Time for Pakistan to divorce the US

Shaukat Qadir, a retired brigadier and former president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, explains how Pakistan ended up at war with itself dealing with a tribal rebellion.

If we hark back in time, in 2001, the Pakistani Pashtun and all Afghans were celebrating US intervention in Afghanistan. It would liberate them from Taliban oppression. Within a year, American arrogance, their suspicion of all Afghans, their utter disregard for local customs and culture, could result in only one thing: Another Afghan freedom struggle from an oppressive foreign force. The US called it a resurgence of the Taliban and al Qaeda! In time it did become that, because the US converted a legitimate struggle for freedom from an army of occupation into ‘Taliban linked to al Qaeda.’

To return to my question — as they did when Afghans sought their freedom from the Soviet occupation, the Pakistani Pashtuns bordering Afghanistan, girded their loins to assist their Afghan brethren. This time, Pakistan did not want them to. And in 2004, we decided to kill the most outspoken of those Pashtuns, a wazir called Nek Muhammad.

His murder was the watershed. We had a rebellion on our hands because we were preventing our tribal Pashtun from assisting their Afghan brethren in their freedom struggle against an army of occupation: The Americans, of course. So all Pakistan suddenly became American, kafirs, legitimate targets for religious fanatics to kill, and we are more vulnerable and accessible for them to target. So we are faced with an existentialist threat and we die. This was the first gift we got from the US.

Without tracing all the history, where do we stand today as far as the US is concerned? Anybody, who is anybody in the US, is baying for our blood. We are traitors to them and branded American-kafirs by our enemy within. Obama now tells us that when the Navy SEALs came to get Osama, they were “in sufficient numbers and prepared to retaliate to any response by the police or Pakistan’s security forces”.

They also gifted us Raymond Davis, hundreds of him. When we agreed to give him back, it was on the condition that all other Raymonds also leave. The CIA has not forgiven us and recent drone attacks are again killing more civilians than militants. If the Raymonds can no longer stoke unrest in Pakistan, the drones can!

As far as the promised financial aid is concerned, we receive a mere trickle, each time with another threat of severance if we fail to obey our Lords and Masters in DC. Even the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), intended to compensate a small portion of the expense incurred by the military in this war that has been forced on us by the US and Musharaf’s capitulation, is long overdue by well over a billion dollars.

The US has its own litany of complaints but we have ours. Isn’t it time to file for divorce?

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4 thoughts on “Time for Pakistan to divorce the US

  1. Norman

    I suppose I’ll be termed a traitor, terrorist sympathizer, who knows what for saying this? The leaders of the U.S.A. who promote WAR, are the real traitors/terrorists for what they have done to the Country, both Pakistan & the U.S.A. & Afghanistan too. I’m sure that both sides has been playing each other thinking they have the advantage, but when all is said & done, it turns out that all the changes remain unchanged. Perhaps the one telling issue, would be the amount of Nuclear devices Pakistan possesses. India should be careful how they play in the arena. China is going to step in to fill the void that will be left when the U.S. pulls out. Make no mistake, the U.S. will pull out, sooner than anyone expects, for the Empire can’t sustain itself for very much longer. The Country,[Pakistan] might have a load of C.I.A. members searching for the expected Nuclear devices, but I would venture a guess that quite a few have already been deployed abroad already.

    The old saying; “Two can play the same game” holds water now, as always. This is not to say Pakistan will ignite W.W.III, but reevaluation of objectives need to be undertaken immediately, if not sooner. Sober, objective minds are called for, not the usual characters that are allowed to make decisions.

  2. Sardar Daud Khan

    May 11, 2011
    Demanding Answers From Pakistan

    SINCE the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan has behaved toward the United States as both friend and adversary — and gotten away with it. The latest evidence of its duplicity is the revelation that Osama bin Laden lived for years in a house near Pakistan’s national military academy and a local branch of its intelligence service without any evident interference.

    Even before the American raid last week on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan had a huge credibility problem. It provides arms and safe haven for Afghan insurgent groups and pays their commanders to carry out attacks, but denies doing so.

    In the broader war on terrorism, Pakistan says it is completely on our side. In fact, its record is very uneven. It has been helpful in arresting some high-value Qaeda operatives and has allowed the United States to wage Predator drone attacks. But it has refused to move decisively against groups that Washington regards as terrorists and has put limits on American unilateral operations. It is not surprising, then, that no one took seriously Pakistan’s protestations of innocence after the discovery of Bin Laden.

