By Brig Asif Haroon Raja
I have been writing columns in local and foreign newspapers and websites since 2004. I got spurred into writings after getting perturbed over sudden turn in Pakistan’s geopolitical environments in the aftermath of 9/11 which many in Pakistan viewed as blessings in disguise for Pakistan since Pakistan’s debts had been rescheduled, investments were pouring in, overall economy had begun to come out of the woods and Pakistan came out of isolation.
While I agreed to a degree that Gen Musharraf had little choice but to cede to unreasonable demands of USA, I had strong reservations over the way he promptly accepted the US demands at his own and that too without matching returns. I didn’t like his throwing in his towel on a phone call from Collin Powel without taking the nation into confidence. In April 2004 I asked him pointed questions in Quetta Staff College on his US centric policy and how he was sure that the US would not betray Pakistan once again; his inclination to bring back Benazir and making his accountability selective out of political expediency; and whether there was a change in strategy or change of policy on Kashmir. He had no cogent reasons to answer my queries. Others who were praising him profusely were surprised how I could ask such questions and got away with it.
In my write ups and discussions I started sounding alarm bells about hidden American objectives from 2005 onwards. In my article titled ‘Indo-US-Afghan nexus in Afghanistan’, I dilated upon the emerging security threats to Pakistan. Thereon, I wrote series of security related articles and my thrust was towards the ill-designs of India and USA and had forewarned that their apparent friendship was a deception to trap Pakistan. I had repeatedly cautioned that Pakistan had been time and again betrayed by USA and India had never missed any opportunity to harm Pakistan and that the duo would do so again whenever they found the situation ripe to deliver the hammer. I had clearly said that Pakistan must not live under mistaken belief that it is a strategic partner of USA since Pakistan didn’t fit into the security paradigm of USA. I had said that it is India which is the actual strategic partner since the two had common objectives against Pakistan. In almost each article I had highlighted the objectives of India and USA which were to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamicize and balkanize Pakistan.
I had written number of articles on nuclear related concerns and how the strategic partners were going about tightening the noose under the garb of friendship to make Pakistan helpless and then extract its nuclear teeth. I have written copiously on terrorism, its causation and remedies asserting that Indo-US-Israeli axis was primarily responsible for fanning terrorism. I had highlighted negative implications of the US imposed war on terror on Pakistan and made proposals how to stem the downslide which was impacting the operational efficiency of the Army. I mentioned that India and USA had cleverly converted our assets in FATA into liabilities.
I extensively dwelled on Kashmir issue and held Musharraf responsible for compromising our principled stance on Kashmir based on UN resolutions and suggesting an out of box solution at his own and subsequently giving a deathblow to Kashmiri freedom struggle so as to appease India. Throughout his nine-year rule, Musharraf and his King’s Party kept looking at the rising level of foreign exchange and GDP and ignored what Pakistan was losing in terms of its sovereignty and integrity. Rise in economic graph also proved elusive.
I have been highly critical of the present democratic dispensation which has further messed up the messy security situation and also made the political and economic situation unstable because of incompetence, poor governance, record breaking corruption, cronyism, nepotism, defiance of rule of law and lackadaisical approach. The soiled rulers were installed in power by Washington after cleansing them in the infamous NRO washing machine. Issuance of NRO and letting Zardari replace him were among the biggest sins committed by Musharraf because of which the whole nation is suffering. With their hands and tongues tied by Washington, the chosen leaders were instructed to blindly obey the dictates of USA, remove all impediments in its way and protect its interests. Hussein Haqqani, Rehman Malik and retired Maj Gen Durrani and some others were their chosen confidantes given key appointments to obsequiously serve US interests.
The American duality began to surface in 2005 when it extended India lucrative civilian nuclear deal and denied the same to Pakistan saying that it was an irresponsible nuclear nation. It also signed high-tech defence deals with India worth billions of dollars while it maintained a tight fisted policy towards Pakistan in terms of release of close support funds and counter terrorism equipment. Virulent propaganda campaign against our nuclear program and our premier institutions by US think tanks and government controlled media together with leveling of unsubstantiated serious charges by US officials raised many eyebrows in Pakistan particularly when human rights abuses by Indian forces in Kashmir and other minorities in India were ignored.
Questions were asked as to why the US had adopted such a discriminatory policy when both were its allies and Pakistan was facing the main brunt of war on terror as a frontline state. Such a biased and unfriendly approach was a strong indication that all was not well on the American front and should have awakened our rulers from their complacency but nothing of the sort happened and policy of appeasement continued unabated.
Facilitating India to consolidate its position in Afghanistan on permanent basis by USA and allowing its intelligence agencies to carryout covert war against Pakistan and calculatingly shifting terrorism from Afghanistan into Pakistan resulting in rise of human and economic losses were hostile acts and should have alarmed our rulers, impelling them to take preventive measures. But lured by the shine of dollars, they refused to come out of the magic spell of USA. They kept saying that it was ‘our war and terrorist are an existential threat and will be fought with full force’. Zardari went to the extent of saying that India posed no threat to Pakistan.
