Who’s Country Is It Anyway, Ours Or U.S. Think Tanks’?
Beware: Pakistanis trained and groomed by U.S. think tanks are being inserted into Pakistan’s corridors of power, planted to teach us, the uncouth Pakistanis, what our national interest is and how to achieve it. While we have no problem with U.S. per se, we do have a big problem with diktat. Behind the scenes, the Pakistani capital has become a battleground, pitching a pro-U.S. lobby in the government against Pakistani nationalists. The pro-American lobby wants Pakistan to forget how India is blocking our water and is exporting terrorism inside Pakistan. They want us to allow India access to Afghanistan and transform Pakistan’s Army into an Indo-American proxy force. For this plan to succeed, a maximum number of these turncoat Pakistanis have been mobilized. Gen. Durrani’s ouster is one dent in the armor. We need more of these dents.
By Ahmed Quraishi
Wednesday, 14 January 2008.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The last thing we need is a bunch of Pakistani turncoats, fed and groomed in U.S. think tanks, coming to teach us how to live in our own region and what strategic interest is good for us and which one isn’t.
But that’s exactly what’s happening. The story of the axed national security adviser, Maj. Gen. M. A. Durrani, is a case in point.
The government’s spokespeople have been arguing that Mr. Durrani was “removed for speaking out of place and not for being pro-American,” according to a defensive opinion piece distributed to several newspapers early this week. The ghost writer of the piece blamed what he called the ‘Super Hawks’ in the Pakistani media for spreading this lie and linked these hawks to retired army and intelligence people. In short, a big conspiracy theory. Interestingly, there have been several of these ghost write-ups in recent months, churning out an interesting list of nicknames for this alleged group of Pakistani media hawks, from ‘Media Militants’ to the latest one, ‘Super Hawks’.
Who is behind this demonization? I don’t know. Sherry Rehman’s Ministry of Information & Broadcasting could be a suspect. But it seems there are other players in the government who have been tasked to launch a media campaign in favor of the Zardari government and against the media. One tip on the latest campaign is this: all of these planted op-ed pieces generally end up doing two things: defending U.S. policy and praising the work of the Pakistani diplomatic mission in Washington. So it’s quite clear the media bash is engineered by the pro-U.S. lobby within the Zardari government.
But it’s no longer a secret. Behind the scenes, the Pakistani capital has become a battleground, pitching U.S. defenders and apologists against those who believe Pakistan has the right to protect its own interest without letting America’s ‘Oil Warriors’ and their think-tank apologists decide for us what that is. The Zardari government and especially its intellectual core manifested by Ambassador Haqqani and now the axed Gen. Durrani have been leading this battle. This duo is the fountain head for all those sales pitches we’ve been recently hearing [“This is our war, not America’s”; “terrorism is a bigger threat, not India”; and – my personal favorite – “bring the ISI under civilian control”—as if the Prime Minister is not civilian enough].
Besides bypassing the Prime Minister, another important reason for why Gen. Durrani could have been fired is his inexplicable penchant in the last days in office to leak sensitive information to foreign media that ended up putting more pressure on the very government and country he was supposedly serving. His last such move on Jan. 7 proved fatal, but it was the last in a long list. He is suspected of having made another leak to Wall Street Journal on Dec. 31. That leak – an alleged admission of guilt by an activist in Pakistani custody – was later denied by an official spokesman. Point is: If you were Gen. Durrani, why would you try to force the hand of your own country in a sensitive matter through calculated leaks? Is there some internal power struggle going on that Mr. Durrani might want to shed light on? Why did Mr. Durrani not stop and think for a second that maybe Pakistan had the right to decide what information to release at a time of its choice, serving its own interest, and not maybe the American interest or the interest of its Indian ally, in a matter as important as the Mumbai-related investigations?
And why this eagerness anyway by this U.S. apologist camp in Islamabad to back the U.S. and Indian ‘evidence’ of Pakistani complicity in Mumbai [India is going as far as directly accusing the ISI and, indirectly, the military]? Why is Pakistan not asking India to pursue all leads in the Mumbai investigations in addition to the Pakistani one, especially when the gist of the Indian ‘findings’ rest on Medicam toothpaste, Touch Me shaving cream and a few ‘Made in Pakistan’ T-shirts that the smart terrorists left behind? If ISI is so good, why would it send operatives wearing T-shirts with Pakistani labels? And the technical part – the audio tapes, the phone calls and the email – is all stuff that can be manipulated. Pakistan should investigate Indian leads, but why act guilty from the start? And who says we trust India’s word on anything anyway?
The point here is that a group of influential U.S. apologists with access to Pakistan’s power corridors continue to play a dangerous game. Their unceasing lectures to Pakistanis on the need to ‘fight terrorism’ imply that Pakistan or Pakistanis condone terrorism. Second, these U.S. apologists ignore the larger game being played out in our region in the name of this war and want us all to do the same. The problem is, they have their comfortable think-tank jobs to go back to while we have to live in this country. If a former Tony Blair cabinet member, Michael Meacher, can come out to say, in Sept. 2003, that ‘the war on terror is being used largely as a bogus cover for achieving wider U.S. strategic geopolitical objectives’ and resign from office as a result, why these U.S. apologists in our midst refuse to even consider the possibility that the chaos in our region might hide some agenda?
The American moves in our region since 2001 barely hide the conclusion that the U.S. desires to see a reduction in Pakistan’s ability to pursue its regional interests, especially regarding Kashmir, Afghanistan and China. For this, neutering Pakistani military and intelligence is a must. This military has already been reduced to a counterinsurgency role and overwhelmed by terrorism coming to Pakistan from the U.S.-controlled territory of Afghanistan. No one in Islamabad wants to talk about how terrorism in Pakistan was introduced starting 2005. Sure we had some smalltime sectarian groups fighting among themselves before that year. But today we have well trained and well armed terrorists whose weaponry and financing is sometimes superior to what our security forces have. Terrorists who continue to receive endless supplies of sophisticated weapons and money despite being blockaded by our military in the border areas with Afghanistan. Our American friends and their new allies, i.e. Karzai regime and India, are also feeding terrorism inside Balochistan. What’s the purpose of our American friends from doing all this? The overriding aim is to stop Pakistan from retaining any influence beyond its borders. Balochistan is being destabilized so that China is unable to use Gwadar to dock its naval and commercial ships there.
Our U.S. apologists refuse to acknowledge any of this and insist on numbing the Pakistanis on a regular diet of propaganda on how Washington is itching to expand freedom and support the nascent Pakistani democracy.
Pakistan has legitimate strategic, economic and security interests in the region. Some overlap with those of Washington’s and some don’t. Is that difficult to understand? No. But does it make any difference to our U.S. apologists who think Pakistan should treat as gospel every piece of intellectual garbage on remaking our country produced by people sitting thousands of kilometers away pretending to know our country and people better than we do?
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