    The killing of Bin Laden only 60 miles from Islamabad, its capital, has put Pakistan on the defensive, and the nature of our strike capability is not lost on Pakistani leaders and their terrorist and insurgent clients. With American influence now at its peak and our troops still at full strength in Afghanistan, we have the leverage to force Pakistan to reconsider.

    The United States should pursue a two-stage strategy. First, we should formally present any information about Pakistani complicity in shielding Bin Laden to Pakistan’s leaders.

    Then we should follow up with demands that Pakistan break the backbone of Al Qaeda in Pakistan by moving against figures like Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri; remove limits on the Predator drone campaign; uproot insurgent sanctuaries and shut down factories that produce bombs for use against American and Afghan soldiers; and support a reasonable political settlement in Afghanistan.

    Such a settlement would ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a haven for terrorists, allay Pakistan’s legitimate security concerns and provide amnesty — and allow political participation — for insurgents who lay down their arms and accept the Afghan constitution.

    In pursuing these goals, the United States should undertake a major diplomatic campaign, involving regional players like China and Saudi Arabia.

    If Pakistan fulfills these demands, the United States should reward it with long-term commitments of assistance, through trade benefits, programs run by the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development and similar efforts to promote development and education. But if Pakistan refuses to cooperate, the United States must put an end to its duplicity.

    First, the United States should reduce its dependence on supply lines running through Pakistan to Afghanistan. We should expand alternative supply routes through Azerbaijan and other countries in Central Asia. Also, as we draw down forces in Afghanistan, our logistical requirements will diminish; this will give the United States more leeway to consider unilateral attacks against terrorists and insurgents in Pakistan.

    Second, the United States should stay on the course set by President Obama to build, train and support Afghan security forces and reduce our own military presence while retaining the capacity to provide air support, intelligence collection and other capabilities that the Afghans currently lack. Such a posture can strengthen Afghanistan against Pakistani interference and help persuade Pakistan to embrace a settlement.

    Third, the United States should conclude a longer-term agreement with Afghanistan to maintain a small, enduring military presence that would give us the capability to conduct counterterrorism operations and respond to possibilities like Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists.

    Fourth, the United States could consider seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize an investigation into how Bin Laden managed to hide in plain view. The inquiry should examine the presence of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan.

    This strategy requires an improvement in the troubled relationship between the United States and Afghanistan. The impending arrivals of a new American ambassador, Ryan C. Crocker, and commander, Lt. Gen. John R. Allen of the Marine Corps, provide an opportunity to make progress. The challenge for the Afghan leadership and the new team is to achieve a partnership in which the United States sustains its commitment at much lower cost over time, while Afghanistan does its part by improving governance and the rule of law.

    It is in neither America’s interest nor Pakistan’s for relations to become more adversarial. But Pakistan’s strategy of being both friend and adversary is no longer acceptable.

    While the killing of Bin Laden was an important success, a greater achievement would be to transform United States-Pakistani relations into a true partnership that fights terrorism, advances a reasonable Afghan settlement and helps stabilize the region.

    Zalmay Khalilzad, a counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was an ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration.

  3. Christopher Hoare

    As Noam Chomsky says, The US does not have real allies, except perhaps in Europe, and then only when they agree to US requirements. As far as Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and many like them are concerned they are expected to take orders from Washington when required to bend over. The reduction in obedience and increase in subsidiary allies thinking and acting for themselves is the pointer to the degree the US is actually out of its depth.
    Pakistan could become the hegemon in all the islamic lands to the west of them, Turkey sees that it must take over from an enfeebled US, Iran will use its co-religionists to make a bid for supremacy, a recovered Iraq will hold the balance between Turkey and Iran, while Saudi Arabia tries to buy a status quo of benefit to themselves. Free Egypt should become the major power in the Levant and N Africa, so the US is hoping for another Mubarak it can control. Even S. Korea is having deep thoughts, weighing the US against China and probably thinking it better to go with the rising star than the falling one.
    Like it or not, we are living in interesting times.

  4. Kenneth Robinson

    What right does the US have to dictate to Pakistan, after all its their country, and surely they are entitled to serve their peoples interests as they see fit.
    While here in Australia we are completely subservient to the US, because we have a gutless government, that is supposed to represent us Australians.
    These continuous illegal, wars about oil and power are costing all of us dearly

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