Priority number one


Pakistan must stop sacrificing its own citizens

For decades, everyone has heaped praised on Pakistan’s impeccable geostrategic location, especially our textbooks. And while it is true that we have acquired a plethora of benefits due to our position on the world map, we must be constantly aware of the perils that come with it. As a nation, we tend to focus on just one thing at a time and historically, the scope of our foreign policy has been India-centric. All of our other international relations are affected and arranged according to our relationship with our eastern neighbour; because of which other diplomatic fronts have suffered. As the Foreign Office, and the whole country, was busy with the ‘Abhinandan episode’, relations with Afghanistan have become as perilous as ever.

The most recent example of this came a few days ago when eight Pakistani Wazir tribesmen, who were routinely visiting Afghanistan, were taken out of their homes and mercilessly murdered in cold blood by the Afghan security forces, without any reason except sheer hatred. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident and the Foreign Office’s response was, as usual, lukewarm. When asked about the incident, the Foreign Minister did not even care to comment and seemed indifferent, I wonder what would have been his reaction if the same incident would have happened in Amritsar. The incident has occurred only a few months after the martyrdom of SP Tahir Dawar, the details of which are all too grim.

All we have gotten are blood-riddled dead bodies, unappreciation, hostile alliances and a villainous international image

Mysteriously, or rather not, the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, which spares no opportunity to lambaste the Pakistani law enforcement agencies, did not bat an eye at the incident. Nor have they ever condemned the barbaric attitude the Afghan forces have had towards the Pakistanis taking refuge in, or visiting, Afghanistan. This tarnishes the PTM’s credibility and drowns its narrative even on the issues that hold water. Countless sources indicate that the PTM may be more Afghani than Pakistani, and incidents like these force one to make a conjecture.

The incident has a direct relation with the NDS-RAW-MOSSAD nexus which is on everyone’s mind, but not anyone’s lips. The nexus realizes that the key to the destabilisation of Pakistan lies in the tribal areas; the ones which we are trying to integrate and mainstream. The recent unsparing massacre was aimed to show that the Pakistani state still draws a demarcation between ‘regular’ Pakistanis and tribal area dwellers. It was aimed to show that ‘FATA’ still very much exists and the mainstreaming is nothing more than ink on paper. Wazir tribe elders now demand action against the ASF personnel who were responsible for the murders. If the government fails to respond and the tribes act on their own; consider the enemies’ move successful.

While it is true that foreign policy makers and Shah Mehmood Quershi are working hard to bring peace in Afghanistan with utmost sincerity and the whole world is appraising the positive role of Pakistan, it seems that yet again, we are missing the trees for the forest! Historically, when dealing with Afghanistan, we are so eager to play ‘the great game’ that we look at the ‘big picture’ and turn a blind eye to the suffering of our own people. Sources inform that the disinterest of the Foreign Office in ASF atrocities is deliberate, so as to not jinx the Afghan peace process. No doubt, the departure of the USA on the Afghan Taliban’s terms benefit Pakistan greatly, and is a foreign policy goal worth striving for, but should not the Number One priority of the state be to protect its own citizens?

Pakistan must take concrete steps to break the NDS-RAW-MOSSAD nexus. With each passing day, the bond is getting stronger which can ultimately cause Pakistan an existential threat. A word of advice: use when needed; the USA needs Pakistan for its withdrawal from Afghanistan, because of which Pakistan can involve the USA and demand diplomatic intervention. This leverage is of course, ephemeral.

In sharp contrast to the Afghan government’s attitude, Pakistan hosts more than 1.4 million Afghan refugees. These are, of course ‘registered’ ones, and the real number is well beyond 3.5 million. This influx has given Pakistan increased terrorism, criminal behaviour, Kalashnikov culture, and a torrent of illegal narcotics. Yet, they have never suffered state sponsored brutalities like the ones the Afghan security forces perpetrate. especially our textbooks,. In return, all we have gotten are blood-riddled dead bodies, unappreciation, hostile alliances and a villainous international image. The problem is, why am I writing this and not the Foreign Office?