Pakistan United States Relations: Tying Loose Ends
At this juncture when two of the deadly foes, United States and Taliban fighting a war for more than a decade, are getting ready to shake hands, the time has come for Pakistan to revisit its relationship with both. Hamid Karzari, President of Afghanistan is soliciting help of India to manage his country once withdrawal of US-led Nato forces is complete.
To arrive at any meaningful decision first the history of Pak-US relationship needs to be explored. It is difficult to recollect all the events taking place since 1947 but a few deserving full attention are: 1) Pakistan spying USSR for United States during cold war era, 2) Pakistan broking in establishing US-China relationship, 3) Pakistan fighting US proxy war after USSR attacked Afghanistan with the help of Taliban, 4) Pakistan fighting against Taliban when US attacked Afghanistan and now 5) Pakistan fighting with different militants groups within its territory that are funded by some external powers that adamant at plunging the country deep into anarchy.
Almost at the end of each phase Pakistan had to pay huge cost. When USSR threatened to attack Pakistan, the then prime minister asked United States to give protection but he was assassinated. Many Pakistani still wonder; was he killed by USSR or United States?
Once Pakistan took the then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger secretly to China United States achieved a major breakthrough but India imposed war on Pakistan in 1965. Interesting Pakistan and India signed an agreement in Tashkent but Indian Prime Minister died in a mysterious manner. In Pakistan riots started against the then President Ayub Khan and he had to step down in 1968.
In 1970 general election Awami League of Sheikh Mujeeb attained majority but he was soon arrested and trialed. Mean time riots started in East Pakistan, India helped rebel group called Mukti Bahini. India also attached West Pakistan. The war ended on a bitter point, more than ninety thousand troop surrendering and East Pakistan becoming Bangladesh.
In West Pakistan Zulikar Ali Bhutto became Prime Minister. He with the help of some Muslim countries strived hard to restore confidence of public. He very tactfully arranged for the reorganization of Bangladesh at the historic meeting of OIC in Islamabad. However, after much talked about rigged election, religious parties pushed him to a point where another martial law was imposed in the country and Ziaul Haq took over as Chief Martial Law Administrator and then President of Pakistan. To prolong his tenure he announced to impose Shariah system in the country.
Soon after his takeover of control of Pakistan in turmoil, USSR attacked Afghanistan in an attempt to get access to warm waters. United States took it as a major threat to its hegemony in the region and very aptly labeled this proxy war Jihad. While military support was given by Pakistan and GHQ became the control room, to get ground support Ziaul Haq sought help of two religious leaders, Mulana Fazau-ur-Rehman and Mulana Smai-ul-Haq arranged for thousands of Mujaheddin, who were later on known as Taliban.
USSR lost the war because of internal issues and its forces has to withdraw. United States instead of rebuilding war torn Afghanistan also took quick exist. This plunged the country into civil war as ample arms were available but there was severe shortage of food and basic facilities. At that time Taliban led government was installed in Afghanistan but the country remained plunged in anarchy. Taliban government enjoyed direct support of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and indirect support of United States.
Then came 9/11 that changed the global political arena, OBL was alleged for masterminding these attacks and United States attacked Afghanistan and status of Taliban changed from friend to foe. Pakistan was once again told to join the crusade or face the same faith. Realizing that India was keen in exploiting the opportunity to join United States and also settle its own score on Kargil, the then president Pervez Musharraf joined ‘US War on Terror’.
To give Musharraf’s regime legitimacy entry of Benazir Bhutto was facilitated into Pakistan. However something went grossly wrong and she was assassinated. Philippine story was followed and Benazir’s husband Asif Ali Zardari finally rose to the position of President of Pakistan. During the currency PPP-led government some highly undesirable event happened that included attack on military post in which many soldiers were killed, OBL hideout was found near federal capital and he was finally assassinated but his body was not shown, people still don’t believe this story and openly term it a hoax call.
In the recently held general election the results paved way for installation of PML-N government at federal and Punjab level, PPP government in Sindh, PTI government in KP and nationalists’ government in Baluchistan. Ironically, these parties have not reconciled that they rule the respective provinces and have to cooperate with the federation on national priorities.
During the elections Taliban emerged friends of PML-N, JI, PTI, JUI-F but worst enemies of ANP, MQM and PPP. However, off and on Taliban attacked election meeting of their supported parties. They have become fully active now, after the announcement that United States is getting involved in negotiations with Taliban.
Many Pakistanis fail to understand that while drones attacks on Taliban staying in Pakistan’s tribal areas are still going on why United States is holding direct negotiations with Taliban? One has the reasons to suspect that the hidden agenda is different from declared agenda. It is also felt that Pakistan is once again being marginalized and India is being given the status of regional super power.
One of the conspiracy theories is that now United States is working on creation of an independent and greater Baluchistan, comprising of one slice each from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. This proposed country will be rich in natural resources and all the super powers will have their share in the booty. This will also help in waging war on Iran and Pakistan.
It is feared the proxy war has already started and killing of people and bomb blasts are aimed at starting civil war. This is not diabolic thinking but based on the prevailing ground realities: 1) presence of ruthless killers, 2) tons of arms and money to support the perpetrators and 3) above all support extended at the global level for establishing an independent Baluchistan.
Supporters of Independent Baluchistan have been active for years. Their endeavors will yield result only when Pakistani society is fragmented. The nation is already divided into sectarian and linguistic groups that are adamant at killing their enemies and undermining writ of the government.