'If you fool me once shame on you, if you fool me the second time, shame on me.' Jeff Gates
By Brig Asif Haroon Raja
The US and the west are biased and prejudiced in their dealings with the Muslims. Pakistan is a test case in this regard particularly when seen in context with non-Muslim India. Some of the noteworthy events which highlight their discriminatory attitude towards Pakistan are given in succeeding paragraphs.
The partition plan of India was finalized by the British in June 1947 after the Congress and Muslim League, the two contenders agreed to the terms and conditions. However, when it came to demarcation of boundaries, Radcliffe egged on by Mountbatten played dirty and unjustly awarded several territories forming part of Pakistan to India and reduced Pakistan into a moth eaten Pakistan. Had the rules been followed by Mountbatten-Radcliffe combine justly, India and Pakistan would have been living as peaceful neighbors.
Among the host of blatant wrongs inflicted upon Pakistan, the severest injustice was the decision to award Gurdaspur to India which allowed land link to India, enabling Indian forces to move to Jammu and occupy Muslim dominated Kashmir. Even after gobbling up all the 565 princely Indian states, India’s insatiable greed didn’t get satiated and it forcibly occupied Kashmir against the wishes of its people. India justified its occupation on the basis of controversial letter of accession coercively obtained from Hindu ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh at a time when the Kashmiris were on the verge of dethroning him and ending his pitiless Dogra rule.
In the early 1950s, when the US under Eisenhower wanted to contain communist expansionism in South Asia and Middle East and had planned a defensive arc, India and not Pakistan was its first choice. It was only when India and Afghanistan flatly refused that it was left with no option but to make Pakistan part of SEATO and CENTO. Pakistan accepted the offer because of its acute security concerns from hostile India and unfriendly Afghanistan.
During and after Indo-Sino border conflict in 1962, the US and the west stood behind India and filled up its arsenal with weapons and equipment. By so doing, it tilted the regional military balance towards India well knowing that it was a camp follower of USSR and was receiving Soviet weaponry in huge quantity.
During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, the US blocked supply of arms, ammunition and spares to Pakistan and India, despite knowing that Moscow was continuing to supply India its defence needs uninterruptedly. Pakistan’s stock levels of its reserve became so critical that it had to reluctantly agree to ceasefire at a stage when its strategic reserves were well poised to mount a counter offensive in Ravi-Chenab corridor. The US military and economic sanctions seriously jeopardized Ayub Khan’s second five-year development plan which had all the potential to address east-west economic imbalance.
The US once again stopped the flow of military supplies to Pakistan after March 1971 while India kept receiving shiploads and planeloads of defence material from Moscow which placed Pakistan at a serious disadvantage when the war broke out in late November 1971. The US, western world as well as the UN remained drawn towards India while Pakistan was left high and dry and none came to its rescue when it was fragmented. India was never admonished for supporting Bengali rebels wanting to secede from Pakistan and for indulging in cross border terrorism from April 1971 onwards.
India was let off by USA and the west for its nuclear explosion at Pokhran in 1974. But when ZA Bhutto expressed his intentions to make Pakistan nuclear, he was threatened of dire consequences. While India’s progress in nuclear program with the help of Moscow and Canada was ignored, Pakistan’s nuclear program was subjected to relentless acrimony. A willful malicious propaganda campaign was unleashed in the 1980s and spectre of Islamic bomb was raised to frighten the world. At that time when Pakistan had not declared that its program was weapon oriented, it was alleged that Pakistan was likely to pass over the bomb to radical Muslim states in the Middle East.
Harsh sanctions were imposed on Pakistan by USA in 1965, 1971, 1979, 1990 and 1998 and thus became the most sanctioned country in the world despite being known as the most allied ally of USA. India on the other hand was never punished either by USSR or USA despite its poor track record in state terrorism, cross border terrorism and human rights violations. Despite series of sanctions, Pakistan’s economy till 1990 was much healthier than India. But for US and Israel’s wholehearted assistance, Indian economy would have remained in doldrums.
The visible discriminatory incline was again seen on the occasion of nuclear tests first by India and then by Pakistan in May 1998. While India was given a polite slap on the wrist, all hell broke lose on Pakistan. Its sin has not been forgiven to this day since nuclear capability with a Muslim state is unacceptable to USA, Europe, Russia and India. China and North Korea are the only two non-Muslim countries that have no ill-designs against Pakistan’s nuclear program. Rather, the two have contributed towards it. Deliberate efforts are underway to disable Pakistan’s nuclear program.
