Not withstanding repeated sabre-rattling against Pakistan, the fact is that the UPA Government has conveniently out-sourced the fight against terrorism to the US. In turn, America is busy co-opting Pakistan in this operation. And what is the main source of terror in India and rest of the world? Pakistan! Can there be a bigger irony than this contradiction?
The optimist may argue that Pakistan promoted terror in the past but has now since changed in the wake of the US pressure, world opinion and throw back of terrorism in its own turf. But is it so? Even the new American administration would be wary of any word from Pakistan government after what NYT correspondent David Sanger'slatest book The Inheritance has revealed about Pakistan'sextremists, the Army there and the Taliban. The book comes at the right moment when a new President has taken over with avow to end the Al Qaeda menace once for all and get Pakistan to co-operate with America sincerely. As a first step President Obama has appointed a veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke to rejig a new Afghan-Pakistan policy.
The NYT correspondent'srevealing book comes even as Holbrooke landed in Islamabad on his first ground survey of his diplomatic assignment. The American journalist reveals that the CIA has got hold of a transcript of a conversation of Pakistan army Commander General Kayani in which he describes Taliban as ?an asset? for his forces. Kayani also stresses that the Pakistani army is focused on Indian security forces and its aim in getting American aid to destroy Taliban is actually to strengthen itself to beat India. Taliban and its architect Osama bin Laden and his foster children like the LeT working in Pakistan form one single line up with the Pakistani army for the domination of the subcontinent and the region.
In other words General Kayani confirms what was widely known: Pakistani army is only pretending to work with the Americans in their battle to track down and eliminate Al Qaeda so that it could gain more aid and what it buys with the aid funds are not arms meant to conduct a bush war but a full fledged war against India. So long as America depends on Pakistan to move its military and civilian supplies to the endangered regime in Kabul, it serves Pakistan to strengthen the very Taliban it claims to fight and use it against Kabul so that Americans would aid the Pakistani army further. In simple words Pakistani army has been blackmailing and fooling the successive US administrations. India in turn, has been living on the false hope that the US will be able to discipline roguish Pakistan.
To understand the significance of the revelations in the book we must first recapitulate the US-Pakistani interaction in the name of fighting the Al Qaeda and jihadi terrorism ensconced in the historically rebellious tribal region of north-western Pakistan frontier with Afghanistan. It is no secret that the Taliban regime that took over Afghanistan after the Russians left was closely aligned and supported by Pakistani army. At that time it suited the Americans as Washington'spolicy was to make use of Pakistan'sarmy to aid the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan .
General Zia-ul-Haq'sregime in Islamabad thrived on this American need, fattening its military and economic sinews under the shadow of the anti-Soviet war in the neighbouring country. While the American aim was to drive out the Soviet Union from taking over the Afghan country, the Pakistani army that ruled the country wanted to gain what is known as strategic depth by installing a regime in Kabul that would be beholden to it.
The Pakistani military dictator General Zia himself had sought to gain domestic depth to his military regime by promoting religious fundamentalism in the hope that this would curb the innate desire for democracy in his country. It was during Zia'srule that Pakistan was fully converted into an Islamic state with all laws subjected to the sharia overview by the clergy and madrasa education became a growing political factor.
Once the Soviets left Afghanistan America lost all interest in that country. With encouragement of the Pakistani army, the Taliban established a fundamentalist Islamic regime there. This also inspired the fundamentalist forces in Pakistan as the clergy found further help in sharing power in Pakistan under the guise of implementing the Quranic law.
When America woke up to the threat of jihadi militancy to its own existence after the 9/11 event, and the Bush administration decided to eliminate the Taliban led government in Kabul , it needed Pakistan as a staging ground. By then the military was once again in power in Pakistan after General Mushraff had ousted the elected government of Nawab Sharief in 1999.
We may recall how NDA Prime Minister in our country Atal Behari Vajpayee had gone out of the way to broker peace with the regime of Nawab Sharief for finding a lasting normalcy with the neighbour and how Mushraff provoked the Kargil conflict to cut asunder that peace effort. Once the Kargil adventure failed and Nawab had to bear the humiliation of a withdrawal, with President Clinton advising him to do so, the army generals could no longer tolerate the civilian government as the generals? game was exposed. Finally the army simply took over and banished Nawab out of the country.
(The writer can be contacted [email protected])
(To be concluded)