"To attain their objectives, Americans are ruthlessly arrogant; then to support their arrogance, they build a media hype in a manner that their lies begin to appear as truth." 

By Brig Farooq Hameed Khan(Retd)

The Americans have finally shown their Balochistan card.  They definitely crossed the red line in relations with Pakistan. By openly talking about an independent Balochistan on pretext of so called human rights violations, the US Congress Sub Committee under Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has violated international norms and principles of non interference and respect for sovereignty and integrity of other independent states.

US Ambassador  Cameron Munter’s  declaration last year  that ‘Balochistan was very significant for the United States’ exposed the  failing superpower’s grand designs in the context of their ‘Great Game’ in Pakistan’s biggest but sparsely populated and perhaps most mineral rich province.

While the US State Department may deny any  Administration’s support for the Congressional hearing, yet this event held at Capitol Hill was undoubtedly  held in coordination with  anti Pakistan lobbies including few Baloch dissidents, their India’s RAW/CIA  sponsors and certain  their newly converted US loyalists in Pakistan. Well aware of the pattern and sequence  of US psychological operations that precede their grand designs, this hearing was aimed to  exploit their own created Balochistan insurgency  and internationalize the issue.

It would not be surprising if  Husain Haqqani ,our former Ambassador in Washington DC, known as diehard  opponent of Pakistan Army/ISI and principal suspect in the ongoing anti Pakistan Memo   conspiracy(Memogate)case in Islamabad, with his influential  Capitol Hill connections may also have motivated such a hearing. Husain Haqqani is finally back in his Washington’s safe havens after VIP ‘detention’ in Islamabad’s President/Prime Minister House and maybe reorganizing his ‘Haqqani  network’ in United States.

See the American hypocrisy and double standards.  Does  Congressman Dana Rohrabacher have the moral courage to hold similar hearings on grave human rights violations and atrocities by the 500,000 strong Indian Occupation forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir? Do U.S. Congressmen have the guts to expose Israeli brutalities against Palestinians? Why has no hearing been conducted to condemn the killings of unarmed and innocent Pakistani tribal victims of US drone attacks?

The timing of the Balochistan hearing on February 08 is significant. In line with the Pakistani parliament’s decision to review and redefine the future roadmap of Pak- US civil/military relations, the parliamentary committee on national security recently finalized the detailed recommendations on the new terms of civil/military engagement which will soon be debated in the parliament by Pakistan’s lawmakers for final approval.

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The  Congressional hearing also reflected Uncle Sam’s frustration  over many  strategic losses suffered in Pakistan ever since the November 26  NATO airstrike on Pakistan Army’s Salalah post on Pak- Afghan border that killed 26 soldiers.

The humiliating US/CIA’s expulsion from Balochistan’s  Shamsi airbase, stoppage of NATO  land supplies , Pakistan’s refusal to grant secret access to other airstrips for drone operations and dismantling of CIA’s covert intelligence network in Pakistan have adversely affected US designs in Balochistan and the region.

 Shamsi’s loss has affected US strategic surveillance/intelligence operations capability to monitor Chinese presence in  developmental activities at Gwadar port and other mineral exploration projects in Balochistan. Most significantly in case of a US/Israeli attack on Iran, the Americans  stand deprived of a major well established  operational airbase that could  be used to launch reconnaissance and bombing airstrikes into Iran.

The US cannot swallow the Pakistan government’s refusal to allow an American  consulate in Quetta, the capital of   Balochistan for this  would have  served as a launching pad for greater  American interference in Balochistan affairs.  Any presence of US security personnel in Quetta is likely to intensify their clandestine activities in the province which would further fuel the Baloch insurgency in coordination with  RAW/ CIA funded and armed Baloch militant groups.

The Balochistan hearing was aimed to  pressurize Pakistan to restore the NATO ground supplies that remain suspended since the November 26  NATO’s cowardly attack on  Pakistan Army’s Salalah  post. To some extent this pressure has seemingly worked with few pro US elements in the Pakistan government creating confusion over allowing food supplies on ‘humanitarian grounds’ through air corridor to Afghanistan.

    The American troops reportedly ran short of diapers that they wear on long combat patrols in the Taliban infested  areas. Since NATO supplies were stopped in protest over the ‘inhumane’ massacre of Pakistan Army soldiers, should Pakistan be expected to act humanely to support US /NATO forces in Afghanistan?

