By Shahid Zahur
There is no doubt that a number of security lapses have occurred since 2 May 2011, when USA took a unilateral action against Osama Bin Laden and let the ISI, Air Force and the Army down. Similarly, the poor performance of Pak Navy was also exposed due to Taliban’s attack. There is no excuse for all these lapses and measures must be taken by all the institutions to ensure that such incidents don’t occur again and all those who are found responsible must be taken to task.
On the other hand Parliament should also review its strategy and level of cooperation with USA and Afghanistan. We know that USA has always ditched Pakistan and walked away after fulfilling its goals. The drumbeat of USA that they are giving billions of dollars to Pakistan and Pakistan is not doing enough is absurd. Even Pakistani scholars are misled due to American and western propaganda. Najam Sethi in his TV programme blamed that $14 billion (bn) have been given to Army and $ 6 billion to government by USA. As per Army only $1.4 bn has been received in Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and $1.023 bn in kind out of $12.522 bn received by the government ($8.647 bn in CSF as incremental charges and $3.875 bn as assistance in kind)out of allotted $20bn during the last ten years as per Congressional Research Service (CRS) report (available on net).
American’s repay us the incremental charges after lot of questioning and it seems as they are giving charity to us. The money which we spend and claim is rejected up to 40%. USA charges the cost and pay of trainers, advisors, training to FC, courses and visits etc from the allotted in kind funds. Similarly, the items sent by them are at time of no use to Pakistan and the prices are also inflated. Spare parts sent by the American as ‘push through’ at their own, are lying useless and they are not ready to take back. If we study the CRS Report of 2008, it tells us that USA is spending more than $76871 per month on maintaining a soldier in Afghanistan and $85640 in Iraq whereas incremental charges paid to Pakistan come to approximately $900 per soldier which is a peanut. Pakistan has more than 1000 posts on Pak-Afghan border with 150,000 soldiers where as Coalition Forces are having approximately 80 posts to control the cross border movement but blame is always shifted on Pakistan.
The media should not fall prey to the false propaganda, it must show some maturity and national commitment by confirming the news before making it public. Pakistan has lost more than $60 billion in this War on Terror, have sacrificed nearly 5000 security personnel and more than 35000 civilians. Our economy has meltdown; there is no investment, no tourism, no security, no jobs, people are dying daily but do more mantra is still continuing. US threaten to cut the peanut aid and their politicians always talk about putting strings along it. The problem lies with us because we didn’t define the parameters and level of cooperation with USA. It’s time to look after the national interest first and then of any other country.
Coming on to Afghanistan, the root causes of terrorism are poor law and order situation and the Narco money which is being supplied by the Afghan Taliban. As per UN report 93% of Narcotics are produced in Afghanistan. Coalition forces reportedly turn a blind eye to the Narcotics business, no crackdown is being carried out, in fact there are strong indicators that the collation forces are also reaping the wealth of narcotics. As per American newspapers USA firms even pay the Taliban for safe passage of their men and material. The US is in contact and negotiations with the Taliban, they seek Pakistan’s assistance to facilitate also but do not desire that Pakistan should negotiate with them.
More than three million Afghan refugees are still on our soil and as per an official report approximately 600 million rupees per month are being spent by Pakistan. Karzai is not ready to take refugees back on the presumption that they will destabilize Afghanistan and so is the thinking of the international community. What a mean and clever thinking, the destabilization of Pakistan’s economy and security is of no concern to anyone. Cross border movement of terrorists is a major issue raised by USA, NATO and Afghanistan but they are against its fencing. Biometric system installed in 2007 has been made dysfunctional under the pressure and resistance of Afghan government and the people. Indians who are Pakistan’s declared enemies have been brought on our western borders. RAW, Mossad, RAAM and even CIA are funding the terrorists to attack Pakistan from Afghanistan’s soil. There are also strong indicators that both Germany and the UK are also involved in destabilizing Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Now Pakistan is being forced to fight on multiple fronts that is not only stretching it to its limits but Pakistan is having serious thoughts to pull out of this unjust and uncalled for war. Our strategic partner betrayed us and launched Abbottabad operation from Afghanistan, so how can we believe that Indians or even Afghans will not carry out any misadventure.
Now is the time that should not be allowed to slip out of hands, safeguarding of our national interests should be the only priority. The solution to get out from this vicious circle of terrorism is not easy but it’s not impossible. As Raja Mujtaba said in his CNBC news comments that we need to talk and not kill; killing will aggravate and not end the problem. We need to understand the situation, we need to analyse where we went wrong. After all aren’t these the same people who were our heroes and Mujahids fighting the Soviet Union? How and where we lost them, we need to pick up on those threads that we dropped from our hands. Fighting the Soviets, these very fighters were compressed with ideological indoctrination, after the fall of the Soviet Union we abandoned them, never cared to rehabilitate them back in the society. They had to be decompressed but no one bothered.
If we all work sincerely on one point agenda that is to root out terrorism then we can do it. There is no doubt that military and civil governments committed blunders whether individually or collectively and damaged Pakistan, people were and still are the main sufferer. If we continue on the diverging axis then no one can save us from the disaster. The mess which has been created by all of us can only be cleared by us.
