A NEW MOVE TO TRAP PAKISTAN
On February 28, 2010, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal, while addressing the Indian media accompanying the Indian Premier Dr. Manmohan Singh emphasized Pakistani leadership to get united against the terrorism. He said, “Saudi Arabia believed that it was the duty of the political leaders of Pakistan to unite and see to it that extremism did not find its way again into the country. This can only happen by a united political leadership in Pakistan and we hope that this work will be achieved”. Prior to this he had an hour and half meeting with the visiting Indian Prime Minister.
For a moment the statement bemused me as if still we stand divided on the scourge, whether to fight the terrorism, already knocked our doors. But, I immediately evoked my memories, that, there was a time once we were reluctant to own this menace of the terrorism as our issue, because Pakistani nation has been a peace loving nation and we did not inherit this menace. It is indeed, a global afflict, thrust upon Pakistani society, following the so-called Afghan Jihad (1979-1989). Arab Jihadists, particularly from Saudi Arabia had played an important role in spreading scourge of extremism and terrorism on either side of the Pak-Afghan border. A sizable portion of these foreigners along with the local militants are still fighting against the Pakistani security forces in some parts of the FATA. Following the 9/11, it was a Saudi dissident, Osma Bin Laden, in whose pursuit; United States attacked and invaded Afghanistan. The US invasion fuelled the terrorism in Afghanistan and because of geographical contiguity and religious and cultural synchronization; Pakistani society could not remain unaffected from the spread of this curse.
Since terrorism was never of the Pakistani origin, therefore for quite some time the nation was in a state of dithering, whether to own it. But since last few years, once the menace heavily damaged our social strand, we fully owned it as our problem and are combating it at national level. The worries of the Saudi Prince about the ongoing political situation in Pakistan seem archaic. Nonetheless, his tardy advice is worth scrutiny.
Indeed, just to keep the crowd posted, Pakistan as a nation as well as its leadership stands united against the menace. Have not the world community witnessed the military operations like Ray-e-Raast and Ray-e-Nijad to fight out the terrorist infested areas of the Swat-Malakand and Waziristan. The success in these operations cannot be attributed to Armed Forces only, but, the nation as a whole. As recently said by the Chief of Army Staff, that success in all the military operations are because of the support of the masses.
So for, Pakistan has lost over 3000 combat soldiers in this long drawn out fight against the terrorism. Otherwise over 25,000 people lost their lives either at the hands of terrorists in various bomb blasts, suicide attacks or during the fight against the militants. No other country of the world has suffered at the hands of terrorists the way Pakistan has suffered literally in all fields. And similarly, none has scarified as much as Pakistan did during this war on terror for the safety and security of its own country as well its neighboures like Afghanistan and rest of the Muslim world.
While analysing the statement, we need to know the circumstances, which obliged the Saudi Foreign Minister to give a public advisory to Pakistani leadership. Indeed, behind the statement, the meeting between the Saudi Foreign Minister and Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh played a persuasive role. Indian Premier emphasized the host to persuade Pakistan for the stoppage of so-called cross border terrorism on India. Even during his address with the Saudi Majlis-ash-Shura, the Saudi parliament, also called Shura Council, a rare honour accorded to any foreign dignitary, Manmohan Singh not “only sought investments from the Islamic kingdom but also pressed the need for Pakistan to act decisively against terrorism”. During his meeting with King Abdullah, Dr. Singh has particularly mentioned about the terrorism and later said that, “I explained to him the role that terrorism – aided, abetted and inspired by Pakistan – is playing in our country. And I did not ask for him to do anything other than to use his good offices to persuade Pakistan to desist from this path.”
Indian hue and cry against Pakistan in the Saudi Darbar has another subtext. On February 25, 2010, Indo-Pakistan Foreign Secretaries held a daylong talk for the resolution of all outstanding issues between both countries. The talks were held on the insistence of the Pakistan. Surely international community, especially US has also persuaded India to resume the talks, suspended following the Mumbai terror attacks. But ever since November 2008, India has been constantly denying the resumption of the dialogue, whereas Pakistan persistently persuaded India that dialogue is the only way to resolve the bilateral core issues as well as the impromptu problems arise from time to time. What compelled India to suddenly offered Pakistan for the talks. It is strongly believed that India wanted to create a good will at the international level; particularly with the Saudi Arabia and United Sates that it believes in the negotiations, in spite of being a prey to the so-called terrorism from Pakistan like Mumbai attack. Just two days after the dialogue, Indian Premier was to proceed on Saudi tour, and the talks provided it a convincing base to create chimera in the mind of Saudi leadership about Pakistan. In a way this is a move for the isolation of Pakistan from its time tested Muslim brethrens like Saudi Arabia.
Indeed, India played a similar game with Pakistan in 1990s, once it created a rip between Pakistan and Iran. After doing that, it started exploiting Pak-Iran relationship negatively and got herself closer to Iran. In order to down play the Pak-Iran relationship, India undertook some of the major developmental projects in Iran. It conceived, designed and constructed the Chhabahar port in competition with the Pakistani Gwader port. In return, it got a lot of oil from the Iran on concessional rates. India also got a lot of trade and economic concessions for its imports and exports with Iran. Through the construction of North-South Corridor, India has been given access to Afghanistan and Central Asian States.
