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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2525

Great Game continues in South Asia

By Janaka Perera

During a brief tour of Pakistan early this month with six other Sri Lankan journalists, the question that came to my mind was whether the world really sees Pakistan and Sri Lanka as victims of terrorism.

This feeling was further strengthened when - on our return home - we came to know from very reliable sources that out of the seven Defence Attaches who visited the Wanni battle front on December 15, only the Pakistani representative had boldly expressed appreciation of the valiant efforts and sacrifices of Sri Lankan troops, wishing them all success (proving who Sri Lanka's true friends are in the current crisis). The others, especially the attaches from the United Kingdom, the USA and Japan had remained largely 'neutral' and focused mainly on humanitarian issues and internally displaced people (IDP).

However while in Pakistan we did not hear UK and US governments expressing concern over the plight of civilians caught in the West's war on terror in Afghanistan – a war that has spilled over to Pakistan. Instead, what we learnt was US aircraft bombing Pakistani villages, causing 'collateral damage' – American euphemism for innocents dying in air raids on supposed terrorist targets.

Around a million Afghans are dead and may be an equal number are wounded – all victims of a war launched in violation of international norms by the 'defenders of democracy.' British Foreign Minister David Miliband and other UK politicians reportedly announced that last month's terrorist attack on Mumbai was an attack against Western Democracy. Why only Mumbai? What about the LTTE attacks throughout Sri Lanka over the past 20 years killing and maiming civilians by the thousand?

When U.S. counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan are failing, Americans strike at Pakistan hoping to hit terrorists while Ambassador Robert Blake urges political solutions to Sri Lanka's crisis!

Pakistani political analyst Dr. Haider Mehdi notes the West working on an Indian image-promoting strategy to prepare it by psychological manipulation and media projections to endorse U.S.-Western interest's vis-à-vis China and in the rest of South-East Asia and the Central Asian Islamic states. Needless to say if not for these Western hypocrites and India (due to domestic compulsions) applying unwarranted pressure on Sri Lanka she could have finished off the island's conflict over two decades ago.

As for Pakistan, no country has been so mauled and traumatized by terrorism, barring Afghanistan and Iraq. Shia and Sunni mosques, churches, shopping centres, restaurants, five-star hotels (including Marriot, Islamabad), embassies, UN relief agency offices, girls schools, population welfare centres, hospitals, presidential and prime ministerial motorcades, election commission offices, corps commanders and generals, police stations, foreign tourists, political rallies, funeral processions, newspaper offices, bridges, train tracks, exhibition and places of entertainment among many others have been terrorist targets.

But taking up either Pakistan's or Sri Lanka's cause does not serve the West's 'anti-terrorism' agenda. As Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan in his 'Great Game Continues' sums up, "The 'war on terror' and 'promoting democracy' are the 21st Century equivalents of the 19th Century British gobbledygook." According to Peter Hopkirk, author of the original The Great Game, Washington sees the (Central-South Asia) region as an extension of the Middle-East.

Pakistan's destabilization will serve neither India's nor Sri Lanka's interests. If Pakistan is thrown into turmoil, the resulting anarchy will strengthen Islamic extremism and violence and perhaps lead to a Taleban type regime in that country, radicalizing Muslims in the sub-continent.

- Asian Tribune -

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