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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

Pakistan ‘warns’ the US and then ‘blinks’

By Allabaksh- Syndicate Features

The United States has been ‘warned’ by Pakistan, its ‘frontline’ ally in the so-called war on terror, against entertaining any idea about military strikes on suspected Al Qaeda bases in its border area with Afghanistan. The ‘warning’ speaks volumes of an unnatural relationship sustained by hypocrisy. It exposes the flawed US policy of turning a blind eye to open deception by a client state now termed its dearest ‘ally’.

The US has been pumping in millions of dollars in cash and kind in the hope, nay belief that Pakistan will clean out the hordes of terrorists it has been housing. The result of that munificence is that from top to bottom everyone in the US administration is now publicly admitting that Pak-based Al Qaeda and allied ultras have grown in strength and organisation.

Pakistan is accused of not doing ‘enough’. But that has apparently not caused any genuine disappointment to the White House and State Department, maybe because as many have pointed out, after 9/11 (September 11, 2001) there has been no serious terrorist attack on the American soil. With its security looking secure where is the need for the US to get really tough with Pakistan even though some of its acts are roguish?

Pakistan naturally denies the charge of half-hearted participation in the ‘war on terror’. It asks its critics in the US and elsewhere where is the ‘proof’ to substantiate that serious charge. Yet, Pakistan has been expressing concern over the rising tide of terrorism and its reach within the country. While some of his minions routinely accuse India of spreading terror inside the land of the pure with bombings and suicide attacks, it is the General himself, Pervez Musharraf no less, who talks of the dangers of terrorism of the kind espoused by Al Qaeda taking deep roots in his land. ‘Proof’? The number of attempts on his own life and the violence in the wake of the operation against Islamabad’s Lal Masjid.

The Americans have a style in what ever they do and the ‘chargesheet’ against Pakistan are no exception. The chargesheet was ‘unveiled’ in a media blitzkrieg in a manner of speaking. Over three-four days, the entire Republication administration marshalled its forces to dub Pakistan as a safe haven for Al Qaeda terrorists. First there was a report of the US National Intelligence Estimate. It was followed by a statement of the US intelligence chief, Mike McConnell, who told TV channel that Osama bin Laden is alive. “I believe he is in the tribal region of Pakistan’, he said and minced no words in blaming the Musharraf regime for allowing Al Qaeda to regroup in Pakistan. Soon enough President George W. Bush picked up the refrain.

A more damning testimony of Pakistan’s dubious role in the ‘war on terror’ is hard to imagine. But the Americans round up their condemnation of the Pakistani ruler for his benevolence towards the terrorists by replaying the ode to love for Musharraf. This is almost like a national anthem that has to be played both at the beginning and the end of a formal ceremony with the audience standing to attention in pin-drop silence.

The Americans have been pressing Musharraf for quite a while now to ‘do more’ on the terrorist front. Yet, they do not seem to bother if he has refused to pay heed to that ‘advice’. Washington gladly buys the absurd Musharraf theory that ‘no other country has done more’. Nobody wants to tell Musharraf that after the defeat of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan almost the entire Al Qaeda and similar outfits, including Taliban, had moved into Pakistan. Where else could they find ‘safe havens’?

Following the latest US ‘warning’ of sending its troops to hunt the terrorists on its soil, Islamabad is understandably furious with impotent rage. Its officials are telling the US that Pakistan can ‘handle its responsibilities’ and incursions on its soil by foreign troops would be ‘unacceptable’.

This Pakistani ‘competence’ was in evidence in its areas bordering Afghanistan in September last year itself when Musharraf’s troops waved the white flag before the militants and signed a ‘peace deal’ that had allowed them to regroup. That he went ahead with the deal in the face of opposition from NATO and the US is a different matter altogether. Well, as a part of ‘competence’ in fighting terror outfits, Pakistan had allowed the emergence of Lal Masjid in the heart of Islamabad. It was built on ‘encroached’ land and within no time became the mini fortress of the terrorists, most of them followers of Maulana Masood Azhar.

His name rings bells for every Indian as he had secured ‘freedom’ from an Indian jail in exchange for the release of hostages on a hijacked Indian plane in 1999. JeM was founded with ISI help to spread terror in Kashmir and other parts of India. Azhar first thundered venom against India without any hindrance across Pakistan, vowing disintegration of India and replacing the tricolour at the Red Fort in Delhi with the green crescent. Later, when his rhetoric reached Washington, his outfit was ‘banned’. This, in actual practice, meant that he could carry on his business under a different name.

Washington and Islamabad seem to have mutual respect for falsehood; the trouble is that they also expect acceptance in the rest of the world, especially India where the US is hoping to win the ‘hearts and minds’ with its nefarious policy of maintaining a ‘balance’ in its relations with the two estranged South Asia neighbours, one a democratic nation that covets no foreign territory and another a nation that openly threatens to use its nuclear weapons against its ‘enemy’.

The terrorist camps in territories under Pakistani control continue to thrive and the US shuts its eyes towards them. The deliberate suspension of belief by the US has brought an unexpected twist in the tale. Some of the terrorists who were given a one-way ticket to India by their ISI trainers and protectors have started trekking westwards to attack targets in Afghanistan, including American and NATO forces.

Post Lal Masjid events show that some of these well-trained and armed desperados are showing the signs of ultimate ungratefulness by turning on their hosts. That is where deception takes you; the tiger waiting to devour its trainer.

The US has raised hopes that India too can expect relief from ‘war on terror’. To reinforce that point it has asked Musharraf to rein in the ‘terrorist’ army’ his regime and its predecessors had trained and nurtured for attacks on Indian targets. The trained commando is full of survival instincts. He has already sent his army and air force into the ‘lawless tribal lands’ close to the Durand Line. Let us hold back our verdict for a while.

- Syndicate Features -

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