For quite some time, the US government and media have been painting Pakistan in the most ignoble colours. What Obama administration could not say it straight it says through its mouthpieces — The New York Times and The Washington Post. Baseless stories are published to mislead the world, and accusations are levelled against Pakistan and its armed forces to denigrate them in the public eye. However, it is not just their hubristic arrogance that is a matter of concern; it is also the imperialistic tone of their outpourings that is perturbing. They talk as if Pakistan is their vassal state, where they are the masters and Pakistanis are the slaves. They do not want Pakistan’s cooperation but total submission and compliance of their orders. But what else one can expect when nation’s elites have, over the years, been genuflecting before American adventurists.
Last week, The New York Times in its editorial captioned “Time to Put the Squeeze on Pakistan” stated: “Nearly 15 years after 9/11, the war in Afghanistan is raging and Pakistan deserves much of the blame. It remains a duplicitous and dangerous partner for the United States and Afghanistan, despite $33 billion in American aid and repeated attempts to reset relations on a more constructive course. American experts say that army has helped engineer the integration of the Haqqanis into the Taliban leadership.” This is a blatant lie, as Haqqanis are ideologically aligned with the Taliban, as both want to enforce sharia in the country. Secondly, when the Taliban came to power in 1996, Jalaluddin Haqqani was appointed as minister for tribal affairs. Today, his son Sirajuddin Haqqani is deputy leader of the Taliban faction of Akhtar Mansour.
Unfortunately, our foreign office does not seem to be doing a good job countering propaganda campaigns of the US and India. Winding up debate on an adjournment motion, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz recently admitted that relations with the US are under stress for the past three months because of the conditions Washington had attached to the funding of the sale of F-16 vis-à-vis Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Shakil Afridi, and sought evidence about the Haqqani froup for taking action against it. Aziz said that Pakistan-US relations had come to a standstill in 2011 because of the unfortunate incidents of WikiLeaks, Raymond Davis, Abbottabad operation and attack on Salala post. He added there could be no compromise on Pakistan’s nuclear programme, which was for Pakistan’s security.
It appears that Aziz has not been keeping track of the events, as there were many instances when relations between Pakistan and the US became strained. In 2009, Americans were quite angry with Pakistan when Pakistan’s intelligence agency put a check on their diplomats moving around with loaded weapons in cars with fake number plates to make video films of sensitive installations. Who will tell the American lords that Pakistan is not their colony? Surely, it would not be this country’s power elite who have surrendered all their dignity and self-respect to Washington to decide their destinies. But not the people of this country, as they remember having at least once a close brush of being bombed back into the Stone Age by an enraged Soviet Union in early 1960s after its military downed an American U-2 reconnaissance plane flying on its Central Asian Republics. After shooting down the plane, the Soviets encircled Peshawar in bold red and threatened Pakistan of severe consequences. And what did Pakistan get in return from the US for imperiling its security for their sake? A snap embargo on all US military supplies including spare parts for Pakistan military predominantly equipped with the American weaponry, the moment Indo-Pak war broke out in 1965.
Furthermore, America’s role in propping India through civil nuclear agreement and its refusal to sign similar agreement with Pakistan had irked Pakistan. Since signing defence pacts with the West and a bilateral agreement with the US in 1950s, Pakistan military and Pentagon had developed a special relationship, which had continued till 1990s despite differences that emerged during Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
Yet, the US has been unfair throughout its relations with Pakistan. After using Pakistan as a pawn in their triumphant proxy war against the Soviet invaders in Afghanistan, Americans repaid Pakistan — their much-trumpeted strategic partners — by slapping nuclear-related sanctions and bequeathing on Pakistan the tinderbox of religious fanaticism. And, of course, stridency out of which we are desperately struggling to get out. Once again the US coerced Pakistan into joining the war on terror and made it a frontline state. They also elevated Pakistan as a non-NATO ally, but despite all cooperation and sacrifices, Americans distrust Pakistan, and are out to weaken it. The US must understand that unless Pashtuns who make more than half of Afghanistan’s population, and who draw the bulk of their fighters and supporters in Afghanistan are given guarantees that they will have their rightful share in power, peace will remain elusive.
As regards the claim that the US gave 33 billion dollars to Pakistan under different heads since 9/11, it has to be mentioned that the figure is 30 billion dollars, which includes 14 billion dollars of Coalition Support Fund. This, in fact, is reimbursement of the expenses incurred in connection with logistics including fuel, ration and other expenses etc., for about 100,000 troops deployed in tribal areas near Pak-Afghan border after joining the war on terror. The balance amount of 16 billion dollars given by the US over a period of 14 years is less than 25 percent of the economic losses of 70 billion dollars Pakistan incurred. It has to be mentioned that in late 1970s, the former USSR’s military landed in Afghanistan under the security agreement between the two governments. The US wanted to capitalise the Afghan resistance to put the Soviet Union on the mat, and in the process the Soviet Union disintegrated.