By Sajjad Shaukat for Opinion Maker.
Controversial debate continues between Pakistan and the United States in connection with the arrest of American national, Raymond Davis who is an under-cover secret agent of American CIA, and has become a symbol of anti-American resentment in Pakistan because of the dreadful murder of two innocent Pakistanis in Lahore and subsequent suicide by the wife of one of his victims.
Like other US high officials, even President Barack Obama urged Pakistan on February 15 this year to free Raymond as he has diplomatic immunity under the Geneva Convention. Meanwhile, the visiting Chairman of the US Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, while addressing a press conference in Lahore pointed out that issue of “Davis has nothing to do with local courts as diplomats enjoy immunity…we cannot allow that one incident can break the strong relationship between the two countries.”
On the other side, legal experts in Pakistan opine that Raymond Davis is a murderer who has no diplomatic immunity. Many Pakistanis are suspicious about Davis, who was arrested with loaded weapons, a GPS satellite tracking device, photographs of Pakistan’s defence installations and tribal areas, while American authorities are still silent about his role in Pakistan.
It is notable that the former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has stated that he was dropped from the new cabinet owing to his principled position on the question of diplomatic immunity to the killer, and he adopted a stance, seen by majority of people.
Some sources confirms that Raymond Davis has visited Pakistan twice under the cover of diplomatic status, and this time he came with changed name to conceal his identity. However, Davis is killer and is an agent of CIA, while Washington is blackmailing Islamabad by applying coercive diplomacy. In this respect, on the one hand, US high officials say that on the issue of Davis, America will not break relations with Pakistan; while on the other, they continue pressure on Islamabad for his immediate release.
The issue of Raymond Davis is not new one as past history of Pak-US ties prove that America has always blackmailed Pakistan on various occasions. In this context, it is of particular attention that in the aftermath of the November 26 catastrophe of Mumbai, Washington, while tilting towards India had blackmailed Islamabad. Setting aside the ground realties that Pakistan, itself, has been the major victim of terrorism, which has been bearing multiple losses in combating this menace since 9/11, with the support of the US, Indian blame game against Islamabad, continued during exchange of information between the two neighbouring countries regarding Mumbai mayhem.
While, rejecting Pakistan’s stand that its government or any official agency was not involved in the Mumbai attacks, presenting one after another list of bogus evidence, New Delhi wanted to make Islamabad accept all other Indian demands since our rulers admitted on February 12, 2009 that Ajmal Kasab is Pakistani national and Mumbai terror-attacks were “partially planned in Pakistan.”
In fact, being a responsible state actor, Islamabad’s admission which had emboldened New Delhi was forced by the US-led some western countries which have continuously been blackmailing Pakistan by insisting upon our government to “do more” against the militancy in the tribal areas by ignoring internal backlash and sacrifices of our security forces during war on terror—while paying no attention to the Lahore-terror attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team including other similar terror-incidents. In that context, India wanted to avail the Mumbai tragedy in increasing further pressure on Pakistan with the help of America in order to force Islamabad to confess that all the terrorists responsible for Mumbai attacks came from Pakistan. In that respect, US former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice and British Foreign Secretary Milliband who had visited India and Pakistan stressed upon Islamabad to take actions against the banned Jamaatud Dawa and the already banned Lashkar-i-Tayba. Speaking in Indian tune, they had also said that the terrorists involved in the Mumbai events came from Pakistan.
In that connection, Ameria had played a key role in getting passed a resolution through the UN Security Council which added Pakistan-based Jamaatud Dawa and four of its leaders to the list of Al Qaeda-related terrorists. Without any doubt, this similar approach by the US and India show that these states are in collusion to destabilize and ‘denuclearise’ Pakistan through blackmailing diplomacy as demands on Pakistan to take action against the Jamaatud Dawa and its related welfare organistions including admission regarding the departure of the Mumbai culprits from our soil were forced. And Islamabad accepted these false allegations as our country was facing serious internal and external challenges of grave nature.
In the recent past, IMF decided to sanction loan to Pakistan after American green signal. Past experience proves that economic dependence on foreign countries always brings political dependence in its wake. While, at that critical juncture, our country had been facing precarious financial problem, US-led some western allies compelled Pakistan to accept some Indian false demands.
Hollowness of New Delhi’s allegations and forced admission of Islamabad could be gauged from the fact that on February 27, 2009, Pakistan’s Naval Chief of Staff Admiral Nuaman Bashir remarked that he had no proof that Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman of the Mumbai attacks used Pakistani waters to reach India. The statement of our naval chief coupled with American duress makes it quite clear that Mumbai mayhem was pre-planned by the Indian intelligence agency, RAW to further distort the image of Pakistan in the comity of nations.
Another example of blackmailing is that the US is emphasising Islamabad to to take action against the militants of North Waziristan. It also continuous drone attacks on Pakistan’s soil without bothering for the sovereignty of the country.
Inaction of the US-led west over Hindu terrorism and such duplicity undoubtedly indicates that America and major European states have their common interest in India. Hence, they blindly support New Delhi’s shrewd diplomacy against Islamabad. These major countries only tolerate Pakistan owing to its role as a frontline state against terrorism, otherwise, they leave no stone unturned in blackmailing our country so as to harm our interests. In this respect, forced demands on Pakistan regarding Mumbai mayhem entailing accusation of cross-border terrorism either in Afghanistan or the Indian-held Kashmir are also part of this blackmailing practice.
In fact, we are living in an unequal world order. The prevalent global system tends to give a greater political and economic leverage to the affluent developed nations who could safeguard their interests at the cost of the weaker countries. Whenever, any controversy arises on the controversial issues, the UN Security Council enforces the doctrine of collective security against the small states, while the five big powers protect their interests by using veto. This shows discrimination between the powerful and the weaker. In this context, it is notable that in 2001, UN had permitted the United States to attack Afghanistan under the cover of right of self-defence. In case of the Indian occupied Kashmir, the issue still remains unresolved as UN resolutions regarding the plebiscite were never implemented because Washington and some western powers support the illegitimate stand of India due to their collective interests.
Particularly, in economic context, the world order reflects greater disparities as the flow of capital and credit system is also dominated by the United States and other developed countries—the consequent result is an increase in the activities of the Multinationals which have shattered the economies of the poor developing states. Besides, international financial institutions like I.M.F and World Bank are under the control of the US and its partners who protect their interests by blackmailing the governments of the small states through financial pressure. In these terms, US-led countries especially blackmail Pakistan directly or indirectly.
In sense of Hobbes, Machiavelli and Morgenthau, a renowned strategic thinker, Thomas Schelling remarks about the US, “coercion to be an effective tool of foreign policy.” Kissinger also endorses politics of bargaining and pressure through threats, coercion and even violence as essential elements of the American diplomacy. In this regard, diplomacy itself becomes the real tool of blackmailing.
Returning to our earlier discussion, Raymond Davis is a murderer, but the US blackmails Pakistan for his release as the latter depends upon Washington for military and economic aid in wake of multi-faceted problems. America should remember that it also depends upon Pakistan which is a frontline state of the US war on terror, and without Islamabad’s support the sole superpower cannot win this ‘different war’ against terrorism.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations.