Friday, October 17, 2008

Pakistan’s foreign policy in a spin

It is quite clear that Pakistan’s foreign policy is undergoing a sea change as it is being drastically reoriented by the nascent PPP government. Are we distancing from China is the moot question doing rounds in Pakistan? The former President Musharraf would exercise some semblance of caution and discretion while making a decision that would be acceptable or repugnant to the people at large. But under the present dispensation when the co- chairperson and President of Pakistan Asif Zardari is exclusively calling the shots that thin and deceptive veneer of euphemism put up by previous regime has been rubbed off. Now momentous decisions of far-reaching import are being made on the spur of the moment and perhaps in complete disregard of the national sentiments and showing deaf ears to the public outrage.

For instance to dub the Kashmiri militants fighting for the national liberation as terrorists is a kind of label that under no circumstances would be hurled even by the most unscrupulous of governments so daringly and so non-chalantly. If the Wall Street Journal attributes those utterances to our dare-devil President then it must be beyond doubt or contradiction although foggy rebuttals have also been dished out by the Government’s spokespersons. After all there must be some ground for such kind of remarks published by a prestigious paper. This paper cannot have a grudge against the newly elected President of Pakistan nor should it have any stakes in disparaging a new comer in the political area of Pakistan and occupying the country’s top slot. President Zardari’s unguarded remarks about the critical national issues are not confined only to Kashmiri militants. These are varied and encompass other crucial affairs and unfortunately, generally, run counter to the national interests of Pakistan. It is not a reflection of a seasoned thinker but a kind of bravado and personal penchant to say things which no one dared to say so far. To say earlier that Pakistan’s geographical integrity would be safeguarded at all costs and then go for a faux pas later by making a confession that the unmanned aircraft showering fire and bombs on the civilian population in the tribal areas were carrying out these lethal operations with Pakistan’s consent, permission and consultation is simply tragic and traumatic.

Furthermore, to stage a somersault about the traditional and age old adversarial relations between India and Pakistan by claiming that Pakistan does not face or fear any threat from India is a blatant negation of the continuous tension and war ridden history between the two countries. There might be a new initiative by the President for peace with neighborly India but to white-wash the hostility of that country by portraying it as a friend is naive simplicity, or mere cowardice and complete ignorance of confrontational past including three wars between the two countries since they achieved independence. Do the Prime Minister and President of Pakistan know that Kashmir issue was at the core of the entire animus that existed between the two neighbours and that India never missed an opportunity to harm Pakistan? One glaring example is the truncation of Pakistan in 1971 made possible by the Indian armed forces joining the separatists in the formerly East Pakistan. One can forget the bitterness and happenings of the past but to scuttle and belittle the resurging indigenous Kashmiris’ movement for independence from Indian hegemony by calling them terrorists is patently to be more Indian than a Pakistani. Still if Pakistan wants to wash its hands off the Kashmiris’ struggle for independence of Indian occupied Kashmir then you have to take your parliamentarians in confidence as that is the essence of democracy. If you would like to supercede Musharraf in making wild announcements then how you would like to be distinguished from your predecessor or a leader if you too ignore the supreme national interests. Parliament’s in-camera session is ostensibly aimed at paving way for a hurdle free and ultimate permission to the American and NATO military forces to extend their operations to the Pakistani territories more specifically to the tribal borders regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Let there be no doubt that the onus and focus of both Republican hawks and democrats is shifting to Afghanistan, FATA and Pakistan, primarily for a face saving subterfuge to cover up an historic and disgraceful roll back from Iraq. Secondly, Pakistan is being whisked away from the close bonds of friendship with China to be banded with the apron string of India. This carries twin purpose of crafting a bloc against China consisting of Afghanistan, India and Pakistan that was the cherished goal of Americans all these years.

Now is the right climate and more conductive circumstances for them to realize that coveted goal. The pro-India statements apart, giving a free hand to American and NATO forces to stalk Pakistan’s territories against terrorist’s bands might as well be aimed at achieving some other hidden goals. May be encirclement of China is the perceived goal. It is in this spirit that the American and NATO generals as well as Hamid Karazai the puppet President of Afghanistan are talking to win the Taliban via negotiations. Doesn’t it mean that Taliban pose no threat to American security any more and that they can be tamed to be used against China as they and other Islamic jihadists were used against the Red army in Afghanistan? Why this sudden and inexplicable change of hearts has come about? The reason is simple. There is a pliant government in Pakistan. The Indian government is a declared front line state against China. Taliban in the changing circumstances could also act as a bulwark against Iran.

That is why while America would remain relentless against Al-Qaeda, it would like to carry favour with Taliban to use them along with Pakistan and its territories for the encirclement of China. If the strife within Pakistan and in the tribal areas is being masterminded by Americans as is being projected at various forums then at a certain point Pakistan’s nuclear assets could also be possessed by America and NATO under the pretext that these were not safe and could be attacked and robbed by the anti-American groups.

1 comment:

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