As early as early 1980s, India and Israel had on several occasions jointly tried to destroy Kahuta plant through a surprise surgical strike. A day before Pakistan intended to conduct its tests at Chaghai, the duo had come perilously close to executing its sinister plan. Their efforts failed due to extraordinary vigilance of Pakistan’s security forces and their capability to strike back at Indian nuclear sites.
Discrimination of USA can be gauged from the fact that while it has awarded civilian nuclear deal to India in violation of NPT so as to allow India to upgrade its weapon grade nuclear capability hugely, it has denied the same to Pakistan and also wants to roll back its modest program. While it has no objection to India inking nuclear agreements with Russia, Japan, France and Israel, it expresses its deepest concerns over China installing another reactor at Chashma. The US has also been trying to smuggle out enriched uranium from Pakistan. In the conventional field also, while India has been given full leverage to shop latest state-of-art weapons from anywhere in the world, Pakistan could get its F-16s after a delay of 23 years. Even counter terrorism equipment is given with undue hesitancy so as not to displease India.
During the Kargil conflict, the whole lot of G-20 countries led by USA came down heavily upon Pakistan. Intense pressure was put on Pakistan to withdraw its forces from occupied territories within disputed occupied Kashmir. Ultimately it was forced to give up its gains without getting anything in return. No mention was made over the resolution of Kashmir dispute which has been the chief bone of contention between the two rival countries since 1947. Despite knowing that Kashmir is a flashpoint, the US has distanced itself from playing any part towards its resolution. It has however been applying pressure on Pakistan to settle the dispute on Indian terms by accepting Line of Control (LoC) as permanent border.
India has never been accused of its massive human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir and against Indian Muslims and other religious minorities in India. Ignoring the UN resolutions, which clearly lay down the need for a fair plebiscite under UN auspices, and also turning a deaf ear to the aspirations of people of Kashmir and their freedom struggle raging since 1989, the US and the west remain mum and never question India. Instead, they tend to agree with India’s cockeyed stance that the liberation movement is Pakistan aided and fall within the category of terrorism. Now when the armed resistance has got converted to unarmed movement led by teenagers demanding freedom from India, the champions of democracy and human rights are still tightlipped. The western media has failed to expose the atrocities of Indian security forces.
In the last six months, 120 unarmed civilians, mostly small boys aged between 8 and 15, girls, women and old people have been mercilessly gunned down when they were carrying out peaceful demonstrations. All told, well over 100,000 civilians have been massacred since 1989. Besides, tens of thousands have been injured and crippled; thousands are missing and thousands of women including small girls raped and many gang-raped and killed. There is no accountability of the accused and Indian soldiers, paramilitary forces and police have been given a license to kill under black laws.
While the US and the whole western world have closed their eyes and ears to the cries of hapless Kashmiris, ceaselessly persecuted for the last two decades, their dead conscience become alive at slightest news of human rights in Pakistan. An odd incident of human rights violations in Swat against the terrorists was drummed up full scale even though the veracity of the video aired by an unknown website has yet not been established. Such are the ways of morally bankrupt having dual standards for the Muslims and non-Muslims.
India enjoys a status of an observer in war on terror. It has not committed a single soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq to fight the militants. It has however inducted thousands of regulars in Afghanistan disguised as road builders and intelligence operatives for covert operations against Pakistan. On the other hand Pakistan is fighting US dictated war on terror since 2001 and has committed nearly 150,000 troops in its fight against the militants in the northwest supported by foreign agencies. Its casualty rate is many times more than any of the 48 countries involved in the counter insurgency. Yet the wrath of USA falls on Pakistan and affections and benefits are reserved for India. Hypocritically, it agrees to India’s stance that it is the victim of terrorism. The US wants India and not Pakistan which is immediate neighbor of Afghanistan to be a key player in Afghan affairs once it departs.
During the Indo-Pak military standoff in 2002 when the entire military might of India had got deployed on the eastern border of Pakistan on a fabricated charge that Pakistan was behind the terrorist attack on Indian Parliament and had termed it as an equivalent to 9/11, the US sympathized with India and made no effort to make it pull back its forces from the border. Compare this attitude with its inequitable behavior it demonstrated during Kargil affair.
