PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER
According to a US official in Washington the Central Intelligence Agency CIA has no plans to suspend operations in Pakistan against terror suspects despite objections from leaders in Islamabad. Reported by AFP Leon Panetta of the CIA told Pakistani intelligence officials last week that he has a duty to prevent attacks on the United States. He said it is the fundamental responsibility of CIA to protect the American people and it will not halt operations that support that objective. The drone attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan are also a part of this strategy. In the light of the statement made by Leon Panetta it is something very much clear that there would be no change in the US drone strategy in near or far future. After the release of Raymond Davis it was a very common misunderstanding in Pakistan that the USA would be thankful and obliged by this kind favour of letting Raymond go back safe and sound after killing two innocent Pakistanis in Lahore. It was also foolishly expected that US cruel and brutal and selfish policies in Pakistan would turn into a sympathetic and cordial type of relationship but things went altogether opposite to the expectations. The people of Pakistan noticed a vivid increase not only in the number of drone attacks but also in other anti-Pakistan activities of the CIA. On 12th of this April, Leon Panetta and the ISI chief General Pasha at CIA held a meeting at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The basic purpose behind this meeting was to put a check on CIA operatives in Pakistan and on the drone attacks but unfortunately the US authorities responded to that meeting in form of two more drone attacks that took lives of six so-called militants in the tribal area of Pakistan. The attacks took place when the ISI Chief was still on his way back to Pakistan.
It is nothing but a grave misunderstanding on the part of the American policy makers that the drones can scare and frighten the Pakistani nation; the fact of the matter is that the drones are strengthening and uniting the nation. ‘Pakistan and USA are time-tested friends’, from Condoleezza Rice to Hilary Clinton all US hi-ups have always been harping on the same string but the realities on ground are altogether different. The Americans say what they never do. It is the result of this evergreen duplicity that the people of Pakistan have lost all their trust and confidence in the statements and promises made by the US authorities. If they have two options, either to accept the supremacy and hegemony of the Islamic extremists or to believe the American crocodile story of love and affection, they would surely opt for the first one, taking it as the lesser evil. Most of the Pakistanis think that USA is responsible for all economic destabilization, energy crisis and the worst situation of law and order in Pakistan. They rank the USA as the most distrusted and the most doubtful force that is continuously undermining the very foundations of the country. The only aim and object of the USA is to insult, degrade and demoralize the Pakistani nation. The US obstinacy and stubbornness reflected through the statement of Leon Panetta indicates that it is the most appropriate time Pakistan must revise and review its working relationship with the USA.
In the name of the so-called American war on terrorism Pakistan has borne unbearable losses in form of precious lives, property, economy, law and order situation and above all in shape of irreparable psychological traumas. Suicide bombing, kidnapping by foreign-supported terrorists and American drone attacks are the related factors that are adding to the miseries by inflicting deadly losses both against human life and property. But the US policy makers have never recognized any of these sacrifices. The Western media, the Western think tanks and other stakeholders are always harping on the same string ‘ Do More Do more’. They are always engaged in doing all possible efforts to smear and stain the image of Pakistan as a peaceful and peace-loving country. Their guns are always pointed towards the armed forces and intelligence agencies of Pakistan. Keeping in view the inevitable role of Pakistan, the situation must have been otherwise. If Pakistan and US were really coalition partners in the war on terrorism they must have remained focused on the path of pursuing long-term durable strategic ties for the realization of their collective aims and objectives.
It makes no difference to the people of Pakistan whether the western world calls them extremists, militants, fundamentalists, Jihadis, Taliban or the terrorists. They are the warriors of Islam and they would keep on fighting to their last breath against all those forces that are harmful to Islam. Still there is sufficient time for the USA to reconsider its policies in Pakistan. The drones would one day turn the whole nation into Taliban. It must be kept in mind that all roads leading to the peace and prosperity of this region pass through Pakistan. If USA truly desires for a long lasting peace in the region, it will have to review its policies regarding Pakistan before it is too late. The people of Pakistan are well aware of the fact that they can give the Americans really a never forgettable tough time if they all join hands together against US atrocities keeping aside all their petty differences. The Americans cannot even breathe for a single moment in Afghanistan and Pakistan if the people of Pakistan draw back all their co-operation graciously bestowed upon them. The only thing the nation needs is a strong determination. Pakistani nation has the best possible skills and abilities required for turning this region into a blazing hell for Uncle Tom’s wicked children who are erroneously taking this region as a testing field for their lethal weapons.
The writer is a Pakistan based analyst on strategic and defence affairs.