Friday, December 19, 2008

Who grins while Pakistan burns?

In the aftermath of Mumbai attacks, Pakistan has emerged as the new Bogeyman for the people living in the West.

While Delhi has been blaming Pakistan for sponsoring a mass murder, a vicious campaign has been launched by the Western media against Pakistan. Accusations are also made by the US and her allies by condemning Pakistan in the context of the Mumbai attacks. And once again Pakistan is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

And while this melodrama of Indian and western media continues, a very basic and simple question that a reasonable man would think of has never been answered: Why ISI or Pakistan based militant organisation would be interested in face saving of Indian army by murdering ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who had already exposed links between right wing Hindu groups and the Malegaon and Samjhuta express incidents, and was in middle of the investigation that was set to expose the secret links between the Hindu terrorists and Indian Army?

A sinister game is being played here that is reaffirmed as Delhi's claims were fully endorsed by the United States and Britain. A carefully orchestrated and well formulated strategy is practised to shape the international opinion regarding Pakistan. Ignoble mention of Pakistani nukes, defamatory statements regarding Pakistan army and her premier spy agency ISI and declaration of Pakistan as the biggest threat to the world security are just a few examples of how well the script written in Washington DC is being executed.

The reality is that Indian accusations are nothing but a pathetic attempt to deflect attention from the plain and obvious failure of the Indian system in looking after its own citizens. India is a country that is beset by ethnic and sectarian strife which has the potential to implode in to a serious threat to India's territorial integrity.

But Pakistan government's decision to clamp down on Jamat ut Dawaa without any evidence only strengthens the Indian claims and plays into the hands of the anti Pakistan propaganda machines.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of CENTCOM, recently said Mumbai attacks were of more significance for Pakistan than India as these attacks comprehended the magnitude of challenges confronting Pakistan. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also blindly accepted India's version of events and showed absolute support for the Indian position by blaming Pakistan for not clamping down on extremism. US senator John Kerry said this Monday that ISI must be tightly controlled and not allowed to act independently.

It is quite clear now that America, together with India and Britain, is building up a case against Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, used the Mumbai incident as a pre-text to accuse Pakistan being the epicentre of terrorism and demanded that Pakistan must close down the terror camps. US Senator John McCain during his recent visit to Pakistan is believed to have threatened Pakistan with the surgical air strikes if Pakistan did not comply to New Delhi's demands.

There were also reports linked with unnamed Indian officials that India is considering a move to launch punitive air strikes to target terror camps in MureedKeh and Muzaffarabad. On 13/12/2008 it was witnessed that two Indian jets entered Pakistan from eastern Lahore and Kashmir Sector. These violations of air space by Indian Air Force were confirmed by the Pakistan Air Force and PAF spokesman stated that the Indian aircrafts intruded up to 4 Km inside Pakistan territory. These stunts were performed by the Indian Air Force to test the readiness and preparations of PAF, according to PAF Air Commodore (Retd.) Jamal Hussein. But according to President Zardari, these violations were a technical mistake on part of IAF to fly jets loaded with weapons and explosives inside Pakistan. One can only feel pity for Mr. Zardari who has lost the sense of generating thinking and reaching to obvious conclusions.

Some weeks ago, Mr. Zardari also labelled Kashmiris who are opposed to Indian rule as terrorists. This outrageous move was aimed to distance Pakistan from the 70,000 Muslims of Kashmir who gave away their life for the cause of freedom and many more who are still living with a hope that one day they will be liberated from Indian aggression. This statement from Mr. Zardari sparked mammoth rallies throughout held-Kashmir and for the first time in the history of Kashmiri struggle, it was witnessed that the effigies of a Pakistani leader were burned.

On the geopolitical front, it is now quite evident that for the US, the focal point and the real war is not in Iraq but along the Durrand line in sub-continent as noted by Obama and his strategic gurus. Right wing Hindu parties are gaining popularity in India as a result of Mumbai attacks. BJP, a party of radical Hindu secularists, which cashed in the Kargil incident after 1999 in the general elections, is now again busy in raising the stakes so that it can capitalize on Mumbai attacks. America is overstretched in Iraq and failing in Afghanistan and the economic downturn at home only complicates the situation for her. Now the new circumstances will compel America to hasten the process of making India a regional power. But that requires settlement of Kashmir issue in such a way that favours India. Indian dominance in the region in the short run will help US to ease financial and military burden by the arrival of 100,000 troops that India is ready to despatch to Afghanistan. In the long term, for America the Indian dominance means combating China's rising influence in the global politics. Indian Military presence in Afghanistan will also help America to pressurise Pakistan to maintain its involvement in the unpopular war on terror.