If one recalls, that was the time when Pakistan had ditched a friendly neighbor at the behest of America and had lent all out support to US military to help it in toppling Taliban regime in Kabul. It had deployed 70,000 troops along its western border to prevent the fleeing Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters to enter Pakistan or to arrest them. As a consequence to US policy of appeasement of India, the latter remained deployed in an aggressive posture for ten months. Since Pakistan was on the right and India on the wrong, the latter had to withdraw with egg on its face.
The US pressured Pakistan to ban and freeze the accounts of six Jihadi groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba engaged in supporting their brethren in Kashmir trying to achieve freedom from the cruel clutches of India. It also forced Musharraf to let India fence the LoC in Kashmir, control cross LoC movement. These steps took the life out of freedom movement and relieved India of a huge pressure since its 700,000 forces had been unable to cow down the Kashmiris. It gave an opportunity to Indian military leaders to crow that its forces had succeeded in snuffing out terrorism in Kashmir. Jihadi groups deprived of Jihad in retaliation turned their guns towards own security forces and also got aligned with Tehrik-e-Taliban and TNSM. War on terror thus crept into Pakistan and gradually engulfed the whole country.
Pretending to be a strategic ally, the US allowed CIA and intelligence agencies of India, Israel, Britain and Afghanistan to carryout intensive covert operations against selected regions in Pakistan from Afghan soil with a view to weaken Pakistan’s hold over nuclear arsenal. Balochistan and FATA were selected as targets for subversion. CIA and FBI helped RAW, Mossad and RAAM agents to establish their roots in chosen regions. All these agencies involved in toppling regimes, assassinating personalities and supporting internal movements in other countries do not irk US leaders. However, ISI trying to foil foreign inspired conspiracies displeases them. They want the ISI to be cut to size so that it is not in a position to put up a frontline defence for Pakistan.
When Mumbai attacks took place in November 2008, the entire western world and USA began to sympathize with India and are still doing so. USA and UK in particular agreed with the contention of India that elements within Pakistan were behind the attacks. Extensive pressure was applied on Pakistan to submit to Indian demand of carrying out surgical strikes against suspected terrorists camps in Azad Kashmir and Muredke so as to avoid a full fledged war. Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee threatened Zardari that India will declare war and arrogantly summoned DGISI to Delhi. Tens of Hindu extremist groups provoked the rulers to destroy Pakistan. So far, no Hindu extremist group involved in terrorism against Indian Muslims has even been put on the UN watch list of terrorism while every second religious group in Pakistan has been declared terrorists.
All the strike formations of Indian military remained in battle locations for many months in 2009 and Gen Kapoor hurled threats of limited war under a nuclear overhang. Cold Start doctrine envisaging jumping across the border within 72 hours was drummed up. The US took no notice of these jingoistic statements. Several terrorist group attacks sponsored by RAW were launched in Lahore on sensitive targets. The US ignored Pakistan’s protests that India was carrying out subversive activities in Pakistan. Instead of cautioning India, the US kept harping that India posed no threat to Pakistan’s security and that it should shift all its forces from eastern to northwestern border to fight the militants in FATA.
With this background and ongoing history of discriminations, how can the US claim that it doesn’t harbor ill intentions against Pakistan and that its attitude is fair and just and that it is seriously engaged in bridging trust deficit and forging deep friendly ties with Pakistan? The US will have to do a lot more to alleviate the misgivings and fears of people of Pakistan and win their hearts and minds. Attitude and evenhandedness and not aid will bring the change.
Brig Asif Haroon Raja, a Member Board of Advisors Opinion Maker is Staff College and Armed Forces War Coursequalified, holds MSc war studies degree; a second generation officer, he fought epic battle of Hilli in northwest East Bengal during 1971 war, in which Maj M. Akram received Nishan-e-Haider posthumously. He served as Directing Staff Command & Staff College, Defence Attaché Egypt and Sudan and Dean of Corps of Military Attaches in Cairo. He commanded the heaviest brigade in Kashmir. He is lingual and speaks English, Pashto and Punjabi fluently. He is author of books titled ‘Battle of Hilli’, ‘1948, 1965 & 1971 Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle’, ‘Muhammad bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf’, Roots of 1971 Tragedy’; has written number of motivational pamphlets. Draft of his next book ‘Tangled Knot of Kashmir’ is ready. He is a defence analyst and columnist and writes articles on security, defence and political matters for numerous international/national newspapers/websites.