The criticism of the security forces is on the rise. There is no harm to criticize when reform is the objective but criticism with ulterior motives is no less than treason against the state. Point scoring and army bashing has become norm of the day; it’s a dangerous situation which must be arrested. If seed of distrust and hate is sowed, public is made to distance from the Armed Forces, God forbid if tomorrow there is an open war then who would defend the country. Nawaz Sharif is calling the shots against army when he has his own baggage. Altaf Hussain, a foreign national with no stakes in Pakistan has the cheeks to point fingers when four point back at him, in his address blamed that 80% of the national budget is spent on Army. It’s wrong and misleading the public with an intent, in 2010/11 it was Rs 442bn i.e. 15.99% for the armed forces including ISI, SPD, and 16 other defence related organizations and Army budget was only Rs 207bn. Instead of cutting the teeth we should look in to the wastage of national exchequer and control it also.
Defence forces budget is already being kept at minimum, even COAS has asked the government to spend approximately $6bn received in CSF for the welfare of the people. Over Rs 400bn losses and subsidy in Steel Mill, Pepco, PIA, Railways etc. more than 1000bn goes in corruption to which these very political critiques claim to have a right to corruption. Similarly theft of gas and electricity has not been controlled. Armed forces pay billions of rupees in shape of taxes and last year it paid over 72bns.
The remarks by Asma Jahangir, a profound admirer and supporter of anti Pakistan Bal Thackrey is on record to have said that “now Pakistan will remain or Army” are very disturbing and astonishing. The president of Supreme Court Bar Association is saying opposite to what is essential for each other. The Army is for protection of Pakistan and it’s a famous saying “if there is no army in any country then army of any other country will be there”. Similarly, the National Assembly’s standing committee on human rights convened an extraordinary emergency meeting in connection with extra judicial killings by law enforcement agencies. It blamed the armed forces for extra judicial killings. The official note released to the press reads “The behaviour of Police / FC / Ranger / Armed forces is rude and like barbarian”. These remarks coming from an assembly that consists of members with fake degrees, corruption and criminal cases will not wash its linen clean or make it a holy saint. My question is where is Intelligence Bureau (IB) and FIA, the two organs directly reporting to the Interior Minister? Why aren’t these deployed for internal security to beef up the police?
What happened in Karachi, where a Ranger Constable allegedly killed Sarfraz Shah in cold blood, the video needs to be viewed and reviewed critically. The whole act will emerge like a broad daylight. The actions and the words of Sarfraz Shah are enough to rest this conspiracy once for all. If there is a shortcoming, that’s of the individual and not of the institution but without losing time the entire blame is fixed on the Armed Forces. A free media is essential but that undertakes its national and state responsibility. If the eye is set on 50 millions in grant for the media in Kerry-Lugar Bill that is to serve the US interests then it’s nothing but treachery with the nation.
We need to strengthen all the institution, may it be civil or army. If we don’t back our forces then how these soldiers who are sacrificing their lives will perform? The present socio political, law and order and economic situation of the country is very bad. Dozens are being gun downed in target killing, poor are committing suicides and industries are shifting to other countries but no immediate concerns are shown by any one. The commission on 2 May and strategy on counter terrorism has not been made but some people are creating rift between the security forces and the people.
Pakistan is a potential for the global politics but not with this political leadership who show no concern with domestic drifting. In fact they fuel it for their short term gains and the loss is that of Pakistan. We must first put our house in order, set our direction right and work for nationalism rather than individualism. The process of accountability must be free and fair where no one is above the law. Clause 248 of the constitution is an impediment in the way of justice that must be expunged or revoked as it stands repugnant to Islam and that is not allowed by our constitution.
We have enormous resources, high mountains, fertile land, vast sea belt and very talented youth but are deficient of sincere, committed and visionary leadership. Our leadership has taken a subservient role to foreign powers. They have yet to come out with anything concrete and reassuring for the country. Who are we cheating none but ourselves. The noose is being tightened not only by our arch enemy India but also by our supposedly strategic partner USA who has a history of betrayal. The Indo–Israel-USA nexus is the troika of destruction. Their linkages are historic and established as said in ‘War on Terrorism and Its Motives’ by Raja Mujtaba. It’s a dangerous development that the world must question.
We spent lot of money and hard work to build the nuclear capability and our enemies are talking very openly about capping, dismantling or putting UN safeguards. As per a British news paper, USA has already ear marked the forces to land on nuclear sites, incase these are threatened by terrorists. The bomb explosions and suicidal attacks are in daily routine and some day any incident near to these installation by the foreign funded terrorists will provide the opportunity to USA/West to put sanctions on us as has been done in the post.
It’s time to wake up because our economy is going down which must be controlled immediately because Soviet Union broke due to economic melt down although its armed forces and nuclear weapons were still intact. Time is running out, therefore, all political parties and army needs to join hands together, a concerted effort on all fronts in needed and it’s not a job of one person or one party. The whole nation has to work, work, and work very hard before it’s too late. If we continue weakening own institutions then we don’t need enemies. Therefore, we have to get united and pull the country out from these crises and together we will surmount these challenges Inshah Allah.