I wrote several articles about the shady activities of Blackwater in Pakistan and its risky consequences but the Interior Minister flatly denied their presence and challenged that he would resign if one such operative was found. However, he always came to the rescue of Americans caught at wrong places and at odd times with weapons.
I commented over the dangerous intent behind Af-Pak policy announced in March 2009 which converted Pak-Afghan border into a single battle zone and making Durand Line redundant so as to allow US-NATO troops to undertake hot pursuit operations inside FATA. It was GHQ which put its foot down and disallowed joint or unilateral operations. I reckon intensification of drone attacks together with incidents of airspace and western border violations were retaliatory in nature and corollary to Af-Pak policy.
I pointed out involvement of foreign agencies in Swat when the US, Indian and Israeli origin weapons and equipment were seized in large quantities from the caves in control of the militants in Swat during Operation Rah-e-Rast. Even Hindu RAW agents pretending as Muslim fighters were caught. Defects in legal system were brought to fore since the law courts could not convict even a single terrorist nabbed by security forces. Even when foolproof evidence of RAW’s involvement in trouble spots were collected, policy of appeasement continued unabatedly.
Dismantlement of main base of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in South Waziristan (SW) in November 2009 after the disruption of TTP base in Bajaur and that of TNSM in Swat were not ordinary feats when viewed in context with the fact that fully motivated militants didn’t lack guts, had received higher training in Afghanistan by Indo-American trainers and equipped with all kinds of sophisticated weaponry and communication system to be able to fix the Army and continue fighting for next ten years.
Security forces suffered heavy casualties in these high-intensity operations. Despite collecting so much of foolproof evidence, the government as well as our media remained tight-lipped and didn’t consider it right to expose the double game of so-called allies. Its timidity emboldened the master planners to re-equip the disarrayed militants and re-launch them in other tribal agencies within six months. Otherwise the way they were battered and uprooted, it was not possible for them to strike again.
I am firmly of the view that war on terror was designed to pitch tribesmen against Pak Army, defame, weaken and exhaust the latter and make it operationally unfit to confront Indian military threat. I wrote several analytical articles on operations against militants in Swat, Bajaur and Waziristan and recommended that military gains should be consolidated and made lasting by rehabilitating the displaced persons, carrying out comprehensive development works, putting balm on their wounds to win their hearts and minds and reconverting them into our assets so that they turned their guns outwards rather than inwards. Very little has done to remove inequities of FATA.
One has to admire the impudence of Indian leaders who after fabricating 2001 and 2008 terror attacks in New Delhi and Mumbai, within hours started pointing fingers at Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba and ISI and soon after Indian media swung into action. Emotions of Indian public were raised to a pitch of frenzy and war hysteria was created. On both occasions, the whole might of military was mobilized and moved to the borders where it stayed on for months. They cried and beat their chests as if all hell had broken lose. Two years and six months have lapsed but India has neither forgotten Mumbai incident nor stopped blaming Pakistan. Even when Kargil issue heated up in May 1999, Indian leaders and media went crazy. Almost all Indian infantry formations were pushed into the conflict zone and pitched battles raged for over six weeks and ended only when India helped by USA and the west converted its intelligence failure and military defeat into victory through media war.
As opposed to Indian response to its huge intelligence failure and poor response of security forces against nine terrorists in Mumbai, if one makes a comparison of Pakistan’s response, it is simply pathetic. Well knowing that India with the blessing of USA is deeply involved in destabilizing Pakistan since 2002, our leaders and media are morally so bankrupt and passive that after each terrorist act of much greater magnitude than 2001 and 26/11, what to talk of militarily confronting it, they do not utter a word against it. They are so fearful of USA and India that they quickly name TTP and al-Qaeda even before any preliminary investigation is carried out. That way they absolve the patrons of TTP and earn kudos from them.
Our adversaries after pushing the flames of terrorism in FATA and interior Balochistan, spread the flames towards settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and then towards major cities of Pakistan. After the harassment phase, they have now started the final destructive phase in which major sensitive installations will be targeted one after the other. After PN Mehran Base incident on 22 May in which two highly expensive surveillance aircraft were destroyed by the unknown terrorists, next targets in all probability will be Rangers HQs, PAF installations, dockyards, defence factories, main grid stations, oil refineries etc. After few successful strikes, the paid hirelings will then be launched to strike one to two nuclear installations. High-pitched alarm bells will then be rung all over the world saying that their apprehensions have come true and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal has become unsafe and hence either it should be destroyed or taken over by UN force.
Although we are terribly behind in point of time and space since the whole country has got stuck in the deathtrap dug by our adversaries and it has become extremely difficult to retrieve the country out of it, but our rulers seem to be oblivious of the magnitude of the threat and are still taking things lightly. They still consider our adversaries as Pakistan’s well-wishers as was evident from the recent visit of John Kerry to Islamabad. Mike Mullen is being entertained and forthcoming visit of Hillary Clinton is keenly awaited so that the intoxication of US magic spell is re-energized, enabling them to remain intoxicated. Ironically the military helplessly looks on at the speedy enslavement of Pakistan as silent spectators hoping that some divine help will shoo away the demons bent upon destroying Pakistan.
Dear readers, if you feel satisfied with our work please donate so we improve upon it further. Your donations are worth a million.