policies in the interest of Pakistan and its people.

Euphoria of the nation turned into dejection when they found the new set of leaders no better. Not only they disappointed them on the issue of deposed judges, they made yet another deal with USA and UK not to try Musharraf for his countless crimes and to give him a safe passage. Having declared that they would prefer dialogue over force, they suddenly made a volta face in the face of US pressure and declared that there will be no dialogue with the militants who refused to surrender arms. Several fronts have been opened up simultaneously and the army told to use maximum force without caring for collateral damage or its reputation.

The stepped up operations no doubt lowered the graph of violence in Afghanistan but failed to appease the insatiable appetite of USA. Instead of getting satisfied, its drones started to hit suspected targets in Waziristan killing many innocent civilians. The missile attacks together with ground assault on 4 September added to the fear and insecurity of the residents of Waziristan. The drones fitted with Hellfire missiles are exclusively controlled by CIA.

Musharraf had given a blank cheque to CIA in October 2001 by of virtue which it has collected exhaustive information on Pakistan and planted agents in various departments and militant organisations. Mossad too has a hand in operating these drones since it has vast experience of using them in Gaza Strip against Palestinian and Hamas activists and leaders. CIA has distanced itself from ISI ever since it has learnt that it is not only keeping a watch but is also obstructing its clandestine activities.

Amidst heightened tensions, it was sickening to hear some highly discouraging and cowardly statements uttered by our hen-hearted political leaders in the face of American xenophobia. They had no words to say about unconcealed state terrorism of USA. It was army chief’s statement which electrified the nation and shook up the political leadership from their state of near paralysis.

After remaining in a state of limbo they slowly got out of their apologetic mode and requested USA not to violate Pakistan’s territorial integrity. Their half-hearted protests lacking in conviction and desired punch fell on deaf ears and CIA controlled drones continued with their offensive intrusions. In a state of utter helplessness Zardari and Gilani said that since Pakistan could not militarily fight USA the matter will be resolved diplomatically. Zardari made an air-dash to UK to play his diplomatic card instead of visiting China to exert some sort of diplomatic pressure on USA. His visit to Washington was ill-timed and uncalled for.

The unabated onslaughts are taking place in spite of Bush as well as senior US military officers assurances that Pakistan’s sovereignty will be respected. Pentagon has now ordered stepping up raids within Pakistan. Hardly a day has passed in September when an intrusion or a drone attack killing innocent civilians was not carried out. Although not a single strike could hit any militant, yet there was no word of regret or apology tendered. While it was heartening that a drone was eventually shot down in South Waziristan by the combined fire of security forces and Waziri tribesmen and some intrusions were thwarted, it is to be seen whether it would checkmate US belligerence. In case US troops based in Afghanistan refuse to put an end to their cross border terrorism, it will be in fitness of things to move a case in UNSC.

I recall the Indian forces after extending full support to insurgency in East Pakistan from March 1971 onwards started to make forays across the border in early November 1971 and invaded the eastern province on the night of 21 November and made toeholds at 23 different points all along the border. The then military leadership failed to approach the UNSC. This omission was out of misplaced fear that the Security Council might not foist a political solution in East Pakistan based on Mujibur Rehman’s wishes. According to the then Pakistani ambassador to USA Agha Shahi, “By not lodging a complaint in the UNSC about the Indian invasion as soon as it was launched, Pakistan assumed a posture different from that of a victim of aggression. It weakened the credibility of our claim regarding the intent and scale of Indian military action”.

It is pertinent to mention that the Indian offensive of East Pakistan was perhaps the only instance of an armed attack by one member state of the UN upon the territory of another, which the victim did not immediately bring before the Security Council. As a consequence, the blatant invasion went unnoticed and allowed Indian army to build up its forces into the already acquired bridge heads and wage an all out war on 4 December. This was a very grave failure on part of Yahya regime as well as Bhutto not to approach UN. In that timeframe the international community was favourably inclined towards Pakistan and as such the favourable phase should have been cashed in to our advantage.

Learning from history, let there not be yet another lapse. The NATO has disagreed with US contention of stepping across the Durand Line. UK after supporting US contention has also followed NATO’s stance. China and Russia are likely to support Pakistan’s stand. It is therefore desirable that not only UNSC is approached, a case must also be taken up in the OIC to muster the support of the Muslim world.

It must not be forgotten that although CIA is a subordinate organisation, practically it is too powerful to be dictated or kept in check. It has a history of going beyond the given mandate and is also accused of murdering Kennedy. It had played a key role in masterminding the Afghan venture in October 2001 and purchasing the loyalties of Pashtun and non-Pashtun warlords to form a puppet regime in Kabul after the fall of Taliban. Instead of eliminating warlordism, USA has allowed CIA and RAW to establish links with influential Pashtun warlords in Afghanistan and to make good use of them for their vested interests both inside Afghanistan and in the Pashtun belt of Pakistan.

It is for this reason that the warlords have been allowed to cultivate poppy which is their main source of income to fuel militancy. Among the prominent ones are Hazrat Ali in Kunar linked with militants in Bajaur and Swat; Rasul Sayyaf having influence in provinces of Khost, Paktia and Paktika and in collusion with Khost based Jalaluddin Haqqani. The two have links with Al-Qaeda as well and are actively involved in South Waziristan, Kurram and Hangu.

Haqqani however is anti-American and hence on their hit list. Sherazi enjoys influence in southern Afghanistan and in conjunction with Akhundzada have authority over the Pashtun belt in Baluchistan. These warlords are acting as conduits to funnel arms, ammunition and funds to numerous militant groups based in FATA and in Baluchistan. Mossad is also playing its role to keep Pakistan on the boil till it is destabilised. All these forces have projected Pakistan as the most dangerous place in the world. After master minding Marriott blast, I expect a still bigger incident to prove their contention that our nuclear assets are unsafe.

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

- Asian Tribune -

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