Defence & Diplomacy

By Raja Mujtaba

Progressively, Turkey is assuming a greater role in the Islamic world and doing so with great confidence and responsibility. Ever since the Islamists have emerged as the frontline players in Turkey so has its acceptance increased in the Muslim world more so in Central Asia and Pakistan.

Its impact is bound to reflect in Pakistan politics as well, how and when time would tell but now the people are showing a complete shift from the political cults and mullah groups. This shift is essential to bring countries of the region on the same pitch and frequency. The power in waiting in Afghanistan is an Islamic force, Iran a confident and a proud state is already on the Islamic path so that makes it somewhat imperative for Pakistan to adhere to its Islamic ideology and philosophy of Dr Allama Iqbal (Iqbal Lahori) the disciple of Maulana Roomi. The new emerging political forces in Pakistan cannot and should not avoid this reality.

This conference was sponsored by Turkey and co-sponsored by Pakistan and Afghanistan is a third such conference held in Istanbul. Here in Turkey, these conferences have gained the confidence of the stake holders in general but the absence of the Taliban from the talks would not let it come to any conclusive results. Taliban are the victors and they cannot be dictated by the vanquished i.e. the US and NATO countries. By not including them into the talks these talks would meet the same fate as the Geneva Talks that were held between Pakistan and Soviet Union without the key players, the Afghan Mujahideen participation. General Zia-ul-Haq, the architect of Soviet defeat was opposing this conference without the participation of the Afghan Mujahideen;  without them peace in Afghanistan and the region was doomed to be denied. That is exactly what happened, after the Soviet departure that the Junejo government drummed the Geneva accord as a big victory, not realizing that Soviet union may have been defeated in the battle field but they were skilled negotiators and chess players. Before the ink on the accord dried, it was put to shredder by the Afghan Mujahidin who started off civil war; Afghanistan got embroiled in another bloody strife where the warlords were establishing their supremacy. Again by not inviting the Taliban to Istanbul parleys, history would be repeated.

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America behaved arrogant and did not take the advice of Pakistan when it said that the only solution to the problem is through dialogue with the Taliban, the US intoxicated with superior technology and weaponry thought they could wipe out the Taliban who had old vintage Soviet weaponry that was no match to the American might. Little realizing that a country can be destroyed but a nation cannot be defeated; Afghanistan has been destroyed but the people mostly in rag tags stood to every test driving Americans nuts. Every year the same words were repeated that now we have reached a conclusive period and Taliban would be routed out, democracy established and American hold firm over the country.  

Pakistan and Afghanistan are interlinked, inter-dependent and inter-related in multiple ways. These facts cannot be and must not be ignored. Somewhere down the road if Pakistan and Afghanistan become one political entity, it should not come as a surprise because it would be something that’s destined to happen. Once speaking to a senior diplomat of the Afghan Embassy, he said that Afghanistan cannot live without Pakistan; to me this statement was not  surprise as it’s a reality and with the passage of time Afghans and Pakistanis would get more closer for common objectives, goals, history, culture and religion. Once peace descends in the twin countries, the era of prosperity and development would start.

India is an outside player but being super imposed and grafted to the dislike of many in the region. India is taking advantage of this opportunity to expand and employ her doctrine of Hindutwa in combination with Zionism that dominates the US in particular and the world in general. It must not be forgotten that Hindutwa and Zionism are the two heads of the same serpent, out to kill the rest of the world. The people of the US should be more concerned about this serpent rather than wasting their energies on other issues that have been caused by this serpent but very covertly.

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India’s Foreign Minister S M Krishna in a meeting tried to play a sharp one and trap Pakistan’s Foreign Minister by saying that new mechanisms need to be developed to check instability in the region. Hina Rabbani Khar, came back sharp at him saying that there is already a mechanism in place in the shape of ECO that would suffice to tackle all issues. Here it must be mentioned that Hina Khar is silencing all her critics who were saying that she is too young to face twice her age whose experience is almost her age. On her US trip she kept a balance and a composure  like a seasoned statesman.

Americans are not only an arrogant bunch but a little over influenced by the Zionists and Hindutwas who want America to drag her feet in Afghanistan. India in particular is very keen to see Pakistan denuclearized and weakened if not truncated before American departure.  Today America supports her military bases in almost every country around the world, it’s not without a cost. The U.S. maintains 702 foreign military installations in 63 countries, although the bulk of the personnel and equipment stationed abroad are in Germany and South Korea. Overseas bases run the gamut, from the heavily used Army base in Wiesbaden, Germany, to little-used chemical storage yards in Italy.

In total, there are 44,900 buildings on overseas installations and about 190,000 active duty personnel plus thousands of spouses, dependents, civilian defense workers and contractors. Much of the maintenance at bases is contracted out, and even some smaller bases can be business jewels for international suppliers of required food and services.

Now in Afghanistan, the US is demanding to maintain 5 bases as a precondition to withdraw. To do so, they have built some huge complexes that would be much beyond the needs of the Afghan National Army, Air Force they have none. Basically it is to be maintained to influence Central Asia, China and Pakistan. Presently, the US is spending close to 70 billion dollars annually on Afghanistan, after withdrawal if it maintains five bases and the outsource most of the activities to the civilian contractors who are mercenaries, the expenses are certain to go higher. This would mean more drain on the taxpayer’s money with dwindling benefits and employments at home.

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Who forms the government in Afghanistan cannot be dictated by anyone, the rule of the game is that its victor’s privilege and right; in this case these are the Taliban who may expand their political base and include other ethnic groups of the country. It’s the people of Afghanistan and their opinion must be respected by all.

Though America has taken ten long years after hundreds and thousands of killings of innocent people that the need to talk to Taliban and it cannot be done without the active and sincere support of Pakistan. So for once they must repose complete trust in Pakistan and find an honourable exit. Now with Imran Khan emerging as a new political force, things could be different for the US.

Talking in Defence & Diplomacy of this week, the two guest participants were each clear and articulate in their discourse with full command of the subject matter. I really enjoyed this discussion on the Istanbul Conference. Air Marshal was superb and convincingly asserted that Pakistan was a part of the solution, which the Americans ignored for the past 10 years and now have come round to admit it. This was further convincingly highlighted by Barrister Peerzada that the Americans have no choice to ignore Pakistan. Without the Taliban, conference at Istanbul would be The Incomplete Conference