It has been granted over 80 percent concessions in port duties for exports of its goods to Afghanistan and CARs via Iran. It has been abusing the Iranian soil (especially the Zaheaden consulate) for promoting terrorism in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, in a way swindled Iran even. However, on the issue of Iranian nuclear programme, India twice voted against Iran, just to please United States. On the IPI gas pipeline project, India backed out after making firm commitments on a number of occasions. This was again on the American pressure, who wanted to isolate the Iran by disrupting its economic outlet. Contrary to Iranian interest, India became a staunch supporter and ally of Israel. It purchased a number of latest weapon system from Israel and undertook defence cooperation with it. In a way, India has betrayed the trust of Iran, by harming its interests; both at the regional and global level at a critical point of time.
There is need to understand that what extraordinary love India has developed overnight for Saudi Arabia, the guardian of the holy places of the Muslims. Is it an enhanced love for the Muslims Ummah less Pakistan and Indian Muslims or a strategic manoeuvring for securing its interests at the global level? Surely, India has no interest with the Muslim Ummah, as it has been ill treating its own over 15 percent Muslim population, ever since its independence in 1947. The incident of Babri Mosque-1992, Gujarat riots-2002, Indian Occupied Kashmir since 1947 and such like many other anti-Muslim campaigns; mandated to ask Muslims either to join Hinduism or quit India are sufficient examples of Indian brutalities against Muslims.
However, over the years, India is getting closer to the Arab world especially Saudi Arabia for the accomplishment of a number of its strategic interests. The first and the foremost Indian objective is to secure its economic interests. Currently, India is importing bulk of its oil from Saudi Arabia. It intends a steady and unremitting flow of the oil from Saudi Arabia in the garb of strategic partnership. As Prince Saud al Faisal, told Indian media that; “we are moving towards a strategic cooperation between our two countries”. The Saudi Foreign Minister also said that, “the relations between the two countries have moved in manifold,” ever since King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz visited India in 2006. Searching for the secure markets for Indian goods and attaining job opportunities for its nationals is yet another motive behind the enhanced Indian collaboration with the Arab countries.
The second Indian motive is getting closer to the Middle East in general and Gulf countries in particular through Saudi Arabia, the leading country of the Arab world. There exists a great disparity in Indian relationship with the Arab world. On one hand, India is the key partner and co-worker of the Israel, the enemy of the whole Muslim Arab world. Whereas on the other hand, through the phony intuition of intimacy with the Arab world, India rapidly growing its relationship with the Muslims of the Middle East. The important factor needs to be reminded to the Muslim world is that India has been and is still violating the basic human rights of Muslims in the so-called secular India by killing thousands of innocent Muslims. Its security forces have massacred over 100,000 Kashmiri Muslims, a state India forcefully occupying since 1947. A similar massacre is being undertaken by Israel in the areas of its occupation right in the heart of the Arab world. Why should Arabs forget Israeli massacres on the innocent people of Palestine? The Gaza killings of a year ago and the Sabra and Shatila brutalities of Israeli Army and Air Force in 1980s are still remembered as the most inhuman incidents in the history of mankind.
The third motive is to seek Saudi help in securing of Indian interests in Afghanistan. Indeed, under the US auspices, Saudi Arabia has been traditionally involved in the Afghan affairs since the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in 1979. Apart from the close association, it has been funding the Mujahedeen and Taliban throughout until 9/11. Although Saudi Arabia has started disowning the Taliban as recently highlighted by Prince Saud al Faisal that, “there is no relation between Saudi Arabia and Taliban. The relation deteriorated between the two sides because Taliban gave sanctuary to Al Qaeda”. India which is already involved in the Afghan affairs, desire a backing from Saudi Arabia and rest of the Arab world. Isolation of Pakistan from the Muslim world is indeed the veiled motive, over ridding all others mentioned above. Pakistan considers that Indian presence in Afghanistan is a source of instability in that country as well as in the region. The sooner India is out from Afghanistan, there would be a return of the peace and stability in that war-torn country. To Pakistan, peace in Afghanistan is more important than the long term Indian interests.
Muslim word must realize that killer of thousands of the Muslims in her own country and occupied areas cannot be a friend of the Muslims elsewhere in the world. These are vested interests of India, compelling her to get closer to the hydrocarbon rich Muslim world and also to search for the markets for Indian goods. Otherwise Muslims of the Pakistan and its own 160 million Muslim populations deserves more justified and sympathetic behaviour being the followers of the same religion, if at all India has unexpectedly developed a love for the Muslims Ummah.
By no means, Pakistan opposes the bilateral relationship of India with any Muslim country of the world including Iran and Saudi Arabia. However, created on the Islamic ideology, it considers its ingenuous obligation to caution the Muslim world about the true Indian designs. The fact is that India along with US and Israel desires to create a split among the Muslim world. We have been exploited enough by the anti-Muslim forces in our history. For how long should we tolerate the foreign dictates? Let this be a fruit for thought for the Muslim world in order to reach over to some productive outcome, before it is too late.
Dr Raja Muhammad Khan has done his PhD in International Relations from Karachi University. Presently he is an Associate Professor with National Defence University, Islamabad.
Of recent, he has started to contribute his articles to www.oly.com.pk