Bearing down heavy on Pakistan

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This is with reference to US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s statement that ‘US is running out of patience with Pakistan’. I am sure that our military as well as the government will be well aware of what the future holds for Pakistan especially when the US threats are now becoming more pronounced. Haqqani group has been on US ‘hit list’ for a long time. The US knows that after its forces depart, the real threat to Afghanistan would then come from the Haqqani’s. US will continue to build pressure on Pakistan to initiate military operation against the group and in case of non compliance will finally cross the red line and engage and target Haqqanis in FATA by using air power to destroy and eliminate the threat it fears the most.
What are our policy options? Pakistan army has been reluctant to fight its own people. It is also reluctant to fight any such group that does not have an anti Pakistan ideology. Haqqanis are against the US and ISAF presence in Afghanistan.The group comprises of a large number of Afghans who represent 42 percent of Pashtoon population of Afghanistan. They take refuge in Tribal areas of Pakistan where a majority of pushtoons submit to their ideology based on hatred against foreign troops occupying a sovereign country. Where would Pakistan army stand if it takes action against a group that enjoys popular support of people and tribes on both sides of the border.US is Israel’s biggest patron and strategic ally. An Israeli society of 7.5 million people is tolerant and at peace with itself because it is secure. Who provides for such security?
Of course, the US. It is in this context that the US must understand why Pakistan army wishes to act as an ally that will not make enemy of its major ethnic community. There are 42 million Pashtuns in AfPak region (25 million in Pakistan and 17 million in Afghanistan). The ethnic community has 60 major tribes and about 400 sub clans. Pakistan army will continue to seek the support from its people and even recruit them long after US along with its interests is gone from Afghanistan. How can it carry out military operation against them when they don’t challenge and threaten Pakistan’s interests? Yes; the Americans do. Pakistan army believes that these people should be made part of a political process and not viewed as threat that needs to be eliminated.
Both US Defence Secretary and the Indians will do well to understand that from religious nationalism to Islamism to jihadism, Pakistan’s hands are full in taking measures to prevent radical Islam from mushrooming and eventually taking over the control of the society and the state. Pakistan army will only be able to control jihadists if jihadists are not directly attacked by US; for most are doing jihad against the foreign occupation forces led by US .If US attacks the Haqanni group within the borders of Pakistan it will complicate the situation and make it difficult for Pakistan army to influence their behaviour. Such an act will also further enhance the radicalization of Pakistani society and add to the belief of majority of Pakistanis who consider United States less an ally and more an adversary.
Pakistan army may be under pressure, overstretched and weak on resources but it is not naive to open up new fronts by fighting against its own people on the behest of US in this ‘dumb war’. It is hoped that despite US pressures Pakistan Army will not initiate action against the Haqqanis. Not now when US is drawing down, leaving this region and its people to deal with the consequences of its unnecessary military bravado.
MUHAMMAD ALI EHSAN
Karachi

4 COMMENTS

  1. This article would make sense IF the Pak military actually opposed and suppressed these groups. Instead the Pak military supports and protects these groups. The author should try reading Frankenstein and realize that no one outside of Pakistan believes this nonsense anymore.

  2. Wht it means dat pakistan shdnt attack on its own people ? Doesnt it show dat pakistan harbours terroriest?

  3. Occupying forces has got reason to tilt the scenerio in their favour as they control the media, other wise what so ever the reason may me told like drugs, democracy, Terrorism (DDT), foreign intervention against the sovern state is not justified. Only local authority can control drug smuggling, terroism when they are given resources, training and time to dealt with. Several spying agencies and foriegn governments interest has complicated the situation. If they should confine themselve to their region and let Pakistani agencies to deal them culturally, legally and morally and traditionally or as per local laws we may expact better result. All the ISAF and NATO forces should devise plan to engage local authorities and sardar to handle the situation. It is right we are living in this region and we should make friends not the foe. Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran should sit together and should work for Peace and stabilize the region. Shamim

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