Pak In Turmoil
Pak in turmoil
By Brig (retd) Dr BD Mishra
A popular joke doing round about Pakistan goes as follows; “Who runs the affairs of the state in Pakistan?” Answer: “Army, America, Allah, and Awam(People); in that order”. This joke has become reality today. Pakistan Army top brass, in nexus with the United States of America, practically run the affairs of the state and drive the destiny of Pakistan.
The good relations between USA and Pakistan Army began when General Ayub Khan became the military dictator of Pakistan after staging a coup in 1958. General Ayub Khan, the then Chief of the Army Staff of Pakistan, was KCIO (King Commissioned Indian Officer) from Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK, in pre-Indo-Pak partition days. After coming to power in Pakistan, he promoted himself to the rank of Field Marshal. General Ayub Khan’s personal background and ambition coupled with his good understanding of and association with the Western World helped him forge a strong relationship with USA. Pakistan became a good ally of USA during his time and USA became the biggest donor to and supporter of Pakistan.
During the cold war period, USSR invaded Afghanistan along Afghanistan’s Northern land axis. The surprising reality of the bipolar world was that the Russian block was militarily as strong, if not more, as the USA. USA needed a trusted support base to contain USSR. In Asia, China was closest to USSR and India was ideologically in co-operation with USSR. Out of the three contiguous nations, viz, China, India and Pakistan, USA chose to befriend Pakistan in conflict against the communist Russia. Pakistan, thus, joined USA in military cooperation against USSR in Afghanistan.
Pakistan received phenomenal arms and equipment support from USA. USA supplied the latest and ultra modern war machines to Pakistan for use against the Russians. Pakistan Army and its Inter Services Intelligence(ISI) organised effective guerrilla warfare against the Russian army, in Afghanistan. They raised Afghan fundamentalists and non-regular militia, trained them in their own country and inducted them in Afghanistan. With Pakistan’s help USA, covertly, caused great attrition on the Russian forces. USA and Pakistan Army not only created fundamentalist insurgents but also created rabid terrorists. Osama Bin Laden was one of them. Later these very terrorists commenced open war against the Americans. The 26/11 attack on World Trade Centre in New York was a sequel to this.
The wheel of international trans border terrorism made a full circle. USA returned to Afghanistan, of course with the help of Pakistan. US-Pak mission now was to quell the same terrorism of which they were the architect. Concurrent to this development USA also developed concern about the huge nuclear arsenal of Pakistan. USA does not want Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to fall in hands of Al Qaida or Afghani Talibans or Pakistani extremists at any cost.
Going by the enormity of the material support, which Pakistan has been receiving from USA, Pakistan and its people, actually, should be grateful to USA. However, the story now is different. People in Pakistan have become very averse to American presence in their country. They nurture grudge against USA because of her support to Israel against the five Muslim states on Israel’s borders, viz, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Palestine, Muslims of Pakistan have thus marked the Americans as enemy Number One of Islam.
When General Parvez Musharraf was the Chief of Staff of Pakistan Army, he managed huge financial and armament support from the United States for operations against Al Qaida and Talibans. However, he very cleverly played a double game and kept both the sides balanced for a long time.
The present Pakistan army chief, General Kayani is neither as shrewd as Musharraf nor he is yet in full control of Pakistani Socio-Political dynamics. General Kayani is pledging support to US armed forces against Talibans and Al Qaida terrorists. However, USA does not trust him. USA has started realizing that the Pakistan Army is only discharging its Muslim fraternity obligations and putting up a false friendship front before them. It is for this reason that US Troops, without knowledge of Pakistan government and its Army, attacked and killed Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden who was living, incognito, in close proximity of Pakistan army academy at Abbotabad.
The ongoing drone attacks on the hideouts of the Taliban and Al–Qaida in Afghanistan have also angered the people of Pakistan.
As things stand today Americans on their part find the Pakistan army and the ISI lacking in objectivity in tackling the Al Qaida and Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan. Pakistan army and government on the other hand are facing the ire of their people in allowing military bases to the US army on the soil of Pakistan. The latest US government’s decision to defer the financial aid to Pakistan has aggravated the present tension. Pakistan possesses more nuclear weapons than India. This nuclear asymmetry, in view of Pakistan’s volatile and instable political situation, is a matter of deep concern for India. The present cooperation between Pakistan and USA is of no help to India but snapping of this relationship will certainly weaken Pakistan.
China has a good defence and infrastructural cooperation with Pakistan. Pakistani politicians are seeing China as an alternative benefactor. China is building the strategic Gwadar Port, at the apex of the Arabian Sea, in Baluchistan Province of Pakistan, This venture is, amply, indicative of Chinese keen geographical interest in Pakistan. To fill up any vacuum, created by the withdrawal of American support to Pakistan, Chinese are likely to step in and consolidate their hegemony over Pakistan in a big way. Such a development, in Indian Sub Continent, will run counter to Indian interests. A strong and politically stable Pakistan, is in India’s interest. Conversely, a weak and surrogate Pakistan is a threat to India’s security. As far as Pak-US relations are concerned, going by the need of the hour, it needs to become more peace and harmony oriented. Both the countries must, accept it as an international obligation and, make sincere and honest effort to wipe out terrorism from this part of the world.