By Hamid Waheed
Pakistan has emerged as the most important country in the present world politics with growing interests of world in the Asian region. Pakistan forms a natural bridge for any economic activity between this region and the outer world. Any strategy for this region cannot move forward without addressing the concerns of Pakistan. Today this region passes through fog of psychological warfare. It has become difficult to differentiate between friend and foe. The Freedom movements of past have become terrorist activity today. Talibans the friends to defeat Soviet Russia are now in the list of terrorists. New jargons like double standards, mistrust, covert operations have dominated so much that even at times the red lines for national sovereignty have become flexible. Pak U.S relations have always been a story of seasonal friendship with Pakistan accusing U.S of being a friend only at time of its need and leaving Pakistan high and dry afterwards. The U.S accuses Pakistan of partnering only for its economic interests. But the fact remains that despite all odds both Pakistan and America have proved to be the natural allies. The distrust at tactical and operational levels have failed to break the partnership at strategic platform. The theories created by interested parties though have significantly polluted the mind on both sides but logic always prevailed.
US and Pakistani military to military and intelligence agency relations have been tense since May2011, when Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by elite US forces in Pakistan, but Grossman appealed to Islamabad to help the US's Afghan exit strategy succeed. During his last visit to the Pakistani capital, Grossman highlighted "the unique role that Pakistan must play in supporting the reconciliation process", as Afghan leaders and the international coalition consider talks with Taliban militants. He stressed that Pakistan remains a key US ally despite anger at the discovery of bin Laden living near the country's leading military academy, while Pakistan was furious it was not informed about the raid until after it had happened. Recently In an intelligence driven operation by Inter Services Intelligence in coordination with Frontier Corps Balochistan, a senior Al Qaeda leader, Younis Al Mauritani mainly responsible for planning and conduct of international operations, was nabbed alongwith two other senior Al Qaeda operatives, Abdul Ghaffar Al Shami (Bachar Chama ) and Messara Al Shami (Mujahid Amino) from suburbs of Quetta. Al Mauritani was tasked to focus on hitting targets of economical importance in United States of America, Europe and Australia. The arrest of Mauritani is an indicator that the relationship is getting back on track and the CIA and ISI are now cooperating, and they need to do that because that is how we find a way forward for this region.
The intimate cooperation between Pakistan and United States Intelligence agencies has resulted into prevention of number of high profile terrorist acts not only inside Pakistan/United States but also elsewhere in world. In an interview with VOA, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter acknowledges that the bin Laden raid was a setback for bilateral ties. “Munter said. "There were questions that were raised in the United States because people did not know whether there was a role of Pakistani authorities in him being in Abbottabad. This was a source of great amount of unhappiness on both sides because there were questions that could not be answered. Leon PANETTA told in an interview in Sep 2011,on CBS that Pakistanis caught Mauritani working with us. He said , “I think we have to recognize that Pakistan is a critical country in that region of the world not only in terms of trying to give us some cooperation in the war that we are conducting there, but also because they are a nuclear power, also because they themselves are in the effort to try to confront terrorism there, but also because they can be extremely important to us in the effort to provide stability in Afghanistan and other areas. They have to be — they have to play a role in that. So for that reason, you know, while we don't agree on everything they do, obviously, while we have controversies and we have differences in a number of areas, we've got to do everything possible to work with them”.
The unclassified white house report “Report on Afghanistan and Pakistan”’ pub in Mar, 2011 surfaced on White house website which describes how collation partners should think on different subjects relating to War on Terror(WOT). It is equally important for the common Pakistani and American to know the common perception on both sides. The main quotes of the report say, “Pakistan is central to our efforts to defeat Al Qaida and prevent its return in the region. We seek to secure these interests through continued, robust counter terrorism and counter insurgency cooperation and long term partnership anchored by our improved understanding of Pakistan’s strategic priorities, increased civilian and military assistance and expand public diplomacy”. In war against terror for Pakistan the success of Swat operation and settlement of displaced people of Swat became a role model for the society and the environment was shaped in favour of government and the army. The military pressure dislodged the (terror) groups from some of their training areas and kept them on the run. The violence fell by 60 per cent in the second half of 2009, compared with the first half. The overall increase in Pakistan violence was less than initially expected during the more turbulent first half of the year. The arrest and killing of hundreds of suspected TTP militants, improved policing in th province of KP, stepped-up air strikes in North Waziristan and pressure on Taliban hideouts in Orakzai and South Waziristan helped drain militant strength, The neutralisation of suicide bombing ability of the militants gave the security forces an added edge to wipe out the remaining Taliban. Some police officials claim that change in the kind of crimes shows that the situation is moving back to normal. However the partner seem more interested in drone strikes which is bringing tactical success to collation forces but increasing pressures on Pakistani forces. The battle of hearts and minds need winning the local population which remains crucial to both Law enforcers and the terrorists . No insurgency can be lost or won without public support and this has to be understood by the US.
As America moves to exit stage from Afghanistan the need to overcome conflicts and defeat the hostile groups working against Pak- US partnership has increased many folds. According to Henry Kissinger, for any negotiations to turn into a viable US exit strategy, four conditions must be met: a cease-fire; withdrawal of all or most American and allied forces; the creation of a coalition government or division of territories among the contending parties (or both); and an enforcement mechanism. The first step in any roadmap to peace in Afghanistan has to be mutual cessation of hostilities.
The conflicting US policies by Pentagon, CIA, and White House have failed to come up with any solution for the ongoing war in Afghanistan for last nine years. Solution lies in looking inwards and not in blame games, more accommodation and understanding of others national interests. WOT in Afghanistan needs a systematic transition towards political solution mistrust amongst stakeholders at this crucial stage may lead the region to disaster. Leadership on both sides must understand the implications of Pak U.S relations for the regional and global peace.
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