Cameron On Anti-Pakistan Campaign
By Sajjad Shaukat
During his visit to India, while speaking at a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on July 29 this year, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “No-one is in any doubt, least of all the Pakistani government themselves that there have been and still are terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and others that need to be cracked down on and eliminated.” One day before, he told an audience in Bangalore, “We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able to promote the export of terror.” While speaking in the similar tone, Singh called on Pakistan to make equal efforts to eliminate insurgents operating in western border areas near Afghanistan and the eastern border with India.
During his tour, why Cameron could not see state terrorism in Indian Held Kashmir, where for the last ten years, over 700000 thousand Indian troops are packed. Everyday innocent people are being gunned down, Kashmiris are denied their right for self determination. Could someone ask Cameron, is that not “Terrorism?” Can he deny that? No but his only reply would be that it is India’s internal matter. Graveyards are being filled by the bodies of young men, children and women.
Despite severe reaction shown by the Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit, other political leaders and the media commentators of our country, in an interview with the British broadcasters, Cameron once again defended his comments, saying “I think it’s important, as I say, to speak frankly about these things to countries that are your friends.”
While referring to the statement of British PM against Pakistan, Former British foreign secretary, David Miliband criticised Cameron for his remarks, calling him a “loudmouth”. He further remarked, “Well, I think there is a big difference between straight-talking and being a loudmouth…everyone has two ears and one mouth and it is important to use them in that proportion when it comes to foreign policy.” He maintained that Cameron was only “telling half the story”, as thousands of innocent civilians in Pakistan had also been killed by terrorism.
Although Pakistan’s politicians and even Miliband have citicised anti-Pakistan remarks of Cameron, yet we cannot see the same as politically motivated. The negative remarks of the British prime minister can also be not seen in isolation as some recent developments have shown that the US, UK and some of their allies like India and Afghanistan have intensified anti-Pakistan campaign which itself is part of a conspiracy against Pakistan.
In this connection, on July 29 when Cameron and Singh spoke against Pakistan in relation to terrorism, Afghan President Hamid Karzai suggested NATO operation inside Pakistan. Without bothering for the restoration of cordial ties with Islamabad, Karzai indicated, “The time has come for our international allies to know that the war against terrorism is not in Afghanistan’s homes and villages…but rather this war is in the sanctuaries, funding centres and training places of terrorism which are outside Afghanistan,” and are inside Pakistan.
It is of particular attention that on July 25, the 92,000 US secret documents released, dating from 2004 to 2009, triggered an outcry from our country, fighting in the US-NATO coalition in Afghanistan in general and Pakistan in particular.
In this regard, on July 26, 2010, The New York Times, while quoting the documents, revealed: “the documents, made available by an organization called WikiLeaks, [published on its website] suggest that Pakistan, an ostensible ally of the United States, allows representatives of its spy service to meet directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders…taken together, the reports indicate that American soldiers on the ground are inundated with accounts of a network of Pakistani assets and collaborators that runs from the Pakistani tribal belt along the Afghan border through southern Afghanistan, and all the way to the capital, Kabul.”
It is mentionable that some of the secret documents include a series of accusations against Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI in relation to its alleged ties and contacts with the Afghan Taliban. In this respect, timings of the leakage of the reports are notable. Recently, US military and civil high officials including their media have been blaming ISI of supporting the Taliban militants, while reviving American old maxim to ‘do more’ against the insurgents in Pakistan—and accusing Pakistan of cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.
Kabul has consistently blamed Pakistan’s intelligence agencies of supporting Taliban insurgents including masterminding attacks against Afghan and US-led targets on Afghan soil.
On July 18, during her latest visit to Pakistan US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Pakistan to ‘do more’ to counter terrorism. She elaborated, “There are still additional steps that we are asking and expecting Pakistan to take.” In a threatening style, Ms. Clinton also stated, “there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that if an attack against the United States be traced to be Pakistani, it would have a very devastating impact on our relationship.”
Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden has indicated, “everyone knew in these summer months, when they (Taliban) can infiltrate from Pakistan under the cover of foliage and the rest and it is open that there would be more deaths.”
Especially, as regards ISI, present documents are part of the old blame game against this agency which is, in fact, the first defence line of our country in thwarting the designs of foreign enemies against Pakistan. That is why, it has become particular target of America, India and Israel which cannot tolerate the only ‘nuclearised’ Pakistan in the Islamic World.
As part of the anti-Pakistan campaign against ISI, on March 26, 2009, New York Times had accused that Pakistan’s ISI is directly assisting militant groups fighting against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. In the past, US Admiral Mike Mullen told the Fox TV channel that ISI has connections with many extremist organizations. All these biased statements against ISI had been appearing in wake of the US new strategy which had taken Afghanistan and Pakistan’s FATA as single theatre of war. And President Obama said that he was determined to dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda terrorists and their safe havens in Pakistan’s tribal areas from where a plot to attack the US and Europe could be planned.
Notably, Pakistan’s armed forces have broken the backbone of the Taliban militants in Swat, Dir, Buner, South Waziristan and other tribal areas by sacrificing their own lives. On the other side, it was due to the efforts of ISI that a number of renowned leaders of the Taliban and Al Qaeda were captured including other militant commanders. In the recent months, high officials of America and other western countries have been highly appreciating the military operations led by the Pak Army, donating million of dollars to Islamabad, while they have again revived old blame game of doing more against terrorism, against ISI and infiltration in Afghanistan. In fact, it is not only part of anti-Pakistan campaign but also part of the plot against Pakistan—and also a nefarious plan of America and UK to achieve certain aims by playing a double game with Islamabad with the secret help of India, Afghanistan and Israel.
It is noteworthy that strong Indo-Israeli lobbies are working in America and other European countries against the interests of Pakistan. These lobbies are well-penetrated especially in the US administration and intelligence agencies. With the help of some western country, especially Great Britain, they not only want to destabilise and ‘denuclearise’ Pakistan, but are also determined to convince the NATO countries through a propaganda campaign to attack Pakistan under one or the other pretext.
Apart from achieving sinister designs through a continued campaign against Islamabad, the US, UK, Israel and some other European countries have also been supplying sophisticated arms and technology to India. In this regard, another major purpose of the recent trip of Cameron to New Delhi was also to sale 57 Hawk jet trainers to India.
Nevertheless, following Pakistan’s return to democracy, Islamabad has become a valued and effective ally in the war against terrorism, and has suffered more collateral damage and immeasurably more casualties than NATO. In this context, instead of praising Pakistan, British Prime Minister David Cameron, while castigating Islamabad’s key role in this different war, has contributed to the anti-Pakistan campaign.
Sajjad Shaukat is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker. He writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.