By General Mirza Aslam Beg
These are very challenging times for the Pakistani nation, blessed with national resilience, sense of honour and the civilizational heritage, drawn from the four oldest civilizations of the world – Central Asia, West Asia, South Asia and East Asia (China), with whom it shares common borders. Itself being the ‘Cradle of Indus Civilization’, no other country in the world can boast of such assets, which determine the ‘Geo-historical Blend’ of the Pakistani nation and can rightly be called the ‘Land of the Rainbow Civilization”; yet, these very civilizational assets have so carelessly been sacrificed for the geo-political expediencies of the past. Instead of getting closer to our immediate neighbours, we made friends and allies with the United States of America, a distant land, with whom we share no civilizational values. And for this faulty decision, Pakistan has suffered immensely, during the last five decades. There is a strong realization now to ‘correct the course’ and create a more pragmatic geo-political environment of national security, most suited, to strengthen our civilizational linkages, with our immediate neighbours.
After six decades of conflict and distrust, India and Pakistan now have realized the need to resolve the outstanding issues through dialogue and discussion. The forces of globalization also demand that the existing developed trade and commerce infrastructure between the two countries, which have remained closed for over six decades, must be opened now, for the free flow of trade and commerce between the entire Asian region.
Since 1979, Iran has been subjected to sanctions and embargos by the United States and has been demonized for the alleged weaponisation of its nuclear programme, creating a state of panic amongst its immediate neighbours, who, during the last ten years have purchased military hardware from USA, worth over US$ 150 billions, to face the Iranian threat, yet Iran poses no threat to them. Iran has joined hands with Pakistan to evolve a common strategy for peace and stability in Afghanistan, after the American exit, which is a very healthy development towards strengthening the historic linkage between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is the epi-centre of Global Islamic Resistance, against the forces of aggression, for the last thirty years. It has defeated the Soviets, the Americans and the Europeans and has suffered immensely, yet in their resolve to defeat the mightiest of the mighty, they remain so steadfast, self-composed and confident of their victory, that has unnerved the occupation forces. Conspiracies are therefore being hatched to divide the country and create condition of a civil war, as in 1989, but the Afghans are much wiser now and know how to deal with such machinations. China, now stands solidly behind Afghanistan to protect the civilizational heritage so ruthlessly trampled by foreign invaders.
With the rise of China, the ‘global centre of gravity’ has shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific and China, now is a factor of stability for the Pacific and Asian regions. Chinese policy of Peace, Cooperation and Engagement, projects Chinese ‘Soft Power’ and neutralizes, without fighting, the American military ‘Hard Power’ vying for global domination and emerges as the most successful policy in today’s multi-polar world. China is a reliable friend of Pakistan. It has stood by Pakistan and is a source of strength, radiating the civilizational virtues of peace and harmony.
Pakistan opted to be an ally of the United States of America who failed to correctly gauge the ‘inner strength’ of the Pakistani nation and tried to play the ‘role of a Master’, changing regimes at will and installing military dictators, who played their game so shamelessly. The break-up of Pakistan in 1971; the war against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the immoral decision of the Pakistani government to join the American war against Afghanistan in 2001, turning Pakistan into a ‘rentier states’, happened during the reign of the military dictators. As if this was not enough, USA decided to establish Indian hegemony over the region from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka, trying to beat-down Pakistan to submission, through deceit and conspiracies, pressures and proxy war. Pakistan took the stand, rejecting Indian hegemony and submission to American demands, which happens to be the turning point now, where the new contours of Pak-US relations will be determined, under the geo-historical pull of the old civilizations, determined to banish foreign aggression and establish peace in Afghanistan and the region.
Pakistan’s civilizational heritage and its geo-historical linkages, determine the strength of its inner self. It is a vibrant and diverse society with great deal of resilience, sense of honour and the robustness of mind and soul which provide the guarantee for national security, in all its dimensions. The instruments of power, which help the state to fortify national security are conscious of their responsibilities. The judiciary is struggling hard to establish the Rule of Law in the country. The media is playing its due role to create a ‘State of Awareness’ amongst the people, about the flaws and failings in the system of governance. The armed forces have accepted the supremacy of the civilian rule and support the supreme court of Pakistan for the implementation of their judgments and together with the people of Pakistan are trying to establish the supremacy of the parliament and the civilian rule. No one is talking about the derailment of the existing democratic order, but wants change, remaining within the constitutional limits. These are healthy signs for establishing a robust democratic order.
Pakistani people have shown great deal of patience and perseverance, bearing the appalling conditions of insecurity, lawlessness, inflation, energy crisis and rampant corruption, while the Afghan crisis has added terror, death and destruction in every day life. Things have never been so bad in the past, yet, there is the hope, that out of such depth of sorrow and sacrifice, Pakistani nation will rise to claim its rightful place, as a vibrant, peaceful and progressive nation.