THE POWERFUL NEVER TAKE LESSONS FROM HISTORY
DEFYING THE HISTORY IS SELF DESTRUCTION
By Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
The 4th round of the Pak-US Strategic Dialogue concluded in Islamabad on July 19, 2010, unleashed a series of unremitting infuriating statements by US civil and military officials. By and large, there existed a shared harmony in the thoughts of the two countries for bringing stability in Afghanistan since last few months, which continued until the conduct of this round of the dialogue. Both countries have been backing the Afghan reconciliation/ reintegration process. Pakistan indeed, envisioned the strategy of reconciliation and reintegration as a win-win situation for all the stake holders, and especially; Afghanistan, Pakistan and US. For Afghanistan and Pakistan, the strategy if implemented would bring a long desired peace and stability. The process, however, would provide a prospect of honourable exit from Afghanistan for the United States and NATO. Though neither the visiting Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, nor other officials out-rightly rejected the process, however, they were not found very optimistic about it.
During the dialogue, the Pakistani side was headed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi, whereas, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, headed the US team. Contrary to the previous round of the dialogue, held in Washington on March 24 and 25, 2010, this round of the dialogue was restricted to a daylong session only. It was expected that progress on a number of promises made during the previous round of the talks would be reviewed during this phase of the dialogue, but, no meaningful endeavour was seen from the US side to address those issues. Rather, it was disappointing once visiting US Secretary of State out-rightly rejected to assist Pakistan in the resolution of some of the sensitive issues facing Pakistan since last few years.
One such issue is the water shortages in Pakistan, occurred due to Indian interference with the water of three western rivers; Indus, Jhelum and Chenab, totally dedicated for Pakistan. Pakistan desired that US should exercise its influence over India for the cancellation of the its plans for the storage, diversion and additional construction of dams, all results into limiting the water flow to Pakistan, a lower riparian country. The Secretary of State rejected any chance of mediation or facilitation by US on the water issue. Rather, she emphasized Pakistan to “get control of the water you currently have.” In fact this is exactly the Indian view point. In a way, US team leader was pleading the Indian case too.
Another issue having direct and indirect relevance with the water is the energy needs of Pakistan. The country is facing a short fall of over 5000 MW of energy. This shortage of energy is seriously affecting the economy, industry, agriculture, domestic and commercial needs of the people of Pakistan. Pakistan has been asking the US to fulfil its energy needs on the line of Indo-US Nuclear deal. Rather than gratifying the Pakistan’s energy needs, U.S has shown concerns over the Sino-Pak Civil Nuclear power plants, being installed at Chasma. Knowing fully that this is an old agreement between Pakistan and China, even once the later had neither signed the NPT nor was the member of the NSG, US is trying to create hurdles for the China on the unfounded pretexts.
There was no reason of reminding Pakistan about the individual act of AQ Khan Episode. Why Secretary Clinton forgot, that US is the basic proliferators’ of the nuclear technology and nuclear weapons too. Apart from US, India has a very poor record of the nuclear proliferation, leakages, theft and unreliable nuclear command and control. Why U.S should have dual standards of dealing with two nuclear armed neighbours in South Asia. Being the most allied ally, Pakistan deserves more US bounties than that of the India, which has been a cold war partner of former Soviet Union. This is very immoral and unethical that Pakistan keeps meeting the US demands and US always betray it for its intimate needs. Rather showing concern over the Chinese assistance to Pakistan for meeting its energy needs, US must modify its policy for assisting countries of the South Asia on merit and provide them the facilities without any discrimination.
The Secretary of State has shown US inability in mediating the core issue of the Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. She has forgotten that her spouse, former President Mr Clinton has promised with the former Pakistani Premier in July 1999 that he would take a “personal interest in the resolution of the Kashmir issue”, between India and Pakistan. Indeed, considering it as the nuclear flash point, President Obama has also expressed his desire of resolving it on priority, in November 2008. However, very cunningly this US vigour fell prey to Mumbai terror attacks, furtively planned and executed by Indian spying network to sabotage the entire process of Composite Dialogue process positively conducted until than and to dispel the desire of a constructive minded US President. Indeed, India has a very strapping lobby in US as well as in other western countries. This lobby alongside its spying network spends huge sum amounts on the officials, think tanks and MPs of these countries for formulation of the opinion in the favour of India. The reflection of this lobby was quite visible during this round of the dialogue as well as during the joint statements and even thereafter in the statements of Richard Holbrook and Admiral Mike Mullen in New Delhi.
The hawkish Secretary of State was very vocal in claiming that Osama Bin Laden is hiding somewhere in Pakistan. While reiterating to whatever she said, Admiral Mullen and Richard Holbrook have even tried to establish a linkage between ISI and Haqqani and Afghan Taliban network. This is the height of mistrust between two allies. These senior US officials have perhaps been hoodwinked by the intelligence network of a neighbouring country, otherwise, just a few weeks earlier they have appreciated the role played by Pak Army and its premier intelligence setup; the ISI. Indeed, the ISI has made incredible contributions in saving the world from the menace of terrorism. Why the world in general and US in particular forget that Pakistan has apprehended more than 700 Al-Qaeda terrorists and handed over to later following the incident of 9/11. Moreover, thousands of the Al-Qaeda and Taliban elements were killed during the military operations by Pak Army in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan. There should be no doubt that this all has been done by Pakistani security forces through the help of its premier intelligence setup.
There is a need that, US should weigh between the Pakistani contributions towards it and its (US) bounties on to Pakistan. Announcing $400 million or $7.5 billion dollars in next five years does not mean that US got the licence to thrash Pakistan as and when she desire. Pakistan is a sovereign state of 170 million people, who can neither be dictated by the super power like US nor afraid of the conspiracies hatched in its neighbourhood. It has lived to the test and trials of the history. They know how to live with respect and dignity. Today Pakistani nation can claim to be the world’s largest contributors towards the global peace. However, in the process, it suffered a lot at the hands of the terrorists and their abettors, intruding from its exposed western borders to destabilize it also at the hands of friends like America. Did the US ever think of these terrorists? After all, who train, finance, equip and abet them?
America must take a lesson from history before America becomes a lesson of history.
Dr Raja Mohammad Khan has done his PhD in International Relations from Karachi University. Now he is a faculty member at the prestigious National Defence University Islamabad.
His area of focus is South Asia, Afghanistan, Central Asia and the other Muslim World. Dr Khan is a regular contributor to www.oly.com.pk