By Senator A Rehman Malik
Former Federal Interior Minister
Originally Published By The Nation
We are a nation which has suffered many times at the hands of USA and despite knowing this well we still fall in its trap every time. History is witness to the fact that these traps are either just before or post martial laws.
A facility established in Badaber Air Base, 10 miles (16 km) from Peshawar, was an excellent location because of its proximity to Soviet Union and its Central Asian satellites. It was Pakistan who eventually suffered by this operation as Russia had started backing India, which ultimately resulted into isolation of Pakistan, as the 7th USA fleet never came to our rescue.
The suffering did not end here. Soon after the Soviets entered Afghanistan in 1979, USA made Pakistan a tool to fuel and train Afghan Mujahedeen. It was General Zia, under whose supervision these Mujahedeen were given military training and it consequently gave rise to a militant Islam, a flood of refugees and illicit arms and drugs on our soil for the sake of a couple of dollars. By year 1988, the drug exchange was earning more than $4 billion of foreign exchange, more than all Pakistan’s legal exports combined. We suffered serious economic setbacks followed by large-scale terrorism within our state, and the seed of this extremism in the form of Jihadis was planted by CIA.
While we were yet striving for our survival, the strike on World Trade Centre in September 2001 changed the world completely. This time again we chose our own suffering by allowing USA to use our soil. Despite not a single Pakistani being involved in the said attack, the history is a witness to how Pakistan paid the price for 9/11.
Soon after 9/11 and other US attacks, US waged war against Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, and Pakistan was expected to participate in the so called war against terror. Five days after September 11, 2001, the then dictator General Pervez Musharraf, pledged support for the U.S. efforts to capture Bin Laden and fight militant groups and all the Taliban members associated with Al Qaeda. Later on, USA started to secure Afghanistan for its own strategic use and created Talban and Daesh to be used as the best tool to create unrest in the region to provide the reasons for USA to prolong their stay in Afghanistan.
On 22nd June 2011, President Obama announced that USA would be withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. However, I had declared it to be a lie immediately after this announcement, as I knew that USA would never leave from Afghanistan. My assessment proved to be true as rather than withdrawing its forces, new US Administration has solidified itself in the region by bringing India on board against China and Pakistan.
The nation must understand that serious efforts and conspiracies will always be there to destabilise Pakistan, including exasperating the ethnic and sectarian divide the way they did in Iraq war by installing Abu baker Baghdadi as an Islamic militant. A similar attempt will be made to work out an excuse to propagate against Pakistan and its nuclear assets, portraying it to be an unsafe land and USA clearly intends to carry out this plan with India by its side supporting Afghanistan together against Pakistan.
On the other hand USA with every possible means and efforts is trying to destabilise China just like Pakistan. But why China? Because it sees China as a competition/threat in the race to be a global superpower. USA supports India against China to stop it from being a military and economic power. In case war breaks out between India and China, USA will support India by providing arms and ammunitions. It can influence other countries also to support India against China as Chinese economy is growing very fast and it would become world’s number one economy soon. Moreover, the One Belt and One Road would facilitate and boost export of Chinese goods to the world through this corridor and Pakistan will also get the immense benefits to improve its economy and move towards development and progress. I foresee some propaganda from some quarters within Pakistan duly engineered by anti Pak-China groups.
If you examine the presence of USA in the region you will find out that there is always some motive or agenda hidden behind it. The motives can be well understood by the statement of former President Karzai and I respect him as he spoke the truth. He had shared with me that some Taliban factions are fully supported by USA. I found him helpless when he stated that you get Mullah Brothers and he would request the Americans to help in closing the training camps of Brahamdagh Bugti.
It was alarming to see a President of a country being helpless to operate freely. I, however, owe appreciation to President Karzai, as at least he was the first Afghan leader who ever dared to expose the USA agenda in Afghanistan.
If we look deep into the pattern of operations by USA, we as nation must act very carefully and we should try to end internal polarization. Moreover, given the circumstances, Pak-China safety lies in signing a defence pact to defend each other against the USA – Indian aggression. As in the past India tried to break us apart and it will not miss a chance to do that again. So we must not forget the tragic separation of East Pakistan in 1971 and keep a clear eye on India and its recently formed alliance/bond with USA.
Furthermore, the new shift of strategic approach of USA for Asia and Middle East is now visible with the statements of President Donald Trump and Secretary State regarding CPEC, One Belt, One Road continued USA military presences in Afghanistan, “do more” stick for Pakistan and total military support to India in this region. This new USA geo-political strategy and cold wars between three major world powers are bound to create regional imbalance.
The focus on war on terror seems to be finishing and it looks the tug of war is now on geo-economic war to control the world with the economic empowerment by creating divisions within the regions in different grounds and the policy of divide and rule will continue as usual only with the change of faces.
The suffering of Pakistan is a big historical lesson for other nations to learn. The struggle of developing countries should be to be able to remove the shackles of reliance on international financial institutions like IMF and World Bank for finances, which will provide them more economic freedom for decision making in their foreign and national security policies.
Pakistan must consider ways and means to retire its long outstanding debts which is not only hindering its economic growth but making Pakistan succumb to the undue international pressures. We will progress only if Pakistan is free of external pressures of “do more”. So we must make our policies free of external pressures so that it leads us to right path of national development.