TIME FOR AMERICA TO DO MORE
The puppets are puppets and the human beings are human beings. No puppet can replace a man and so is it in the case of any ruler, may that be the president of Afghanistan. Almost 168 years back, during the first Anglo-Afghan war, the British after contriving the over throw of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan who surrendered to the British after some resistance, and was deported to India; Shah Shuja was installed as a "puppet king" by them. Ironically the puppet was killed by the Afghans within months and they continued their struggle for freedom under the leadership of Akbar Khan who later emerged as a hero, whom they remember and respect even today. The interesting thing is that the dare devil Afghans made the British lick the dust in a way that in January 1842, out of 16,500 soldiers and 12,000 dependents only a solitary survivor, of mixed British-Indian garrison, was allowed by the Afghan warriors to reach back to Jalalabad Fort, on a stumbling pony.
This bitter truth was repeatedly being reminded to the adventurous Americans ever since the day they landed in Afghanistan but the stubborn Bush junior associated by a red neck squad didn’t pay any heed to it. The good thing about the European and categorically the British is that they believe in learning from the history while in the case of (a number of) Americans, unfortunately they qualify the quote that, “The lesson learnt from the history is that we didn’t learn anything”. The Vietnam and the Iraq war are the classic examples of it.
With the swearing in of president Obama as a new hope for the world peace the world quite rightly expected him to undo the bloopers credited to George W. Bush. Though it was quite difficult for the Obama Team to wrap up the misdoings of Bush clan, however the new occupants of the White House did show some positive signs and among those one was to honour the advise repeatedly given to the Americans by the world generally and the Pakistanis categorically to thin out from Afghanistan before it was too late for them.
It is very unfortunate that Pakistan who dedicatedly fought the GWOT right in the face of it was never appreciated for its noteworthy contribution and great sacrifices in terms of human life, collateral damage and economic losses during the last eight years, as a frontline state. It is a globally known fact that Pakistan’s economy suffered huge losses, as much as $68 billion in terms of exports, foreign investment, privatization and industrial production, due to turmoil in Afghanistan. Even now, Pakistan’s national economy is exclusively suffering a net loss of $7 billion annually as fallout of the war against terror, which has displaced thousands of people.
On the other hand it would be highly unfair and unjust if Pakistan’s fervent and whole hearted role as the only force standing in front of the terrorism is doubted. Agreed that the Americans are fighting a war (right or wrong) in Afghanistan but that’s a pitched battle against an enemy while Pakistan is the only country who is facing the music of terrorism all by itself. No one can deny the sacrifices mentioned by the Pakistan army’s Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, a month back while talking to media. He informed media that roughly well over two thousand Pakistani army officers and soldiers had been killed in the fighting by that date which included one three-star General, two two-star generals and five brigadiers as the martyrs.
Pakistan who would never take a chance to take its eyes off from the Eastern borders, pulled out an alarming number of troops, for reposting them on the western frontiers to enhance the strength along the Afghan border, as much as a total of 140,000 or little more Pakistani troops vis-à-vis 70,000 NATO & US troops. Saying is much easier than comprehending but those heartless Western quarters who blame Pakistan for playing a ‘Double Game’ must find some reason for the young dedicated and die hard Pakistani soldiers who embraced martyrdom without even thinking for a minute about those infants or spouses in their teens whom they left behind before laying their lives to make this restive world more peaceful. Those American think tanks having notorious Indian and Zionist characters in their ranks and files must find some reason, for those more or less seventy-three intelligence officers to embrace martyrdom, before blaming Pakistan’s spy agencies to play a double game. But, tragically, despite these all sacrifices, what Pakistan is bagging quite off and on, in return is merely a total humiliation, trauma and degradation in the name of homeland security and of course a constant chanting of slogan ‘Do More’, an illogical, baseless and unethical demand by the mesmerised western quarters under the Indian and Zionist influence.