But for America to proceed with her plans for India, a strong Pakistan army is the biggest hurdle. The Islamic elements within Pakistan army are continuously resisting America's attempts to give away Kashmir to India. And India cannot in any situation afford to lock horns with Pakistan militarily. Even America knows that without Pakistan's cooperation, she cannot stay in Afghanistan. So America and India have resorted to other means to malign Pakistan army to make it weak and for past several months they have paced up their efforts in this regard. Tactics employed by Delhi and Washington includes accusing Pakistan of playing double game and supporting Jihadi organisations, and moving of a resolution in the UN to label retired High Ups from Pakistan Army as terrorist to disgrace Pakistan military on the international forum. Indian agencies involvement in Baluchistan is also well known where they are working to weaken Pakistan from inside. Whereas, America has waged an undeclared war on Pakistan as it continues to launch hell fire missiles from CIA controlled unmanned aircrafts inside Pakistan. It is in the interest of both America and India to keep the fire alive in Pakistan and they are doing pretty well.

Instead of Pakistan, it is Washington and Delhi that is playing double game. War mongering propaganda machines have sharpened their knives for Pakistan that exposes the mindset of policy makers in the West. The same pattern was followed when America waged a war on Iraq on the basis of fabricated evidence. Now yet again the notorious terms such as weapons of mass destruction are floated in the media but this time the target is Pakistan. And in recent days Pakistan has also been given titles once reserved for Iraq, like a rogue and failed state by many a think tanks.

And now after Mumbai incident, as the events are unfolding, it is like déjà vu. Just some years ago, after 9/11 a call from Washington DC changed the fortune of hundreds of thousands of people living in the South Asia. And that call was made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell to Pervez Musharraf who is to go down in history as the Pakistani Gorbachev. It was that time when Musharraf traded Pakistan's sovereignty by submitting to the American pressure that has unleashed a doom in Pakistan resulting in countless civilian deaths and more than 1,400 Pakistani troops also died in the process.

But this time around in 2008, it is Delhi that is exerting pressure on Pakistan to bow down. The Democratic regime of Zardari has performed exceptionally well in continuing the policies of the Dictator Musharraf and this suggests that Zardari's response to the mounting pressure is easily and accurately predictable. The truth is that NRO beneficiary leadership is impotent and is on the same page with Washington and her cronies. It is the failure of Pakistan's political leadership to address growing problems that have left Pakistan in a catastrophic situation as it continues its slide into further chaos.

The situation is continuously deteriorating for Pakistan and the leadership of Pakistan has done nothing to change the course. Rather the PPP led government is singing the mantra that there is nothing we can do except act as we are told by the Washington and accept the US hegemony.

Whereas, the reality is such that Pakistan can change her fortune in matter of days provided there is a sincere leadership that has vision and a ruling system that is in accordance to the whims and desires of ordinary residents and that emanates from the creed that they carry. Now is the time for Pakistan to adopt a firm and dignified approach to counter the existential threats it faces today.

Pakistan is providing 80% of the fuel used by American war machine in Afghanistan. The US is using almost 575,000 gallons of fuel every day. And if Pakistan halts this supply from her refineries then the only alternative source would be a precarious supply route through rugged Central Asia thus effectively crippling the US military. There is no doubt that once Pakistan decides to abandon America it would only be a matter of days that America would have to pack up and leave from Afghanistan. This would enable Pakistan to regain the strategic advantage she had before 9/11.

Pakistan is also self-sufficient on natural gas and has huge reservoirs of coal and minerals. According to Pakistan Economy Watch, only the coal deposits in Thar can change the fate of the country if utilized in a proper way. Dr Murtaza Mughal president of Pakistan Economy Watch in a statement said that 185 billion tonnes of coal worth USD 25 trillion can not only cater the electricity requirements of the country for next 100 years but also save almost four billion dollars in staggering oil import bill annually, reduce unemployment and help strengthen the economy. This amount of coal would equal 615 billion barrels of oil. Changes are also required to be made at the macro and micro level of economic policies if woes of the masses are to be answered.

All Pakistan needs is a new leadership and a new system that has a political will to bring about the change. And that new system is none other than the very reason Pakistan was created for. Pakistan must realise her true potential and rise up to the occasion by realising the dream of becoming a true Islamic state i.e. Khilafah, A Khilafah that lead the world for more than 12 centuries and brought prosperity not only to Muslims but to humanity in general.

Muhammad Bilal Qureshi

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