ALTAF AHMAD QURESHI
Asif Ali Zardari, in his round up speech at the joint meeting of the Central Executive Committee and the Federal Council, made many observations. The most important one was regarding the balkanization of Pakistan. What he said was, “I know many things. I am conscious of the conspiracies being hatched and the cause of killing Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. I understand the designs of the vested interests about Pakistan. I am fully apprehensive of the planned balkanization and fragmentation of Pakistan. We are passing through a serious phase of our national history. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto gave her life defending her motherland and we all should prepare ourselves to fight against all odds and the forces inimical to the solidarity of Pakistan.”
Though Asif Ali Zardari did not come out with details, the danger of fragmentation of Pakistan does not seem to be a far-fetched phenomenon. The fact remains that the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto has created conditions, as planned, which contribute to the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation. The process of U.S sponsored regime change, which normally had to consist in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been withered away. However, the uncomfortable results of the 2008 elections have driven the nation to an unstable political situation which may suit the planned fragmentation. “The assassination of Benazir Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “Chatter” among US officials about the possible assassination of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the attempts took place.” (Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007).
“Regime change” with a view to ensuring continuity under military rule is no longer the main thrust of US foreign policy. The regime of Pervez Musharraf can not prevail. Washington’s foreign policy cause is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation,” writes Prof. Michel Chossudosky in the Global Research of December 30, 2007. The voters have in fact, frustrated the US designs. The two major political parties ie the PPP and PML (N) have been able to win the majority of seats in the national and the provincial assemblies in Punjab. In Sindh, the PPP has done better than other provinces. However, the MQM made its come back in-spite of its all out support for Pervez Musharraf. In NWFP the seats were divided between the ANP, PPP, PML (N) and the JUI with a little margin. The Baluchistan province has a unique position. The PPP being the minority party, has enabled itself to form a coalition government. All the political parties, which participated in the 2008 elections, are in the government except one person of the PML (Q).
In view of this peculiar situation, the US policy makers engineered a new exercise to achieve its goal. Hence, the US ambassador in Pakistan flew to London and had a long meeting with Altaf Hussain, which followed the Karachi carnage wherein the building housing many law chambers was set on fire resulting into at least one dozen human killings. Majority of them were lawyers along-with some of the clients including a woman. They were just turned into ashes. The MQM also decided not to join the government either in Sindh or at the center. The people of Sindh, particularly the Karachites, who had felt a sigh of relief after the political settlement between the PPP and the MQM are again gripped by the fear of fascist role of the party.
This new political impasse is deliberate. It is part of an evolving US foreign policy agenda, which favors disruption and disarray in the structures of the Pakistan State. The US seems to be bent upon having indirect rule by the Pakistan military, and intelligence apparatus has been replaced by U.S military presence inside Pakistan. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s statement that the President is part and parcel of the parliament and that Pakistan would fight against terrorism with the U.S help has raised many eyebrows.
William Arkin has written article published in Washington Post of December 2007, in which he has said that “the US Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counter terrorism units.” Which are these indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counter terrorism units, and who arc behind these? The previous government remained silent and the newly formed government might not have an opportunity to pinpoint these threats. It is also said that the official justification and pretext for an increased military presence in Pakistan is to extend the “war on terrorism”, and to justify its counter terrorism programme, Washington is also strengthening its covert support to the terrorists”.
A report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA has forecasted a Yugoslav-like fate for Pakistan in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen in 2004-2005 in Balochistan. Wajid Shamsul Hassan, while expressing apprehension had asked, “are our military rulers working on a similar agenda or something that has been laid out for them in the various assessment reports over the years by the National Intelligence Council in joint collaboration with CIA”. His article was published in Times of India of 13 Feb. 2005. Wajid’s question is even relevant today as Pervez Musharraf, representing the military and occupying the house reserved for the Chief of the Army, still enjoys full backing of the military and the US might along with the constitutional powers to dismiss the government or dissolve the assemblies under the article 58(2)b. So, he is there to play his role bestowed upon him by the imperialist powers.
The fact remains that course designed by the US is to foment social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation including the territorial break up of Pakistan. This is what Shaheed Benazir Bhutto told me in one-on-one meeting with me at Dubai in 2002. This course of action is also dictated by U.S warplanes in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran. Hence, the meeting between the US ambassador in Pakistan and Altaf Hussain of MQM in London. The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the boarders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Anglo-American alliance eyes on the oil and gas reserves of Baluchistan.
Pakistan has an estimated 25.1 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves of which 19 trillion are located in Baluchistan. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, Pakistan had proven oil reserves of 300 million barrels, most of which are located in Baluchistan. So, this strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. It is reported that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the U.S. The Baloch national resistance movement was started in late 1940’s. In the current geo-political context the separatist movement is in the process of being hijacked by foreign powers. It appears as if the Britain and U.S are supporting both sides i.e. the Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) and the government just like they did in Kosovo with a view to destabilizing sovereign government. The BLA bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo’s KLA which was financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA. The BLA emerged shortly after the 1999 military coup. it has no tangible links to the Baloch resistance movement whose leaders had and have been putting up political struggle. Asif Zardari’s apprehension seems to be based on the article by a military scholar Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters published in June 2006 issue of the Armed Forces Journal. He suggested in no uncertain terms that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of separate country: “Greater Baluchistan” or “Free Baluchistan.” The latter would incorporate the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch provinces into a single political entity.
This plan of fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation and the ongoing process of destabilization of the country has forced Asif Ali Zardari to go for a national consensus and to form coalition governments at federal as well as at provincial levels. And MQM’s slipping out of this national consensus speaks much about its role given to it by the forces interested in destabilizing Pakistan.
Source: The Nation, 24/4/2008