By Tauseef Zahid
U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke said April 20 that the Talibanâ€™s refusal to lay down its arms as part of a peace deal in the Swat Valley is a â€œwake up callâ€ to Pakistan, Holbrook said, â€œIt seems to me that, that would be a wakeup call to everybody in Pakistan that you canâ€™t deal with [the Taliban] by giving away territory as they creep closer and closer to the populated centers of Punjab and Islamabad. They are less than a hundred miles from Islamabad after this deal.â€
We are well aware of the love of United States for Pakistan and greater Muslim world. Richard Holbrooke who is more affectionately called “the Balkans Bulldozer” or sometimes “Raging Bull” due to his carrot and stick policy in the Balkans, of which Pakistan has only seen the stick (Drones, CIA/FBI kidnappings, Bases) is dripping with the blood of innocent Pakistanis, Afghanis and Iraqis.
Similarly U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said April 22 that Pakistanâ€™s government has abdicated to the Taliban by agreeing to Islamic law in part of the country and that the nuclear-armed nation poses a danger to world security. Clintonâ€™s remarks come after she was asked about Pakistanâ€™s decision to sign a regulation enforcing Islamic law in the Swat valley region. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also on April 23 called for Pakistani leaders to fight the spread of Taliban militancy, saying a failure to act could impact U.S.-Pakistani ties. Gates said some Pakistani leaders see the â€œexistential threatâ€ the Taliban pose to Pakistanâ€™s democratic government, but that the leaders must also take action against that threat.
So what is the reality of this special care that Holbrooke, and other US officials are showing for Pakistan? US is working on a new strategy for the region in which the problem is not viewed in isolation in Afghanistan but as an Af-Pak problem.
The reality is that US is miserably failing in their objectives in Afghanistan. The occupation has turned into a nightmare for US where other countries are taking advantage (Russian/Georgia) of US weakness being bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. The so called liberation of Afghanistan by Neo-Cons to create a liberal democracy (Gas pipelines) in the heart of Muslim world turned into a brutal occupation which is facing resistance.
Pervez Musharraf was doing the same thing to legitimize his rule when he engineered MMA into power in the Baluchistan/NWFP to remind the US that he is the last-man-standing against the spread of radical Islam and same tactics are being used by Zardari. These statements above from US officials, those that Zardari regime is promoting under the guise of â€œour warâ€ are to legitimized the support that our corrupt rulers are giving to US. To justify the continual support for drone attacks in violation of Pakistan territorial sovereignty, to continue CIA/FBI free reign in Pakistan and the logistic support which is the life line of NATO/US in Afghanistan, this lie is being sold as a â€œPakistan warâ€ to the people of Pakistan.
What is becoming clear now is that Unites States end game was never going to be played in Afghanistan but Pakistan was the real target. The undeclared war that is going on in Baluchistan and NWFP under the guise of fighting the Taliban by NATO, US and India is in reality a war to accomplish number of US foreign policy objectives. To name a few they are to remove Pakistan army offensive-defensive capability against India by pitching it against its population, to denuclearise Pakistan, to solve Kashmir problem on Indian terms and make Pakistan â€œIndia ka Chota Baheeâ€ or Akhand Bharat to allow India to focus on containing China.
Zardari government started where Musharraf left with no change in policy. Clintonâ€™s sensational recent remarks are designed to ratchet up and continue the propaganda to malign and build the case against Pakistan. In a matter of months we have seen US and British officials talk up the threat from nowhere to supposedly emanating from Pakistan. The reality is that whilst US officials publicly criticise the efforts of the Pakistani regime, in private the Zardari regime is in full co-operation with America. Similarly Nawaz Sharif who was all too eager to lead a Long March to reinstate judges is not doing the same regarding drone attacks â€“ clearly showing, he knows who not to upset. This is why America currently enjoys access to several bases inside Pakistan including those from which it operates its drones to launch airstrikes in Pakistanâ€™s tribal areas. This is why over 400 trucks carrying 80% of the fuel, weapons and other supplies for the American and NATO armies cross over from Pakistan into Afghanistan every day. None of this would be possible without the continued co-operation and treachery of the Zardari regime against its own people.
The fact of the matter is that the Zardari regime is colluding very closely with the Americans. Whilst Clinton made her remarks, the US Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen yet again made his way to Islamabad. The decision by Zardari to assent to the implementation of so called â€˜Shariah lawâ€™ in Swat is mere eyewash. It is a matter of fact that the complete Shariah can only be implemented at State level by the Khilafah â€“ a few elements such as the penal code do not constitute an Islamic state. Instead the promulgation of this ordinance by the Zardari regime is part of the American agenda deliberately created and exploited by Western officials such as Hillary Clinton to continue to build the public case against Pakistan to set the scene for Western intervention. It is simply incredulous to believe that a country with a professional army of 700,000 men and a modern air force would simply capitulate in a matter of weeks. The Zardari regime is deliberately helping to create a perception of Pakistan that America desires: a failing lawless state that is about to be completely overrun by terrorists who will gain access to Pakistanâ€™s nuclear arsenal.
This also explains the continued American led attack on the integrity of the Pakistan armed forces and itâ€™s elite intelligence service the ISI. America is again resorting to the same scaremongering and character assassination that we saw in a narrative reminiscent to the run up before the Iraq invasion and occupation. The real issue at hand is the failing American led occupation of Afghanistan and the continued American attacks inside Pakistan which has displaced over a million Pakistanis and killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children.
The internal security of Pakistan can never improve whilst the FBI and CIA maintain bases inside Pakistan. America has every motive to deliberately destabilise Pakistan as it fears a powerful nuclear armed Muslim nation in which there is a growing tide calling for Islam. Contrary to Clintonâ€™s assertions, what Pakistanis actually despise most is the continued support by the American government for Zardariâ€™s corrupt regime. For many Pakistanis both inside and outside Pakistan the real threat they perceive is not from Islam but from America which is desperate to expand her â€˜War on Terrorâ€™ to Pakistan. America knows that it is losing the battle for the hearts and minds not only of the Muslims of Pakistan but that of the Pakistani military too. That is why America seeks to malign the reputation of Pakistan because her armed forces have the power to establish the Khilafah while America struggles with her financial collapse and military overstretch.
Tauseef Zahid is a freelance columnist