    In the first place the airspace facility was never withdrawn. Pakistan has persistently demanded a formal US apology and action against the planners and executors of the Salalah attack which have yet not happened. Perhaps the nation’s response was being tested in anticipation of restoring NATO ground supplies in near future without a parliamentary debate/approval. If this happens, then anti US hysteria is expected to register record heights in Pakistan.

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    Thousands of oil tankers and containers remain stranded around Karachi and on the NATO supply routes along Chaman in Balochistan and Torkhum in Khyber Pakhtun khwa.  While the cost of transporting  NATO supplies via the northern distribution network( Russia, Georgia etc) was almost six times as compared  to that of  moving the same through Pakistan, the current record freezing winters have added to NATO’s miseries in using the northern route.

   By playing the Balochistan card the US would try to intimidate Pakistan into abandoning the Iran – Pakistan(IP) gas pipeline project in favor of the American sponsored Turkemanistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan- India (TAPI) gas pipeline project. While Pakistan’s critical energy requirements may not be of any significance to the US, the underlying thrust was aimed to deprive Iran of the economic/financial benefits of exporting surplus gas to Pakistan as well as denying Chinese access to this project via the planned energy corridor through the Karakorams.

The apprehensions of many Pakistanis have come true. We were impressed   and taken aback with the ‘instant and massive’ US response during the devastating  2005  earthquake as well as the 2010 floods in Pakistan. But Pakistanis knew there was something eerie and strange about this extraordinary display of  American  ‘love’ for Pakistan.

Now, according to the latest revelations by D.B. Grady and Marc Ambinder in their book “The Command: Deep Inside the President's Secret Army”, the CIA took advantage of the  natural disaster emergency to fly in  hundreds of secret operatives/ special forces using valid U.S. passports and posing as construction / aid workers, without the requisite detailed  background checks by our security agencies.

With dozens of US Chinooks flying all over Pakistan and loaded with US /CIA Secret agents, one can imagine the strategic intelligence that must have  been gathered about our communication infrastructure/ defence installations etc  during the relief missions.

   The Americans are known to reward their loyalists in other countries for rendering services with promise of protection   for serving and promoting their(U.S.) interests. Incentives usually include lucrative greenbacks payments, facilitation of the individual/ family’s immigration to U.S. including provision of US green card/citizen ship, children education and even job guarantees in USA.

   Will CIA's secret doctor face treason trial? Dr. Shakeel Afridi,  alias Dr. Polio ,who hails from FATA, was recruited by CIA to reach out to Osama Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound through collection of DNA samples under cover of a fake polio vaccination drive. The Abbottabad Commission investigating the US Special Forces  May 02 ‘ get Osama Bin Laden operation’  had ordered that Dr. Afridi be tried on treason charges under charges of spying for a foreign intelligence agency.

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The Pakistani government has yet to proceed with the trial though Dr. Afridi remains under arrest by security agencies. U.S. Defence Secretary/ former CIA Chief Leon Panetta’s recently admitted that the doctor provided useful intelligence in May02 operation and expressed concern over his detention  in Pakistan. Not surprisingly, many U.S. Congressmen have introduced legislation seeking U.S. citizenship for Dr. Afridi whom they consider a US hero. He has even been recommended for a high US civil award.     

If the US demands the release of Dr. Afridi, who is our traitor and their hero,  then the weak and frail but highly courageous Dr. Aafia , our hero and their (US) so called enemy, languishing in US prison  and serving 86 years jail sentence on concocted charges of assaulting US marines in Bagram airbase, should also be released.

Pakistan’s parliament  has unanimously passed a resolution condemning the US Congressional hearing on Balochistan as blatant interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs. But was this enough? If the US continues to meddle in Pakistan’s domestic affairs and shows scant respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity then a hard hitting and well calculated national response was the need of the hour.

Pakistan should permanently stop NATO land supplies through our territory and also withdraw the airspace corridor concession for US/NATO aircraft that overfly Pakistan. US military trainers or counter terrorism experts should no longer be welcomed.

The US should be asked to scale down its Islamabad Embassy staff and stop its  huge expansion project designed to increase diplomatic presence in Islamabad. The current freedom of movement enjoyed by US Ambassador Munter and other US diplomats in Pakistan should be limited.

Pakistan should move the United Nations Security Council and also the International Court of justice to stop US drone attacks against unarmed and innocent Pakistani tribals.

Pakistan desires a smooth working relationship with United States based on mutual trust and respect for our sovereignty. The US mindset of stabbing Pakistan in the back needs a radical change. But make no mistake. By working against Pakistan’s interests, the United States may find it increasingly difficult to manage a safe and peaceful exit from Afghanistan.