Pleasantly, the things are quite changed now, contrary to March 2000 when the then US president Bill Clinton touched down at Islamabad merely for few hours to admonish Pakistan and to ignore the arrogant Gen Musharraf. Now, exactly ten years later Pakistan is being expected at a place where it should have been accepted long time back. The strategic dialogues are commencing on March 24, 2010 and for the first time it appears that the suffered Americans seriously means business which would not be possible without sidelining the Indian and Zionist lobbies who desperately desire to incapacitate these sincere and serious dialogues meant for a peaceful and Us friendly Afghanistan. The Indian interest is quite obvious as they dream to lick the lollypop under the American umbrella which they are afraid that will be snatched (obviously) from them in case the eager Americans say goodbye to the rugged land.
Honestly speaking for the first time it looks that the Americans are seriously looking for a clean and honourable disengagement which will not be possible if the main characters are bypassed as the smart Afghan president Karzai is attempting to do. Pakistan, as repeatedly said, has a role to play in Afghanistan whereas the Indians have only one thing to do and that is to pack up and go back home, hence the moral of the story is that the training of Afghan troops by the Indians will not be acceptable to Pakistan at any cost.
It is strongly hoped that the Pakistani grievances are going to be seriously addressed and accommodated. If the Americans genuinely desire a long lasting peace in Afghanistan then they must do the following; first, hold and hand-cuff those ‘hands’ who are adding fuel to the fire in FATA, Waziristan and Swat (believe me it would be very convenient for them to do). It should also be remembered that neither Pakistan nor America can afford any further adventure if the latter is seriously planning to withdraw its troops for good from Afghanistan. Amidst this all there is a dire need to be put an end to the Indian covert operations against Pakistan from the Afghan soil.
Secondly, the water theft by the Indian should not be taken lightly. The Americans should not be taken aback if any near future war between these two arch rivals is fought on the water issue as the Indians are shamelessly holding the water of those three rivers allocated to Pakistan through Indus Basin Water treaty. It amounts to strangulating Pakistan’s lifeline and no one can tolerate this nonsense for an indefinite period. In the current scenario when the possibilities of any future wars are foreseen on the water issue, how could an Indo-Pakistan battle for the same reason be an exception? So, the moral of the story is that Ms. Hilary Clinton will have to play a positive role, instead of showing some inability in this regard, provided Americans seriously need some great favours from Pakistan.
Thirdly, if the US leadership earnestly desires to establish some long term and objective strategic relations with Pakistan and have a long to leave behind a friendly Afghanistan then the US government should refrain from offering peanuts to Pakistan. When you throw peanuts you only get monkeys and not friends. After all what else the $1.3 Billion per year of economic aid be termed if not peanuts if it is compared with the one given to Israel ($ 60 Billion), Egypt ($ 30 Billion) and Turkey during the first Iraq war ($48 Billion)?
And last but not the least is the Kashmir issue, the mother of all disputes between these two countries. If the Indians sincerely desire the peace in the Subcontinent then they must discontinue the reign of terror against ill fated and unarmed Kashmiris for which the Indian security forces in Indian Held Kashmir are globally held responsible. The massive human rights violation should be brought to the notice of US leaders and they must be cautioned that not treating the Kashmir issue as a Flash Point will not only be unfair but precarious as well.
As stated by Jeff Gates through his articles published in www.oly.com.pk once again the US is direly in need of Pakistan and the latter as a sincere friend would not hesitate showing them to the door. However, the Americans should not forget at any point that Pakistan has a geographical, religious, cultural and inherited role to play in Afghanistan which no one can deny. They must remember one more thing that despite their impish efforts to name the terrorists in Pakistan as TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), no harm could be done to the genuine Taliban of Afghanistan. They are sane and sons of the soil and without involving them in any parleys peace in Afghanistan can never prevail or prosper and that should be the crux of the current strategic dialogues between Pakistan and the USA are concerned. After all, the Americans would not be very pleased to see Gen. McChrystal coming home back as a solitary survivor.
Pakistan has delivered more than expected from her as a war ally and above all as a ‘friend’ and it’s high time for the US to remember that there will be No More ‘Do More’. After all the puppets are puppets and the human beings are human beings.
Sohail Parwaz is an accomplished writer on varied subjects. He is a regular writer for www.oly.com.pk