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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2966

Why Pakistan declared as the most dangerous place

By Asif Haroon Raja

As per US assessment Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world. Notwithstanding US sinister design behind it, the general policy of appeasement followed by our leaders have led to this jaundiced opinion. All along our leaders have strongly felt that Pakistan’s interest can best be safeguarded by keeping USA and India in good humour. Governed by this mindset they behave obsequiously and condescend to all legal and illegal demands of USA and India. Of all our rulers former President Musharraf left others far behind in this race. In his insatiable hunger to prolong his rule he danced to American and Indian tunes reverently and unwittingly played a key role in reinforcing the impression that Pakistan is the most dangerous. This perception has grave ramifications to its security. Let us have a look at the unwise policy of appeasement and blundering of our leaders that has pushed Pakistan to such an impasse.

In response to US request, Pakistan agreed to allow its soil to be used for training Jihadis to fight US proxy war in Afghanistan in eighties. It brought in Kalashnikov and drug cultures and militarised the society. Kashmiri fighters also took part in Afghan Jihad which led to bondage between the Afghan and Kashmiri Mujahideen. After ousting Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the US took no interest in forming a stable government in Afghanistan because of which violence continued unabated. Little effort was made by Pakistan to ensure return of Jihadis from other Muslim countries thereby allowing them to settle down on permanent basis.

Commencement of armed freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir in 1989 led to emergence of several voluntary Pakistan-based Jihadi groups which were allowed to flourish because of prevalent culture promoted by USA. Pakistan provided political and moral support to freedom fighters. India drummed up charges of cross border terrorism, training camps in AJK and involvement of ISI and tried hard to get Pakistan declared as a terrorist state as a result of which Pakistan was put on the watch list of terrorist states.

Sectarian war which raged throughout the nineties was stoked by foreign powers, but Pakistan took no concrete measures to stop outside interference. Pakistan’s attainment of nuclear capability in 1998 miffed USA, Russia, western world, Israel and India and it came on their wrong side. Kargil venture executed by Gen Musharraf gave ammunition to our adversaries to dub Pakistan army as a rogue army. After 9/11, Musharraf agreed with Bush that it was Pakistan’s wrong policy to get affiliated with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and that Pakistan would dissociate with it and become part of US led coalition to bring down Taliban regime. He accepted all the demands put forward by USA at his own and allowed unbridled American influence to permeate into Pakistan by way of handing over four air bases in Baluchistan to US forces and giving free licence to CIA and FBI agents to establish posts wherever they wanted and to comb the entire length and breadth of the country in search of terrorists. Even the security of airports including immigration of incoming/outgoing passengers was monitored by FBI. He agreed that Pakistan suffered from threat of religious extremism from within and agreed to secularise educational syllabus and remove hate mongering and Jihadi texts from schools/colleges syllabi and to promote his concept of enlightened moderation to secularise the society.

As a consequence to military standoff with India for ten months in 2002 in which our armed forces played a commendable role in keeping the Indian forces at bay, Musharraf again buckled under Indo-US pressure and accepted all the charges of Pakistan’s adversaries. He accepted that Pakistan suffered from religious extremism and its Jihadi organisations were involved in Kashmir Jihad. To defuse tensions he banned six religious groups and froze their funds and thus gave an official affirmation to Indian charges that Pakistan had been involved in terrorism.

While signing peace accord with India, he agreed in writing not to permit Pakistani soil for cross border terrorism and that he would take steps to eliminate all the groups engaged in Kashmir Jihad and close down terrorist camps and put an end to cross border terrorism in Kashmir. He promised to eliminate all traces of Jihad from the society and turn it into an enlightened moderate state. He allowed India to fence the entire length of Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and to construct posts. He de-escalated the LoC and withdrew extra forces from AJK. He took another u turn on Kashmir policy and suggested an out of box solution to give a deathblow to the age-old UN resolution of holding plebiscite in Kashmir.

When USA mounted pressure on him, he agreed to induct over 100,000 troops into FATA for the first time and agreed that groups within FATA were supporting the Afghan Taliban. He agreed to hand over all the Al-Qaeda operatives and Pakistanis suspected of terrorism without any trials. Over 600 personnel were given in the custody of USA and his efforts were lauded but it formed the basis of the impression that FATA was the hub centre of terrorists. Hundreds went missing and so far many have not been traced. He also agreed that AQ Khan was involved in nuclear proliferation and made AQ Khan give a confessional statement on TV. Pakistan was thus declared a nuclear proliferating state that had clandestinely shipped nuclear material to Iran, Libya and North Korea. He kept contesting the allegation that Pakistan’s command and control apparatus was weak and that its nuclear assets were unsafe by explaining the entire mechanism and nuclear doctrine to convince the accusers who never got convinced. USA kept tightening the noose and all the time alleging that nuclear bombs were prone to theft by extremist forces and hence a threat to world security.

Having made him accept all the allegations leveled against Pakistan, it was simple for USA to frame charges and indict Pakistan on all these counts. It became easy for Washington to keep applying pressure and asking Musharraf to do more and more to combat extremism and terrorism and never getting satisfied. Musharraf having fallen in the trap was left with no defence to fight back and hence kept ceding ground. To further weaken him, he was made to sign a power sharing deal with Benazir and issue infamous NRO. Threat of religious extremism was drummed up in conjunction with threat of loss of nuclear bombs. Establishment of Tehrik Pakistan Taliban, first under Abdullah Mahsud and then under Baitullah Mahsud together with Fazlullah under the sponsorship of CIA and RAW was masterminded to weaken and defame the army as well as religious forces. Spate of suicide attacks most of which were sponsored by RAW and RAM were undertaken to destabilize Pakistan and to give a message that religious forces had become too strong.

