Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NATO Attack has heightened anti-Americanism in Pakistan

November 29, 2011

By Saeed Qureshi

The NATO attack on two Pakistani military check posts in Mehmand Tribal Agency on the Pak-Afghan border was presumably to lure Pakistan into retaliation for sparking a wider confrontation annihilating the bulk of the Pakistan army’s presence in the tribal regions adjoining Afghanistan.

It was rather prudent by the Pakistani military authorities to not respond by a counter military action and wait for the world to judge the enormity of the violation and the immensity of the unprovoked transgression that the NATO forces have committed against its own ally.

The brazenness and audacity of the ISAF and NATO has become so daring as to penalize Pakistan army that is an easy target for its visibility, its locations, military posts, that are well within the knowledge of NATO intelligence network. The murderous attack also signals to Pakistan that there was the parallel option available for the NATO in the form of directly dealing with the militants if Pakistan was not doing that on her own volition.

It is an unbelievable possibility that NATO was unaware that it was Pakistan army’s military post and that it remained ignorant even during its attack continuing for over two hours. Even the Pakistan military authorities must have come to know about the attack within matter of minutes but perhaps they remained silent for the reasons mentioned above? Or were they in connivance with the attackers is not clear! But the connivance possibility is not credible. It would be treason for the Pakistan army bosses to remain silent spectators on the massacre of its own soldiers.

The NATO might also be gauging the reaction as to how the Pak armed forces would respond if they could be bracketed with the armed militants by launching air strikes against both. It could be interpreted that now when the NATO and American troops are destined to leave Afghanistan, they might try to make some big mischief by targeting Pakistan troops and claiming some kind of victory through a volte-face and treachery against their own ally.

The most deleterious counterproductive outcome of this mind boggling attack has been that the entire population in Pakistan has come out in streets to protest against America. Thus whatever good will was left in Pakistan for the United States has been washed off. Not only that the civil society is up in arms shouting slogans against NATO and America but the marginalized sections too have joined to pour out there hate and fury against a gruesome military onslaught.

This uncalled for military adventure is being taken as gross aggression against the territorial integrity of an ally that has gone out of way to fight for America against latter’s perceived enemies which in this case are Taliban and al-Qaida bands. But if Taliban as an enemy and Pakistan army as an ally are treated alike and dealt with militarily and killed, then how it would be possible for Pakistan to keep taking this humiliation and senseless massacres of its soldiers?

The American and NATO forces have erased the bold line between their friends and foes and thus given a justification to Pakistan to withdraw her forces from the positions where they are susceptible to be swooped upon with deadly sorties.

This wanton and inexplicable yet most callous operation has given courage and the confidence to the radical Islamists to mobilize people whipping up revenge and retaliation against a country that is otherwise deemed as friend.

This mindless act has untied the disparate sections of society into one monolithic nation, irrespective of their religious, political, ethnic and regional difference and to stand by their national honor and face the aggressor. Thus a new spirit of unity, togetherness and patriotism is infused into the divergent ranks of Pakistani nation which is like a silver- lining on the dark clouds.

United States should remember that Pakistan can prove to be an asset for America when the occupation armies vacate Afghanistan. The United States should realize and spread this cardinal perception among the NATO and ISAF coalition members that it is only Pakistan that can serve the role of a distant custodian and safeguard the unattained interests of the United States.

Where the combined might of ISAF and NATO has failed to subdue the rag tag small force of Taliban fighters and hunt down the entire rank and file of al-Qaida, Pakistan alone can do that job, although it has no reason to do so.
But if America wants to be remembered with some good name, it would be only Pakistan that can create such an environment for her.

The reconstruction of war- ravaged Afghanistan cannot be carried out alone by India or Afghanistan or the central Asian neighboring states without Pakistan’s cooperation and help. India is not geographically linked with Afghanistan unless Pakistan gives her the rights to travel overland.

Pakistan has been involved in Afghanistan’s imbroglio for over two decades now. Pakistan hosts 3 to 4 million Afghan refugees for the same period of time. Pakistan is ethnically and religiously closer to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan enjoys goodwill and respect in Afghanistan.

Finally Pakistan has an army that is the strongest and knows the terrain so well even if there was ever any need to utilize it. With these precious and invaluable assets Pakistan deserves to be treated with esteem and its sacrifices and its superb performance of the last two decades must be generously acknowledged, appreciated and admired.

Those right wing Republicans and hawkish Democrats that talk of tough attitude towards Pakistan, cast doubts about her atomic assets and doubt her sincerity, are doing great harm to the United States by their inane and subjective statements.

They talk ill of Pakistan and teach her frightening lessons as if it was a protectorate of the United States and was under an irresistible and undeniable obligation to dance to the tune of NATO and America like a puppet. They forget Pakistan has sacrificed more than 5000 of her soldiers and 40000 wounded for a war that could not be termed as her own but a proxy war for America.

The War of America in Afghanistan was the grave blunder committed by former American president George W. Bush and not of Pakistan. Pakistan did not drag America into this futile and aimless war that achieved nothing except a disaster for American economy and ultimate return from Afghanistan without achieving any tangible or desired objectives.

Pakistan should be thanked that it was behind America for providing intelligence and other services besides plunging its armed forces into an unpredictable and most inhospitable inferno of Afghanistan for no pressing reasons except to support America. And now such a loyal and time tested ally is being bludgoned with missiles and deadly airstrikes. Does Pakistan deserve this mal-treatment?

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