Despite procuring incontrovertible evidence of involvement of RAW and RAM backed by CIA in sabotage and subversive activities in Baluchistan, FATA and Swat, the responsible countries were not even named what to talk of launching any protest. All terrorist attacks were pasted on home-grown extremists. No question was asked and no noise made on establishment of six Pakistan-specific Indian consulates in southern Afghanistan which rose to 19 and having learnt that dozens of training camps had been established in Afghanistan to train and launch saboteurs into Pakistan. No effort was made to close down BLA HQ based in Kabul and declared a terrorist organization or to get the members of it extradited to Pakistan.

A subtle understanding was arrived at with USA allowing it to fly its spy drones inside Pakistan for purposes of intelligence acquisition. When it started to fire missiles from January 2006 onwards, no protest was made. Rather in the October 2006 attack on a Madrassa in which 80 young students were killed, Pakistan army owned the responsibility. It sparked insurgency in FATA and shifted centre of gravity of war on terror from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Intelligence sharing with CIA continued even after having learnt that it had married up with RAW and Mossad and was working against the interests of Pakistan.

Screening of conservative elements within the ISI and nuclear set ups was done in response to the demand made by USA. This was the first step to weaken ISI. Charges made against the army and ISI about their alleged linkage with the Taliban and in cross border terrorism into Afghanistan by USA and Karzai were taken lightly. No wilful efforts were made to fence and mine the Pak-Afghan border in the face of mounting allegations. Neither a befitting response was given to Karzai for bad mouthing against Pakistan.

In response to 7/7/2005 bombings in London in which Pakistan was accused, Musharraf went out of the way to hound, harass and persecute religious elements. Punitive raids were conducted on all religious seminaries and all the foreigners receiving religious education were deported. The ousted candidates were gladly accepted by religious Madaris in India. It was a knee-jerk reaction to appease Tony Blair. While Musharraf led regime rejoiced over their successes in nabbing and handing over so-called terrorists to USA and receiving pats, Pakistan pre-planned nomination as most dangerous got credence with each catch.

The new PPP led government has appointed American lackeys in key appointments to earn goodwill of their mentors. India loving PPP, MQM and ANP are following policies of Musharraf in letter and spirit. Rather, they are doing their utmost to prove that they are more loyal to USA than Musharraf and would not take any step to displease India under any circumstances. Like Musharraf the new regime also sings the same tune that the biggest threat to Pakistan is not external but from within and that the extremists and terrorists would be crushed. It says that war on terror is Pakistan’s war and is not imposed by USA. Zardari has ignored closure of water in River Chenab by India and has not even made a protest. He has declared Kashmiri freedom fighters as terrorists; he says that India poses no threat and has unilaterally consented to abstain from retaining the option of first- nuclear-strike, which is the key to our deterrence.

In the wake of Mumbai attacks, Zardari has admitted that stateless elements based in Pakistan could be involved in terrorist attacks in other countries and has offered fullest cooperation despite India’s churlish bellicosity and blatant accusations without providing any proof. As a consequence, the factor of non-actors is being drummed up by USA, India and western world with a sinister design to establish direct involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Mumbai carnage masterminded by ISI or by former chief of ISI.

The purpose is to not only get ISI declared as a rogue institution and hence get it disbanded, but also to get an authorisation from UNSC to allow US and Indian military to hit at any suspected site anywhere in Pakistan. Such sanctification would allow Indo-US-Israeli air to carryout surgical strikes against our nuclear and missile assets and render Pakistan defenceless at the mercy of nuclear India. Jamaatud-Daawa (JuD) together with three other affiliated groups having no connection with LeT have been declared as terrorist outfits and its leaders placed on watch list by UNSC on the complaint of India. No sooner the unjust verdict was given by UNSC; Pakistan government came into action and started hounding and persecuting JuD members under the misplaced plea that had it not done so Pakistan would have been declared a terrorist state. This knee-jerk reaction has given ammunition to USA and India to accuse Pakistan that the said outfit was involved in Mumbai attacks. Policy of appeasement and apologetic and repentant attitude of our leaders has emboldened our adversaries to give all sorts of names to Pakistan.

Mumbai episode has uncovered India?s host of internal weaknesses which is being concealed under the barrage of barefaced media offensive and blame-game and USA is helping her in this futile exercise. The world has become much better informed about India’s home-grown terrorism and Hindu extremism and its mindless xenophobia. USA must reconsider its assessment as to whether it is India or Pakistan which is the most dangerous country.

While some of the Pakistani TV channels have played a commendable role in checkmating Indian media senseless belligerence, it is high time that our leadership should also shun its regretful and defensive stance and muster courage to give a befitting reply to Indo-American uncalled for offensive psychological warfare aimed at holding Pakistan guilty for the crime it has not committed. The MQM and ANP have refrained from uttering a single word of protest against Indian belligerence. State relations should be based on reciprocity, equity and respect for each other’s sovereignty and dignity and not on one-sided degrading conciliation.

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

- Asian Tribune -

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